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With at least one Chinese Embassy cultural official present at the sell-out event, AAIL chairman Roger Keverne reminded guests that the UK is “blessed” with a wealth of objects and connoisseurship.

The gala’s venue proved this point, with its treasure trove of priceless Asian delights. Guests salivated in particular over what one dealer dubbed “the £500m cabinet” full of Ming blue and white.

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Dr Ravi Reddy and Mrs Cornelia Reddy with AAIL board director Runjeet Singh.

Meanwhile, AAIL repeated its message that great objects can still be acquired and that London is the place to do so. Awards for the best art from AAIL 2017 were presented by sponsors including ATG, to Bonhams Bond Street, Priestley & Ferraro and Chiswick Auctions.

This took place on stage, while on Instagram, the competitive spirit got less serious with a ‘shoe-off’ among distinguished male guests, parading the best sock-and-shoe combination.