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Banknote beauty could be yours for £600k

A painting of the society beauty whose image appeared on Irish banknotes for more than 50 years could fetch up to £600,000 at auction.

The Gold Turban by Belfast-born artist Sir John Lavery features his wife and most frequent subject, Hazel. It will go under the hammer at Sotheby's Irish Sale in London on May 6.

Works by Jack B Yeats, Roderic O'Conor and John Behan are also up for auction, but it’s Lavery's painting of his second wife that is likely to stir the imagination. Lady Lavery was born in Chicago, and has in the past been romantically linked with IRA leader Michael Collins.

Her image appeared on Irish banknotes from 1928 until the 1970s and then on the watermark of Irish banknotes until the introduction of the euro.

The record paid for a Lavery is £1.7m at Christie’s in 1998.

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