LONDON (AP) -- A long-lost Victorian painting by William Powell Frith has sold for 505,250 pounds ($782,680) at a London auction.

"The Derby Day" is an early version of one of the era's most famous pictures — Frith's teeming, picaresque image of the crowds at an 1850s horse race, from a rich family in their carriage to gamblers, acrobats and prostitutes.

The painting had been hanging in a modest New England beach house for decades before a friend of the owner suggested it might be worth something.

Christie's auction house said the final sale price set a world record price for Frith at auction. The painting — which had been expected to fetch between 300,000 and 500,000 pounds — was sold to an anonymous bidder Thursday over the phone.