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Mme Kevorkian regretted that she had not been introduced to the vendor and been obliged to deal instead with an “intermediary” who had insisted on publishing estimates far higher than she had recommended – apparently with the aim of impressing potential Italian clients.

That policy backfired.

Despite extensive publicity and a well-illustrated catalogue, the saleroom response was sluggish, with Iznik dishes struggling to sell in the €1500-2500 (£1000-1700) range.

They were not helped, noted Mme Kevorkian, by their indifferent condition, nor by the fact that they dated from the 17th century, rather than the sought-after 16th.

The afternoon’s top bid of €4900 (£3380) went, instead, to a 19th century Turkish casket with tortoiseshell, ivory and mother-of-pearl marquetry which measured 16 x 9 1/2 x 15 1/2in (41 x
24.5 x 39.5cm).