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The drawing, shown here, which was sensationally discovered by Sotheby’s Julian Stock in an album of otherwise undistinguished drawings at Castle Howard, was the second major Michelangelo drawing to have appeared on the market in the space of a year.

Last July at Christie’s the German dealer Katrin Bellinger – widely believed to be bidding for the New York collector Leon Black – bid a record £7.4m for the pen and ink Study for the Risen Christ from the Brinsley Ford Collection.

Opinions are much divided as to the comparative merits of these Michelangelo drawings, but with Black thought to have spent £7.4m in July and Timothy Clifford being without financial backing from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Luca Baroni of Colnaghi was able to buy the drawing in the room against a lone telephone underbidder at £5.4m.

This is considerably less than the tax-concessionary private treaty price of ‘just under £6m’ that was being asked of the National Galleries of Scotland and far below Sotheby’s original estimate of £8m.

Part of the Michelangelo’s thunder had clearly been stolen by Leonardo da Vinci’s (1452-1519) small, but absolutely superb silverpoint Horse and Rider at Christie’s (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) the previous day. Helped by a less ambitious estimate of £3.5m and the more universal appeal of its subject, this 43/4in by 3in (12 x 8cm) study associated with Leonardo’s famous Adoration of the Magi in the Ufizz,i sold to an anonymous telephone buyer at £7.4m – equalling the record auction price for a drawing set by the Brinsley Frod Michelangelo.