Jeremy Astfalck of The Old Corkscrew sold this portrait of an 18th century lady at the recent LAPADA fair. It was offered for £38,000.

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It is thought to be the work of either Thomas Hudson (1701-79) or his great rival Allan Ramsay (1713-84). The two shared the Flemish painter Joseph Vanhaecken (c.1699-1749) as a drapery expert.

Vanhaecken would focus on the fine clothes of the sitters while Hudson and Ramsay concentrated on the faces. However, today it can be difficult to tell the competitors’ hands apart, thanks to the third artist’s involvement.

According to Alistair Smart in his catalogue of Ramsay’s work: “The arrangement worked well for everybody, except for the art historian trying to distinguish Ramsay from Hudson in the 1740s.”

South African dealer Astfalck offered it for £38,000. He also sold a variety of silver pieces.

Mayfair venue

The London fair ran from September 13-18 in Mayfair’s Berkeley Square.

Dealers who enjoyed strong art results included The Parker Gallery, which sold 10 works, Freya Mitton, who sold her highlight work by 20th century painter John Bratby early on, and Jonathan Cooper, who parted with an interior by Contemporary artist Harry Steen in the fair’s opening hour.

Several dealers told ATG that the event started with lively interest but somewhat slow sales initially, though things picked up as it went on.

3Details sold a collection of 17 Yves Saint Laurent sketches for £45,000 as well as a walnut mirror from the designer’s home.

Lennox Cato sold this 18th century satinwood secretaire bookcase for a price in excess of £20,000.

Furniture sales included a pair of 19th century mirrors from Butchoff Antiques, which also sold a pair of wall lights. Lennox Cato, meanwhile, found new homes for a satinwood secretaire bookcase, a decanter on a stand and an Anglo- Indian box.

Difficult year

Organisers hailed the fair’s results after what they said had been a difficult year for dealers.

“Against an extraordinary political and economic backdrop we have been delighted that so many of our exhibitors have reported good business,” said fair manager Sophie Wood, who reported a rise in box office ticket sales.

CEO Freya Simms added: “As the trading environment evolves and growing numbers of dealers eschew the traditional retail setting, the opportunities offered by LAPADA as a member-owned and run body grow in importance.”