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The picture had been in the same family for nearly 200 years, was in good condition and little restored. At the same sale a pair of coastscapes by Lacroix de Marseille doubled hopes on Fr1.18m (£112,000).

These successes all enabled the sale to total Fr25.7m (£2.45m).
Another major Old Master canvas to
surface in Paris in December was Les Joueurs de Morra by Karel Dujardin (c.1623-78), 2ft 5in x 2ft 51/2in (73.7 x 75cm), pre-empted by the Louvre for a top-estimate Fr3m (£286,000) at Chambelland-Giafferi-Doutrebente on December 12. It shows two servants watching a soldier and a youth playing the game of morra (popular in 17th century Rome), beneath a porphyry sarcophagus on a high plinth, similar to the tomb of Pope Clement XII. The work was sold in Amsterdam in 1762; subsequently owned by the Duc de Choiseul, Louis XV’s one time war minister and ambassador to Rome; held in a private collection, believed to be Russian, during the 19th century; then present in the Kaufman Collection in Berlin, where it was sold in 1917. It featured in the catalogue of the Masters of the 17th Century Dutch Genre Painting exhibition held in Philadelphia, Berlin and London in 1984.

Other Old Masters to clear Fr1m included an 18th century Still Life with Flowers by Jan van Huysum at Fr1.05m (£100,000), double hopes, at Piasa on December 5, when a pair of 1747 architectural caprices by Panini, one with the statue of Marcus Aurelius, the other with the Temple of Vesta, quadrupled hopes with Fr2.1m (£200,000).

Philippe de Champaigne’s La Sainte Face, fetched a treble-estimate Fr1.325m (£126,000) at Millon & Associés on December 3, where Jan Molenaer’s 1633 Portrait de Femme Assise fell short of hopes on Fr1.2m (£114,000); and a 1756 Nattier portrait of the Duc de Mortemart claimed a treble-estimate Fr1.17m (£111,400) under the Baron-Ribeyre hammer on December 12. A portrait of the concubine Chun-Hui attributed to Brother Jean-Denis Attiret (c.1800), at 211/2 by 161/2in (54.5x 41.8cm) slightly larger than the version sold for Fr460,000 at Drouot in September, quadrupled hopes with Fr700,000 (£66,700) at De Ricqlès on December 21.