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This picture tells the story of an upper- middle-class family, forced to sell the ancestral home because of the fecklessness of a spendthrift father. The miniature case in the father’s hand and the sporting print on the left show that he has gambled away his inherited fortune on horseracing. The family’s possessions are to be sold – there are lot numbers attached to various objects and there’s an auction catalogue on the floor. But only the women appear concerned. The man and his son raise glasses of champagne, implying that the father’s hedonistic habits will pass down to his son.

July 2007