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The new department will be run by Richard Aronowitz-Mercer, a former deputy director of Sotheby’s Imp and Mod department, as well as director and senior curator of the Ben Uri Gallery, London.

Mr Aronowitz-Mercer, who describes Bloomsbury as “not constrained by traditional, preconceived ideas, flexible and happy to tailor services to our clients’ needs” said he hopes to attract the more financially attainable Impressionist and Modern art, such as artist-decorated ceramics.

While the backbone of the first sale on December 7 is expected to be European and British artists from the 1870s to the present day with prices staring at £1000, Bloomsbury say they are especially interested in developing Contemporary art sales for the many artists whose work rarely appears at auction in London. “We envisage Bloomsbury Auctions becoming the place for today’s artists to sell their work,” said the new head of department.

Earlier this year Bloomsbury moved to Maddox Street to be within easy walking distance of the other major auction houses, galleries and antiquarian book shops, and changed its name from Bloomsbury Book Auctions to Bloomsbury Auctions.

The new name reflects the company’s desire to expand into new markets – announcements of other new departments are expected over the coming months.