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“These are what the market wants,” said specialist-in-charge Emma Simpson. “Nobody wants tired pictures and nobody wants ridiculously punchy estimates, so we were really careful as regards pricing each individual lots. Today’s market is quite uncertain and over quoting just kills good pictures.”

The best money on the day was taken by the cover-lot Le Sidaner’s signed oil La table d-apres-midi, Gerberoy, right. The 3ft 2in by 2ft 7in canvas dating from 1933 had been entered by a British collector who had bought it at London’s Kaplan Gallery in the 1960s.

The commercial subject matter of a table in a garden laid with a wine and apples had wide appeal, attracting both the trade and private collectors. Condition-wise, there had been some retouching but “nothing too extensive”. It sold to a European corporate collection at a mid-estimate £170,000.

In Antiques Trade Gazette No.1572 of January 18 we featured a Renoir watercolour over pencil drawing discovered by Bonhams specialist Magnus Renfrew in the vaults of London diamond merchants Hennig & Co. Nana, Pauline et les autres’ dated from c.1877 and is thought to be the sole result of Renoir’s collaboration with Emile Zola.

Measuring 111/2 by 17in (29 x 43cm), the drawing, the whereabouts of which had been unknown for 20 years, depicted Nana, a character from Zola’s 20-volume work Les Rougon-Macquart: histoire naturelle et sociale d’une famille sous le Second Empire, with six of her friends.

The image had been laid down on paper and there was some foxing, but this had little effect on bidding by collectors and dealers in London, Europe and America.

Against an estimate of £30,000-50,000 it sold at £95,000 to a Continental collector. Eugene Boudin’s Scène a plage took a record £900,000 at Christie’s on February 3 and at Bonhams he was also popular with his oil on canvas Bordeaux, Bateau sur la Garonne going over estimate to take £100,000 from a London dealer.

The 153/4 by 2ft 2in (40 x 66cm) canvas was painted in 1874, the first year of the Impressionist exhibition, to which Boudin had been invited to contribute. Bar some minor cracqueleure, the picture was in good original condition and Emma Simpson praised its “outstanding composition”.