Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Viewing dealers, however, saw it as a Federal period piece of Massachusetts origin, c.1790, and of unusual form with its serpentine front and sides and distinctive tall, thin reeded legs. A photograph taken after the sale and reproduced right shows the piece to be “in the rough” with an early, if rather dull finish, and it eventually sold at $64,000 (£45,715) to a New England dealer.

The item chosen to decorate the cover of the Eldreds catalogue was a remarkably well preserved and strongly coloured English maritime woolwork picture, dated by the auctioneers (on a marine architectural basis) to the late 19th century. It sold at $8000 (£5715) to a dealer who is also a collector of woolwork pictures.