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The unfinished portrait of an Englishman was offered by Trinity Fine Art for £140,000. It is believed that it was left for an assistant to finish but was ultimately sold off in a Rome market after Mengs’ death.

LAW ran from December 1-6 around Mayfair and St James’s. There were 31 participants, including major auction houses as well as dealers who reported the event had attracted museum visitors from Europe and the US as well as many private collectors.

Many held special exhibitions, including Karen Taylor who staged her show Magick Land – a Journey through Italy at the gallery of Charles Beddington.

Her early sales included a pencil and wash drawing of Santa Maria de’Monte near Naples (1781) by Thomas Jones (1742- 1803) to a US buyer.

Justin Raccanello offered Orientalist revival pieces from the Cantagalli workshop of Florence c.1880-1900. He sold a third of the works, priced at £5000-10,000, to private buyers by Wednesday.

They included an Iznik-style tin-glazed earthenware bottle vase with a blue cockerel mark.

Guy Peppiatt and Stephen Ongpin held their annual 100 Drawings and Watercolours show, selling more than 25 works between them during the first three days of the event. Among the sales was a pen and ink still-life of army boots and a canteen by Henri Piccot (1899-1972), offered by Ongpin for £2800.

Some came from outside the UK to attend, such as Galleria Carlo Virgilio from Rome. It parted with an oil on canvas of The Lady Singer by Ennio Belisto (1901-48) for a price in the region of €30,000.