Suffolk painter's first 'selfie' sells for thousands

The Suffolk-painter's first attempt at painting himself

The earliest known self-portrait by 18th-century British painter Thomas Gainsborough has sold at auction for £116,460 - around double its pre-sale estimate.

The painter was born in Sudbury in 1727 and went on to become one of Britain's most influential artists.

The picture is believed to be one of Gainsborough's earliest attempts at painting in oil and likely to have been made soon after he moved from Sudbury to London in 1740, aged 13.

A London-based buyer, who bid by telephone, bought the painting at the Cheffins Fine Sale in Cambridge on Wednesday for £116,460. Its pre-sale estimate had been between £40,000 and £60,000.

Nicolas Martineau, Auctioneer at Cheffins, said: "This painting saw a great deal of interest ahead of the auction, with inquiries from private collectors and institutions worldwide.

Gainsborough was a weaver's son who became a founding member of the Royal Academy

Among his portraits were King George III and Queen Charlotte.

George III by Gainsborough Credit: Royal Collection Trust

The self-portrait had been held by a London-based private collection since 2008 and has previously been exhibited at Tate Britain, The National Gallery of Art in Washington DC and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.