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More than 7500 people turned up to take a look at Edvard Munch's The Scream as Sotheby's staged a five-day exhibition of the picture in London prior to its sale in New York on May 2.

With unprecedented security arrangements for what seems likely to become the most expensive object ever sold at auction, people queued for up to 45 minutes, passing under two airport-style scanners before reaching the hushed serenity of the darkened room.

Around eight to ten people were permitted to view the picture at a time, which meant it was entirely different from Sotheby's viewing of Damien Hirst's Beautiful Inside my Head Forever  sale, which took up all 13 gallery rooms at the auctioneers' Bond Street headquarters and was seen by 21,000 people over 11 days - the highest attendance for an auction viewing in London.

The Scream, which Sotheby's have billed as perhaps only second to the Mona Lisa as the most instantly identifiable iconic artwork, now goes on to New York where it will be on show from April 27.