‘The Rialto Bridge with the Palazzo dei Camerlenghi’ by Guardi – £23.25m at Christie’s.

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The amount raised was broadly similar to the £123.1m from the equivalent sales last year with two works in particular, one each at Christie’s and Sotheby’s, making large contributions to the total.

A classic vedute by Francesco Guardi (1712-93) led the sales after drawing two phone bidders at Christie’s evening sale on July 6. It was knocked down at £23.25m.

The Rialto Bridge with the Palazzo dei Camerlenghi came to auction with impeccable provenance from the Guinness family and had been expected to fetch in excess of £25m. The sum was slightly shy of the hammer price made by the work’s pendant, View of the Rialto Bridge, from the Fondamenta del Carbon which took £23.8m at Sotheby’s in July 2011.

The Christie’s sale generated a £43.9m total (including premium) with 36 of the 48 lots (75%) selling on the night.

Sotheby’s auction the night before posted £52.5m with 58 of the 68 lots sold – the 85% selling rate being the company's highest ever for an Old Master evening sale.

Top lot was one of the few large-scale oil paintings by JMW Turner (1775-1851) left in private hands. Ehrenbreitstein was knocked down on low estimate at £17m after a third-party guarantee had been arranged in the run-up to the auction.