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The head and figure sketches on two sides of the same 17 x 11in (44 x 28cm) sheet of buff-coloured wove paper came from the family of the late Kensington Church Street antiques dealer Eila Grahame. It was offered at Cheffins (22.5% buyer’s premium) on October 12.

Cheffins had sold the bulk of the Grahame collection in December last year.

Director at the Cambridge firm – and auctioneer last week – Martin Millard said: “We found these drawings buried under piles of dust-covered antiques, paintings and drawings. They are unrecorded and have never before been seen by the public.”

The pencil sketches are titled Têtes (recto) and Nu debout (verso) and signed Alberto Giacometti 1947 – placing them in the key decade of the artist’s career. It was in this period that he began to focus on single, elongated figures.

The auctioneers confirmed the authenticity of the sketches with the Comité Giacometti in Paris and the sheet is now registered in the Alberto Giacometti database under AGD 3759.

The estimate on the drawings was £40,000-60,000, attracting interest from phone bidders in Europe and the US.