THREE oil paintings by a Dorset artist are being offered for the first time ever at auction.

The works by George Spencer Watson are expected to reach up to £192,000 when they go on sale at Christie’s London on December 16.

The most valuable painting is ‘Four Loves I found, a Woman, a Child, a Horse and a Hound’, which is signed by the artist and dated 1922. It is 56 by 77 inches (142.2 by 195.6cm) in size and has an estimate of £100,000 to £150,000.

It is said to be Mr Watson’s greatest work because it is the picture that secured his longed-for election as an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1923.

It depicts the artist and his family walking across Studland Heath with the famous Old Harry Rocks in the background.

The image celebrates the happy family life Mr Watson enjoyed on the Isle of Purbeck, first at The Corner Cottage, Studland, and then at Dunshay Manor, Langton Maltravers – the house he acquired in 1923 once his professional success had been assured.

‘The Saddler’s Daughter’, which is 36 by 28 inches in size (91.4 by 71.1 cm), is a portrait of his daughter Mary, aged 10, and has an estimate of £20,000 to £30,000. Mary would later become a sculptor of great distinction, initially trained by John Skeaping, Barbara Hepworth’s first husband, who delighted in direct carving into the local Purbeck stone.

‘A picnic at Portofino’ from 1911 is 23¾ by 32 inches (60.4 by 81.2 cm) and has an estimate of £8,000 to £12,000.

All three paintings were passed down from Mr Watson to Mary and have previously been exhibited at Dorset County Museum in Dorchester.

The three oil on canvas works are now being offered for the first time at auction directly from the artist’s family and will be featured in the sale of ‘Victorian & British Impressionist Art Including Drawings and Watercolours’ at Christie’s.

Hannah Schmidt, spokeswoman for Christie’s, said: “This is a really wonderful opportunity as his work rarely appears on the market and his talent deserves to be better known.

“The examples that have appeared at auction, such as a sale of works from Dunshay in 1995, have been eagerly received by a devoted band of collectors.

All are being sold by order of the executors of the late Mary Spencer Watson.