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Sotheby’s not liable for failing to note painting might be a Caravaggio
Subject: Auctioneers; Negligence; Sale of goods   
Source: British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII)

Thwaytes v Sotheby's [2015] EWHC 36 (Ch)

Caravaggio painting the Cardsharps

The claimant Mr Thwaytes engaged the defendant auction house to sell a painting which it had appraised as being a copy of a well-known work by Caravaggio, ‘I Bari' (the Cardsharps). The work was sold at auction for £42,000.

The buyer was a well-known art scholar of great renown and after the sale he declared the painting to be by Caravaggio himself. The claimant claimed that the auction house was negligent in its appraisal of the work, basing the loss on the additional price which might have been realised had the catalogue drawn attention to the possibility of the work being by Caravaggio.

The High Court Chancery Division ruled that the defendant not been negligent, as it had taken all the steps before sale which an international auction house ought reasonably to have taken.


[Original text of the case report supplied by BAILII gratefully acknowledged. Crown copyright: contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v2
Legaleze is solely responsible for the above text which is a summary only and the full report should be read]


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