A bargain hunter bought a blurry painting at a French flea market for £34 – which turned out to be worth more than £10,000.

Kate Pottage, 49, and her husband Mark, 48, from East Yorkshire, snapped up the artwork at La Grande Rederie d’Amiens market.

The couple had travelled six hours from their home in Cherry Burton, East Yorkshire, to hunt for bargains at Europe's largest flea market.

After arriving at midnight the day before the market on April 21, Kate spotted a particular painting lying on a pavement by a stall.

The seller asked for EU50 (£42) but Kate managed to haggle them down to EU40 (£34).

When she and Mark returned home they discovered the artwork was in fact an original by 20th century British abstract artist Patrick Heron.

Close-up of the painting by Patrick Heron. Picture: SWNSClose-up of the painting by Patrick Heron. Picture: SWNS

It is being sold for £10,000 but could fetch far more when it goes under the hammer at Duggleby Stephenson of York on Friday (12/7).

Kate said: “We weren’t actually looking for a painting.

“But there was something about this picture. Even by the light of my torch the thing was really striking.

“I saw that it was signed P. Heron but quite honestly the name meant nothing at that moment.”

Patrick Heron, who died in 1999 aged 79, was one of the most important British painters of the last century.

The artist’s works routinely sell at auction for tens of thousands of pounds – and have on occasion topped £1 million.

Coralie Thomson, Duggleby Stephenson art specialist, with the painting by Patrick Heron. Picture: SWNSCoralie Thomson, Duggleby Stephenson art specialist, with the painting by Patrick Heron. Picture: SWNS

Art specialist Coralie Thomson said: “It is a wonderful, not to say absolutely astonishing, find.

“Leeds-born Heron was an incredibly influential figure, a painter, writer and critic who played a leading role in raising British interest in post-war abstract art.

“His early influences were Braque and Matisse but after seeing an exhibition of American abstract impressionists in London in 1956 Heron abandoned figurative painting and underwent a conversion to pure abstraction.

“The result was a spectacularly successful career that saw his work exhibited around the world.

“Kate’s flea market find is dated 1959, so relatively soon after Heron’s conversion to abstraction."