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Th­ese ar­tic­u­lated wooden props were in­tended for use by an artist, per­haps dur­ing pupil­lage, or else sim­ply to al­le­vi­ate the need for a liv­ing model when only hands were be­ing drawn or painted. They date from the 19th cen­tury and are made in such a way that the wrist, thumb and fin­gers can all be moved into the per­fect pose, while the in­dex fin­gers each have three joints for even greater life­like ex­pres­sion. Fierce bid­ding en­sued in a sale at Liver­pool auc­tion­eers Cato Crane, an on­line buyer hand­ing over £380 to se­cure them.

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