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'Sint Eustatius in the Dutch Antilles, with West Indiamen massed in the road off Oranjestad', a late 18th century Dutch School oil on canvas – £125,000 with premium at Christie’s.

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The final dedicated offering was a timed-online sale that closed on November 5.

Head of topographical pictures Nicholas Lambourn is leaving Christie’s after almost 40 years. The company said it will “explore the options and alternative opportunities with any other colleagues who are directly impacted”.

It added: “Across the summer Christie’s took necessary steps to adapt the business.

“These targeted cost management measures have been difficult, but they are intended to help protect our company and ensure we can continue to best serve our clients.”

Both Christie’s and Sotheby’s are reported to have furloughed a number of staff earlier in the year and made financial cuts, but actual details of the individuals and departments affected have not been disclosed. In June, however, Christie’s announced that its was merging its Impressionist and Modern Art department and the Post-War and Contemporary Art department.

On the move

Topographical sales began at Christie’s in 1968, initially at King Street before moving to South Kensington in 1980 and then coming back to King Street again from 1990.

Highlights at the auctions over the years have included the Shackleton Collection of polar items sold in 2001, the Winkworth Collection of Canadiana that raised a triple-estimate raise £3.49m in 2015 and a group of nine Chilean and Peruvian oils by the German itinerant artist Johann Moritz Rugendas which raised over £4m in the department’s record £7.7m sale in December 2016.

Top lot at the final sale was a late 18th century Dutch School oil on canvas depicting the tiny volcanic island of Sint Eustatius in the Caribbean which became an independent freeport in the 17th and 18th centuries. The island, dubbed ‘the Golden Rock’ for its commercial riches, is shown at its height in the late 18th century in this rare 16¾in x 2ft 2in (42.5 x 66cm) work.

Estimated at £40,000- 60,000, it sold at £125,000 with premium.