A WATERCOLOUR painting of five First World War soldiers preparing for a gas attack has sold for more than £26,000 at auction in Dorchester.

The painting, auctioned by Duke’s today, is called ‘Gas Alert’ and was created by war artist William Roberts.

In 1916, Roberts served on the Western front as a gunner for the Royal Artillery and it is was his horrific experiences on the frontline that provided the impetus for his subsequent work.

He was later commissioned by the British Ministry of Information as official First World War artist in Canada.

Among other items in today’s auction was a sketchbook of fashion designs by the inventor of the mini skirt.

The book by Mary Quant, which was once thrown at her tutor in a rage for dismissing her ideas, was sold for £850.

And a 17th Century book discussing the differences between men and women was sold for £110.

The Art How to Know Men, a leather-bound book, was sold after gathering dust on a shelf before the vendor decided to see if it was worth something.