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Aided by video conferencing software, bids will be invited on commission and via a range of online platforms including thesaleroom.com. Limited phone bids will also be permitted, also feeding in remotely from outside the saleroom, allowing the auctioneer to stay within the parameters of the Prime Minister’s and the First Minister’s statements on social distancing.

After the sale payment will be handled by the finance team working at home, while the firm is working with its local branch of Mail Boxes Etc to create what it is calling a ‘no contact’ delivery service.

Sold items will be left in the saleroom for a Mail Boxes representative to pack and dispatch to the buyer. Larger items such as furniture will be stored for free until the restrictions on ‘non-essential’ journeys can be lifted.

The firm is one of a handful of top-tier UK regional auction firms pledging to continue selling in the current crisis. Fellows in Birmingham, holding sales of jewellery and watches ‘from home’ is another.

Using technology

L&T vice chairman Paul Roberts told ATG: “For all auctioneers, closing the doors for two months or more will be hugely difficult. We are attempting to minimise the disruption by using the technology that is available. We believe this a moment to demonstrate a positive outlook and show how the art business can remain open and provide a good service, even at this testing time.”

He added that both consignors to the sale and buyers have offered their support. “The vast majority of our vendors have given the new format their approval and indeed have welcomed the opportunity to transact at this time.

“We are confident the systems we have put in place, our client base, and the bidders provided by three online platforms, will allow us to offer the same competitive bidding environment as a traditional sale whilst obeying government guidelines to remain safe at home.”