Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Auctioneer Nick Carter, who had worked closely with Mr Bampton, 40, since 1997 and Miss Gyetvai, 34, since she joined the firm three years ago, called them "a lovely couple". "It was like losing a brother and a sister," he told ATG.

Both artists, it was their love of Contemporary art that helped bring them together as a couple after they met at Lots Road, said Mr Carter.

Mr Bampton, described as "very likeable", worked as a Persian carpets and textiles specialist. "He was very, very knowledgeable and was very much liked and trusted by what is a very close-knit trade in this sector," said Mr Carter.

He said Miss Gyetvai, who worked in administration and valuations, was a talented artist and had devoted a lot of time to mastering printmaking techniques in recent years. "She was developing quite a following and promised to be very successful. It's such a shame that won't come to fruition now," he said.