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When a Lund’s Bristol basket-shaped cream pail from the celebrated Bernard Watney collection attracted a hammer price of £26,000 against expectations of £12,000-15,000 at Phillips on May 10 (see Antiques Trade Gazette no 1441, June 3) there was immediate speculation about whether or not this near identical example, illustrated right, which was due to go under the hammer at the London auctioneer’s Bond Street salerooms on June 13, would be able to match this price.

Naturally the second pail had come from a sound enough source, but it was not famous enough to merit a mention in the catalogue. Nevertheless, collectors were more interested in the slight differences between it and the Watney example. Bernard’s pail was painted with the Oriental ‘Blue Eliza’ figure in a landscape and was rather blurred in the glaze, measuring a mere 3in (7cm) high, whereas this pail exhibited crisper moulding, more defined decoration (floral rather than landscape) and was slightly larger at 31/2in (8.5cm). “It was a slightly better pail and more fiercely competed”, said auctioneer John Sandon, pointing out that before this year the last time Phillips had offered a Lund’s pail was back in the 1960s, and the prospect of collectors never having the opportunity to buy another was an additional factor responsible for this example fetching more than the Watney one, at £29,000 (plus 15/10 per cent premium).