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The Independent Online
PEOPLE are buying pictures again. New money from the Continent is going on easy-to- live-with, 19th-century Dutch landscapes and sentimental happy-family interiors. Clued- up money is on Modern Brits but buyers are still choosy.

Sotheby's sale of 19th-century European pictures on Wednesday (10.30am) is well stocked with decorative Dutch views and, typical of the emerging taste, sugary interiors by the lesser-known Italian Giovanni Torriglia (b. 1858) whose Blind Man's Buff (fun-loving children, grinning grandparents), est pounds 60,000- pounds 80,000 at Christie's in November, fetched pounds 100,500. Sotheby's expects pounds 70,000- pounds 90,000 for his The Happy Family and pounds 60,000- pounds 80,000 for Feeding Time.

Christie's has found an overseas market for Turkish and Arab scenes by Western painters of the same era (when Muslim custom favoured calligraphy, not painting). Christie's sale, Friday (10.30am), has Arabian and Oriental scenes. Bonhams has English and Continental watercolours Wednesday (11am) and 19th- century English and Continental watercolours Thursday (11am). More 19th-century pictures: Phillips, Tuesday (11am), Bonhams Chelsea, Wednesday (11am). Christie's has 19th-century furniture, sculpture, ceramics Thursday (10.30am).

Last week, buyers at Phillips first sale this year of Modern Brits brought out their wads of money only for the best. Apart from finding pounds 46,000 for a quintessential Lowry (more than four times the pounds 8,000- pounds 12,000 estimate), they paid above estimate for most of what they bought (67 per cent by value) but left unsold mediocre works by such big names as Seago, Sharp, Duncan Grant and Russell Flint. Christie's South Kensington's sale of Modern Brit and Continental pictures, Thursday (10.30am) is sticking to the better-known names. Expect a bigger choice of up- and-comers in September.

The market for bird pictures remains confident following Sotheby's Thorburn sale last year - and Christie's South Kensington is launching its first sale of wildlife art on 3 June. Christie's sixth annual sale of bird pictures, Tuesday (2.30pm), has a choosier selection this year - 206 lots instead of 270.

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