Caravaggio in court

Caravaggio in court

A man who attempted to sue Sotheby’s over a painting declared a “£10million Caravaggio” after he sold it has lost his High Court battle, leaving him facing millions of pounds-worth of costs.

Lancelot William Thwaytes, a chartered surveyor, had sold the painting, entitled The Cardsharps and catalogued as by a follower of Caravaggio, for £42,000 through Sotheby’s in 2006.

The following year, renowned collector Sir Denis Mahon, the new owner, publicly claimed it was a genuine work by the artist, valuing it at £10m.

Mr Thwaytes, who is described in court papers as suffering “understandable upset” as a result of Sir Derek’s announcement, took legal action against Sotheby’s claiming it had been “negligent” in its assessment of the work.

His legal representatives had accused the auction house of not consulting enough experts or sufficiently testing the painting before the sale, leading to it selling for a fraction of the amount proclaimed.