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Take the case of the unsigned, unattributed 19th century English School watercolour of a mahogany sideboard included in Christie’s South Kensington’s (19.5/12% buyer’s premium) July 1 sale of British and Continental Watercolours.

Everyone involved in the UK’s art and antiques industry knows that demand for mahogany furniture is at an all-time low and that unattributed Victorian watercolours are just about the weakest of all sectors of the domestic art market.

Yet, surprisingly, CSK gave this seriously uncommercial 8 x 10in (20 x 25cm) watercolour an estimate of £400-600. All too predictably, it failed to sell.

This watercolour, like many of the traditional British pictures currently being offered by the major auction houses, was simply too expensive.

It seems some vendors are yet to be convinced to take a much more realistic of view of how much traditional art is actually worth.

After all, given the choice between spending £400 plus nearly £100 in premium and VAT for a watercolour of a Victorian sideboard and a weekend in Rome, which would you rather have?