A PAINTING by one of Scotland's greatest artists has been discovered due to a chance encounter between an antique expert and a Glasgow taxi driver.

Now the art work, Tulips and Fruit by the Scottish Colourist George Leslie Hunter is to be sold at auction in June in England, with an estimated price of between £70,000 and £100,000.

Charles Hanson, owner of Derbyshire’s Hansons Auctioneers, known for his appearances on TV shows such as Bargain Hunt and Antiques Road Trip, said he had been filming with the BBC in Scotland when he struck up a conversation with the driver of his taxi, Donald Young.

Young told Mr Hanson how the GL Hunter painting had entered his family's ownership.

Mr Hanson said: "It turns out the painting had made its way to Canada before returning to its native Scotland thanks to his grandmother, Caroline Young, who acquired this wonderful art treasure to mark her love of Scotland back in the 1960s.

“This is a hugely important piece of artwork."

Mr Young's mother, Liz Young, who lives near Elgin, Morayshire, has finally decided to sell the painting because it is kept in a safe in London.

The painting originally belonged to her mother-in-law, Caroline Young.

Mrs Young said: “Caroline grew up in the west end of Glasgow in an elegant arts and crafts style house.

"She was surrounded by beautiful paintings including many works by members of the famous ‘Glasgow Boy’ group.

“Caroline’s father, Thomas Agnew, was a Bailie of the city of Glasgow and wealthy owner of a chocolate factory and many sweet shops. "Meanwhile, her mother, Lizzie, the daughter of a sculptor, was an artist. It was in this home that Caroline developed her love of art."

Caroline married Harry Young, a BBC journalist, and they moved to Canada, where she started collecting art.

She added: "Caroline loved Scotland and made many visits back to friends and family.

"It was during a trip back for a family wedding in January 1965 that she visited the well-known Annan’s gallery in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, where her father had bought many of his paintings, and she purchased Tulips and Fruit by Leslie Hunter there."

Tulips and Fruit by George Leslie Hunter will be sold by Hansons Auctioneers, Heage Lane, Etwall, Derbyshire, in their Summer Fine Art sale on June 30.