Sotheby's, Christie's and Bonhams Old Masters Sales were estimated to bring in  £53.6 million - £77 million combined. This pre sale estimated was exceeded as the sales reached £79 million.

J.M.W. Turner's oil, Rome from Mount Aventine from the Earl of Rosebery's collection became the second most expensive Old Master work to ever be sold at auction. Ruben's Massacre of the Innocents holds the record at an incredible £49.5 million. Turner's masterpiece sold for £30.3 million, which was £15 million above the estimate. It was purchased by an anonymous phone bidder, which experts are guessing could be Leon Black, the American businessman who bought $120 million on Edvard Munch's The Scream, and Raphael's drawing, Head of a Young Apostle for £29 million

Turner Rome, From Mount Aventine Sotheby's

Alex Bell, joint international head and co-chairman of Sotheby's Old Master Paintings Department, said: "It is hard to overstate the importance of Rome, From Mount Aventine. There are no more than half a dozen major works by Turner left in private hands and this work must rank as one of the very finest.

"This painting, which is nearly 200 years old, looks today as if it has come straight from the easel of the artist; never relined and never subject to restoration, the picture retains the freshness of the moment it was painted: the hairs from Turner's brush, his fingerprint, the drips of liquid paint which have run down the edge of the canvas, and every scrape of his palette knife have been preserved in incredible detail.

"The outstanding result achieved tonight is a further indication of the strength of the Old Master market. When there is quality, there are buyers."

The highest selling lot at Christie's was a portrait of the composer, Hendrick Liberti, by van Dyck  which sold for £2.9 million. It is believed the buyer could be James Stunt, son-in-law of Bernie Ecclestone, who was caught in the dispute to save van Dyck's portrait from leaving the UK after he purchased it and planned to move it to his LA home.

Two works by by Pieter Brueghel the Younger and Jan Breughel the Elder remained unsold. Rubensian A Country Braw, by Pieter the Younger was purchased by a Chinese buyer for £842,500, £142,500 above it's estimate.

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