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Neil Davey, whose 50-plus year career has seen him become one of the world’s leading authorities on netsuke, and Suzannah Yip, who specialises chiefly in the pictorial arts of Japan, have worked together at Sotheby’s for more than eight years.

They are joining Bonhams’ Asian Art department to oversee four dedicated Japanese art sales a year – two in New Bond Street, in May and November, and two in the company’s New York saleroom in March and September.

Ms Yip will become the department director for Japanese art and will begin work immediately on the build-up to Bonhams’ first fine Japanese art sale, to be held during Asia Week in London in November.