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“The trouble with Topo sales is that they’re unpredictable,” said Bonhams expert Giles Peppiatt. “You produce a catalogue and then one of the regional economies develops a problem and you buy in the lot.”

Thanks to the recent devaluation of the Turkish lira and the collapse of the Istanbul stock-market, it was Turkey’s turn this time round and virtually everything with an Ottoman flavour failed to sell. For the time being, buyers of Turkish material beware.

By contrast, Malaysia commanded an exceptional premium as a subject at this Knightsbridge sale with a remarkable £27,000 being paid by London specialist dealer Martin Gregor for this signed and dated 1818 watercolour by Lt. Col. James George (1782-1828) of the former Dutch colony of Malacca, estimated at £1000-1500. In unframed condition and with extensive acidification and tears, this 14 by 203/4in (36 x 52cm) watercolour may be one of five such drawings of Malacca made by George which were formerly in the collection of the Raffles Museum, Singapore.