*Thwaytes v Sotheby's

Negligence – Duty to take care. The claimant had owned a painting which he had sold at auction through the defendant auction house for £42,000. The defendant had assessed the painting as being a copy of a well-known work by Caravaggio. After the sale, the buyer, who was an art scholar of great renown, declared the painting to be by Caravaggio himself. The claimant issued proceedings against the defendant alleging negligence in its investigation of the painting. The Chancery Division dismissed his claim. It considered the scope of the duty of care owed by a leading auction house, as opposed to a provincial one, and concluded that the defendant had not been negligent in its assessment of the painting.

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