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At Knightsbridge, 150 lots generated £299,140 with 38 per cent of the material failing to sell, representing 24 per cent by value.

However, although this was, overall, a fairly routine mid-season offering there were one or two lots which did stand out, such as this highly distinctive Pointilliste-influenced 1919 oil shown right, entitled Victory Celebrations.

The work of Sir Claude Francis Barry (1883-1970) – a modestly rated landscape painter best remembered for his highly stylised nocturnes – it was illustrated on the front cover of the catalogue.

Judging by this large 5ft 3in by 5ft 8in (1.60 x 1.72m) canvas, the firework display that lit up the sky above the Houses of Parliament on July 19, 1919 to celebrate the Allies’ victory in the First World War would have put London’s Millennial ’River of Fire’ to shame. The painting had been offered at auction relatively recently, but it nonetheless had the wall power to command a record £40,000 (estimate £15,000-20,000) from the London trade.

The other major contributor to this Knightsbridge sale’s proceeds was a similarly estimated Terence Cuneo (1907-1996) steam loco portrait, The Evening Star, which sold to a Midlands train enthusiast at £37,000.

The price for this signed and dated 1975 canvas, measuring 2ft 11/4in by 2ft 61/4in (64 x 77cm), might have seemed seriously loco to the mainstream Modern British art trade, but railwayana enthusiasts are a law unto themselves. Last December a new auction record of £40,200 was set for a locomotive nameplate and Cuneo train portraits have fetched as much as £50,000 at Christie’s South Kensington.