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Based at the Moretti Gallery on Ryder Street in St. James's, London, together they will operate as dealers and agents in Old Master European art. Richard Knight Fine Art Ltd. will also act as an independent dealer.

Knight had been with Christie's for 11 years but says he is excited to be returning to independent art dealing: "Having spent the greater part of my working life as a dealer, I am delighted to be returning to a world I know so well. It is also particularly pleasing for me to be embarking on this new venture in association with Fabrizio Moretti, one of today's most impressive old master dealers and a friend whom I have known and admired from the earliest days of his business.

An Old Master luminary, Knight brings 45 years of trade experience to Moretti Fine Art, a business established in 1999 when Moretti was just 22, now with galleries in London, Florence and New York.

"I have known Richard all my working life. He has been a constant supporter whilst I have established, built and developed the business" says Moretti, "Richard's knowledge and experience of the business will be of great benefit to us and our clients."

Knight began his career working as a picture cataloguer with Phillips Auctioneers in 1970 before branching out as a dealer from 1973 until 1984, while also studying and practising painting conservation. In 1984 he joined P&D Colnaghi & Co. as a director, becoming Joint Managing Director two years later. He spent a decade with the firm before forming the art dealing business, Hall & Knight, with Nicholas Hall, president of Colnaghi USA, operating in London and New York.

In 2004 Christie's acquired their companies and appointed them to the Board as Joint International Directors in the Old Master Picture Department, and Knight became Co-Chairman of Old Masters and 19th Century Art in 2012.

Rounding of this impressive CV, he has also formerly served on the Executive Committee of the Society of London Art Dealers and twice as Joint Chairman of the Executive Committee of the European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF Maastricht).

A Christie's spokesman said: "Richard Knight will continue to make his picture expertise available to the company as needed, acting in a consultancy role.

"We look forward to doing business with Richard as a buyer and seller in his new capacity as a friend of Christie's in the trade."