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The collection had been consigned about 18 months ago when the market was stronger and consequently some of the higher-profile entries with punchy estimates failed to sell. Buyers were predominantly private, although trade secured the top three entries.

Christie’s specialist William Strafford said: “There was no core of really great things, but it [the sale] was still encouraging; there is a broad-based life to the market.”

The sale comprised mainly 18th century Northern Italian and French furniture, Old Master pictures and Chinese porcelain consigned by Maria Cristina Piaggio Croce, who had decided to consolidate her various family homes and make Monte Carlo her main base. The bulk of the sale came from her family’s Genoan residence, the Villa Bombrini.

The biggest money was reserved for a pair of George II giltwood mirrors, 6ft 9in (2.05m) by 2ft 11in (90cm), consigned from one of the other residences. This flamboyant pair of rococo-inspired mirrors had pierced scrolling foliate frames and may have had their plates replaced and were re-gilt. A UK dealer went to £45,000 to secure this commercial entry.

Furniture provided the core and, although there were few surprises, the 19th century Russian ormolu and cut-glass 12-light chandelier, measuring 4ft by 2ft 8in (1.22m x 82cm) and pictured here, was one lot that substantially exceeded expectations.

The dearth of period French chandeliers has made classical Russian examples a popular alternative, and this one, consigned at £10,000-15,000, was secured by a dealer at £42,000.

A pair of North Italian yellow and green-painted commodes, mid 18th century, probably originally without decoration, typified the collection and brought £30,000, but one of the sale highlights, an 18th century ormolu-mounted pale green and polychrome-decorated bureau plat, estimated at £60,000-100,000, failed to generate sufficient interest and was bought in at £34,000.