15-06-08-2195NE04A sothebys Khlebnikov.jpg
This imperial silver-gilt and cloisonné enamel triptych icon by the Moscow jewellers Khlebnikov sold for £160,000 at Sotheby’s.

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The £21.1m (including premium) generated at Sotheby's, Christie's, Bonhams and MacDougall's contrasted starkly with the £64m made in June 2014 as confidence in this category has taken a tumble with the falling value of the Rouble and the downturn in the oil price.

At some sales well over half of the lots went unsold, although Sotheby's and Christie's achieved better selling rates of over 60% - an improvement on the difficult sales series in November when the overall total was £40.5m.

The June sales were much slimmer in terms of volume and had fewer stellar lots. One work that bucked the trend at Sotheby's was a nude study of a sleeping girl by female artist Zinaida Evgenievna Serebriakova (1884-1967) which was knocked down to a private Russian buyer at a record £3.3m. It was the top individual lot of the week - and the only seven-figure result.

Ivanishvili Purchase

Christie's top lot was Arsenal Hill at Night by the Georgian primitivist painter Niko Pirosmani (1863-1918). It sold on low estimate at £800,000 to the billionaire businessman and former prime minister of Georgia, Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Some of the works of art on offer still drew good competition.

Estimated at £100,000-150,000, a 13½in (34cm) high imperial silver-gilt and cloisonné enamel triptych icon sold at Sotheby's on June 2 for £160,000.

Made by the Moscow jewellers Khlebnikov, the panels feature Saint Nicholas the Miracleworker, flanked by Saint Alexander Nevsky and Saint Mary Magdalene. The reverse is engraved with the presentation inscription To His Imperial Highness the Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich from the Moscow Bourgeois Society May 1886.

It is believed the icon was given to the Tsarevich (the future Nicholas II) in celebration of his 18th birthday.