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This astonishing result was the main talking point of Sotheby’s March 29-30 dispersal of the collection belonging to the interior designer Alberto Pinto, whose understated taste for ormolu, solid gold, giltwood, and multicoloured Palissy and majolica wares clearly struck a chord with Sotheby’s affluent stateside client list.

The 683 lots of this two-day sale netted around $5.5m against a pre-sale high estimate of $4.6m and 95 per cent of the material found buyers.

This impressively large 3ft 6in by 4ft (1.02 x 1.22m) canvas of Felis pardalis smugly cradling a downed parrot was the work of Johann Friedrich Seupel, a little-documented German painter who worked in St. Petersburg during the late 18th century, becoming an agrée to the Academy in 1785.

This once-in-a-lifetime buy for ocelot lovers was signed and dated 1791 and had been estimated at $25,000-35,000. The buyer was described by Sotheby’s as a “European private”.

Exchange rate: £1 = $1.62