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This 15th century Netherlandish School oil on panel of the Virgin and St Elizabeth sold for £34,000 at Lyon & Turnbull.

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The 2ft 4in x 21in (72 x 54cm) work topped The Classic Tradition, Lyon & Turnbull’s (25/20% buyer’s premium) inaugural London auction in St James’s of British and European painting and sculpture from the 15th-19th centuries.

The work retained much of its original charm and came in decent condition – an old split the length of the work to the right of Mary’s face being one of the only obvious defects. It was purchased by the vendor’s late husband from London gallery Matthiesen and was entered into the October 30 sale with a £20,000- 30,000 guide.

Another good result in the 83-lot sale came for an Old Master study of a woman and putti, catalogued as by a Follower of Francesco Salviati, the Italian Mannerist painter from Florence who specialised in elaborate multi-figure compositions. The 18 x 7in (45 x 18cm) ink and wash study had some slight yellowing but otherwise was in good overall condition and came from a longstanding private collection in London. It was taken to £12,000 against a £700-1000 estimate.

Butterflies fly

The potential top-seller, an 18th century still-life of spring flowers by the Dutch painter Paul Theodor van Brussel (1754-95), failed to get away estimated at £40,000-60,000 but four gouache still-lifes with butterflies by German painter Barbara Regina Dietzsch (1706-83) sold together on top estimate for £12,000.

The 18th century painter came from a family of artists and specialised in watercolour and gouache paintings of botanical subjects against dark backgrounds.