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A local private consignment of Japanese inro added the zest to the Oriental works of art and ceramics section. Foremost in the collection was a four-case lacquer example decorated in bold relief in shibayama with a woodcarver, a young girl and two figures on a gilt ground. Sold with a pierced ivory netsuke, it was pursued by a Cotswolds dealer to its top estimate at £3500.

The London trade secured the consignment’s second four-case lacquer inro.

Signed Nakayama Zakuri and decorated in shibayama with figures, rats and a dog on a gold ground, it realised £3600. This vendor’s netsuke were not as good quality as the inro, and so it was down to one of the auctions houses regular vendors to furnish the sale with a Japanese sleeper – an 18th century kakiemon porcelain teapot and cover, 31/2in (9cm).Undated in the catalogue, the lobed teapot was enamelled with birds amid flowering branches. It left its £100-120 estimate standing selling to the London trade at £2100.

The trade did not secure all the top lots, however. Two private bidders battled it out for a collectable Nantgarw porcelain plate, c.1815, 93/4in (25cm) that sold at £3900. Consigned form Swansea and in good overall condition, its floral and insect decoration was of a higher standard than usual, painted in London and not at its place of manufacture, Swansea.

An old paper label glued to the reverse added to its desirability placing it in the now dispersed Harry Sherman Nantgarw Porcelain Collection.

Another sought-after ceramic entry was a pair of late 18th century Prattware pottery plaques rescued from possible obscurity in one of Holloways’ more general monthly sales. Of arched rectangular shape, each had scenes of moulded putti in lion-drawn chariots, 5in (13cm) high, and realised £1400.

More of a surprise was the multiple estimate £2900 paid by an Oxfordshire dealer for a Victorian mahogany clothes press. Specialist Timothy Holloway said: “Normally they don’t fetch this sort of money and it wasn’t even in wonderful condition.”
It had a lappet-moulded cornice and four interior slides enclosed by a pair of doors above two short and long drawers, 3ft 8in (1.17m).

Holloways, Banbury, Oxfordshire, April 25
Buyer’s premium: 15 per cent