Jordaens' The Holy Family tops Christie's old master sale

Flemish painter Jacob Jordaens' 'The Holy Family with an angel' led Christie's Old Masters Evening Sale in London last night.

"The prime composition from which a number of studio variants derive", according to the auctioneer, the circa 1625 work sold for £1.8m ($2.3m) - more than doubling its £800,000 estimate.

Jacob Jordaens' nativity-themed work proved a hit with bidders

The second-most valuable lot of the night was another circa 1625 piece, Balthasar van der Ast's The Zomerschoon tulip. The Dutch painter's offering sold for £809,000 ($1m).

There were also new artist records for Francois Clouet, Corneille de Lyon, Jean Decourt, Judith Leyster and Battista Zelotti.

It is the final act in a strong 2016 for the auction house's old masters sales, as Henry Pettifer, the head of old masters and British paintings at Christie's London, explained.

"Tonight's Old Masters Evening Sale concludes a fantastic year for the department and brings the running total for global Old Master auctions at Christie's to £147 million," he said.

"This year was led by the record-breaking sale of Rubens's masterpiece Lot and his Daughters, which sold in July for £44.9 million, the highest auction price for any work of art sold in Europe in 2016."

Out of his father's shadow... Peter Brueghel the Younger's return from the Kermesse

The auction follows a strong showing at the corresponding Sotheby's sale the previous evening, where Pieter Brueghel the Younger's (1564-1637) Return from the Kermesse achieved £2.6 million ($3.3m).

The sale is the latest evidence the younger Brueghel's artwork is gaining in desirability, following four centuries in the shadow of his father.

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