La Pesca Fortunata (A good haul), setting a new record for Irolli at €230,00 (£160,840).

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The 4ft 5in x 6ft 7in (1.3 x 2m) painting is executed in rapid, rough brushstrokes and, although typical of genre painting of a certain type, the artist has brought not only harmony of colour and an instinctive touch to the work. 

Of the five canvases by Irolli on offer at Sotheby's, this was always expected to be much the most expensive, carrying hefty presale hopes of €150,000-250,000 (guidelines on the other four ranged from around €26,000 up to around €100,000). Even at a mid-estimate €230,000 (£160,840) the impressive piscatorial study shown here still established a new auction record for the artist. 

Prices for the other three Irollis that sold ranged from a low-estimate €22,000 (£15,385) for a small, 18 1/2in (47cm) square still life of fish up to €75,000 (£52,450) for a winsome 3ft 8in x 2ft (1.12m x 62 cm) study of a young Neapolitan girl standing an the foot of a narrow stairway holding armfuls of fruit, entitled La Fiametta. 

Arguably more unexpected was the double-estimate €145,000 (£101,400), another new auction high, paid for Giorgio Belloni's idyllic pastoral landscape Contadinella Nel Campo Fiorito, a large, 3ft 10in x 4ft 6in (1.19 x 1.38m) oil on canvas showing a young scythe-wielding reaper in a red dress walking through a flower filled meadow.

Overall the auctioneers found buyers for a reasonable 115 (64 per cent) of the 180 lots for a premium-inclusive total of just under €2.34m.