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The most expensive was George Engleheart’s appealing diamond framed study of a young girl in an ostrich feather hat shown top right, which was pursued to £26,000. There was also keen demand for Abraham Daniel’s portrait of a young girl (once thought to be Princess Charlotte Augusta) in a white bonnet and dress with blue sash, shown bottom right. This image, ex the Grosvenor Paine and Hoffmann collections, made £8000 when it last went under the hammer. Here it doubled estimate, the hammer falling to the miniature dealer Claudia Hill for £14,000.

The auctioneers had high hopes of Richard Cosway’s portrait of Lady Caroline Lamb (née Ponsonby) set against a landscape background (s.d. 1787). Bonhams had identified the sitter from an engraving (when it last went under the hammer at Sotheby’s in 1999, when it was catalogued as possibly depicting her brother Frederick Cavendish Ponsonby). With the sitter firmly identified and the added appeal of her Byronic connections, they gave this a punchy £20,000-30,000 estimate but the image went on the phone for £18,000.

Bidders were more enthusiastic about a second Cosway child subject offered immediately afterwards, the half-length portrait of Lady Elizabeth Bingham against a sky ground. Praised by several specialists for its naturalistic charm and as a particularly fine example of the artist’s work, this was taken to £21,000 after a battle between the room and phone.