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Madrid’s Sala Retiro (16% buyer’s premium) saleroom offered an interesting and good quality example of his work on June 11 with an unpublished estimate of Pta90 million (£346,155). The 2ft 5in x 3ft 7in (79cm x 1.09m) oil on canvas depicted a basket of fruit with two glass vases, pears and suspended branches of plums. It was not signed, but this is sometimes the case with Van der Hamen, particularly if it originally formed one of a pair.

Expert opinion has generally dated the work to the beginning of the artist’s career, around 1622. In generally good condition, the trade opinion was that it would benefit enormously from careful restoration and cleaning. The canvas came to light in a Spanish private collection in the 1930s and was passed down to the current owners in Madrid who
consigned it for sale. It sold on estimate to a private collector.

In the same sale a rather flashy portrait of 1901 by Joaquín Sorolla of the young daughter of his friend the Duke of Tovar, in fancy dress in the costume of the Infanta Margarita from Velázquez’s Las Meninas, pictured below, sold for Pta50 million (£192,310).
Exchange rate: £1 = Pta260