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And although some say there are more glamorous collecting fields than blue-printed pottery and Staffordshire figures, to which this 360-lot sale was largely devoted, the 95 per cent take-up and £106,000 total were testaments to its strength.

The lion’s share of the 180 lots of blue-printed pottery (only three of which failed to sell) came from one private collection and also included a smattering of entries from collector and aficionado Terry Lockhart. A meat dish, tureen and cover from the Spode Indian Sporting series – considered one of the the most sought after designs – provided two of the highlights. Dinner plates from this service regularly bring £100-150 at auction but bigger items can fetch considerably more. The meat dish, printed with the scene of a party mounted on elephants, Shooting a Leopard in a Tree, within a border of animals, measured 201/4in (51cm), and had impressed marks, c.1815-25. The 15in (38cm) wide tureen, painted with horsemen with lances and dogs hunting boar, had been consigned by a longstanding Spode collector.

Collectors took both dish and tureen and cover at £3300 apiece.

Such is the desirability of the series that even a smashed and re-assembled Spode Indian Sporting vegetable dish brought £500 against £80-100 expectations.

The strength of the market saw a blue-printed 183/4in (48cm) footbath, c.1820-30 – unmarked but in excellent condition apart from a small chip to a handle – bring a triple-estimate £2200 from an American collector. Of oval shape with banded vertical sides and two moulded scroll handles, it was decorated to the outside with a castle and bridge in a country landscape.

A Shorthose teapot of squat barrel shape also sold well over expectations.

“The vendor nearly fell off his chair,” said specialist Dick Henrywood, when the £120-180 estimated teapot was taken-up by a trade buyer at £760 despite a rivetted handle and chips to the cover and spout.

Going at £20 more was a jug commemorating the wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, c.1840-45, selling to the trade at £780. Of bulbous Dutch shape with scroll moulded handle, it was printed in black with a portrait of the couple and appealed to the trade sufficiently to make a price of £780.

Dreweatt Neate, Donnington Priory, Newbury,
February 14
Buyer’s premium: 15 per cent