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Estimated at £3000-5000, the 6 x 4in (15 x 10cm) drawing was signed with Whistler’s trademark butterfly cypher and bore an old Colnaghi label on the verso of the plain black wooden frame identifying its title as A Street Scene in Chelsea and carrying the hand-written name of the collector, Miss R. Binnie Philip.

The auctioneers didn’t undertake any extensive research on the drawing, but more than one prospective buyer was aware that it is included in the catalogue raisonné of Whistler’s drawings.

At least six telephone bidders contested the drawing, the successful bid of £26,000 eventually coming from a New York collector underbid by the London trade.