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Sales at Sotheby's most recent auction totalled £2.1m, 15% less than at the same auction last year.

The number of lots sold and sold at the high estimate also fell compared to the 2019 event, the auction house said.

"While many online-only sales remain in place, just six live sales at Christie’s and Sotheby’s are set to go ahead in the next two weeks ... these sales are the best indicators of how the market is likely to react to the extraordinary events unfolding around us," Art Market Research notes.

"Auction houses are already accustomed to dealing with the vicissitudes of the art market but as governments grapple to contain the frightening coronavirus, the industry now faces its sternest test."