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It was lavishly decorated in gilt with a dense scrolling design of lotus flowers and emblems of the eight immortals.

Most importantly, its base bore the Qianlong Emperor’s iron red sealmark. This mark was extensively imitated throughout the 19th and 20th centuries and is found on many non-imperial wares, hence a wary £2000-3000 guideline, but it was heavily contested by the London trade as the genuine 18th century article.

Aside from a few chips to the extremities, the Chinese-taste ceramic was in good condition and it sold on the telephone to a London dealer - most likely on behalf of a Hong Kong dealer or a collector - for £110,000 plus15/10% buyer’s premium.