Turner’s masterpiece Modern Rome – Campo Vaccino was sold for £29,721,150 by a descendent of the 5th Earl of Roseberry, who bought it in 1878 while on honeymoon with new wife Hannah Rothschild.
The painting has been on loan to the National Galleries of Scotland for the past 30 years.
Six bidders pushed the price far above sale estimates.
David Moore-Gwyn, deputy chairman of Sotheby’s, said: ‘This breathtaking image shows the artist at his absolute best, and, for collectors, it ticked all the boxes: quality, superb condition, provenance and freshness to the market.’
The previous record sale for a Turner painting was £20.5 million for a view of Venice in April 2006.
This latest sale follows a highly successful period for modern masters. Last month, Picasso‘s 1903 Portrait of Angel Fernandez de Soto was sold by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Art Foundation for £34.7 million at Christie’s.
For more news stories like this every week subscribe and save
Follow Country Life on Twitter