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Sir Julian, whose great-great grandfather Sir William Agnew built the premises at 43 Old Bond Street in 1877 (the firm was founded in 1817), said: “For some years it has been clear that our premises, splendid though they are, have become unsuitable for an art gallery in the 21st century. Much of our stock is exhibited at fairs both in the UK and overseas and we do an increasingly large proportion of our business outside the gallery.

“Also the style of a high Victorian building is not as suitable for the 20th and 21st century British and contemporary art which is a growing part of our business.”

Sir Julian says the March Maastricht was the most successful ever for the gallery and Agnew’s intend to keep up a full programme of exhibitions and fairs in London, New York, Paris and Maastricht during and after the move from Bond Street.

For example, they will take part as planned in the annual Master Drawings in London week from July 4 to 11.

For some years there has been talk that Agnew’s has had a serious cash flow problem and their huge, plush Bond Street galleries increasingly seemed an anachronism on the modern London dealing scene. It will come as no surprise that they accepted a reasonable offer to move on.

Sir Julian commented: “Agnew’s has a strong balance sheet and an injection of capital from the sale of 43 Old Bond Street will reinforce this and enable us to trade vigorously as we move further into the 21st century.”

By David Moss