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Put into the February 24-25 sale of 1640 lots by a local Cotswolds family who had organised the London house clearance, the 5ft x 2ft (1.52m x 61cm) panels were given an estimate of £200-300 which, judging by the lack of interest at view days and the low level at which bidding started on sale day, seemed about right.

But then two bidders, a private buyer from Cheltenham and a Midlands dealer, locked horns over the panels, all of which had a simulated metallic finish and depicted highly stylised peacocks, deer and swallows within forest and garden settings.

Although the dealer may have felt the panels were attributable to a designer, it is also possible he agreed with his rival who simply saw them as stylish decorative hangings. Eventually the private bidder took them at £7200. “Before the sale he was only planning on bidding £450 plus one,” said Wotton Auction Rooms specialist Philip Taubenheim.

The Art Deco hangings may have been the undisputed highlight but Belgian trade interest in an 18th century oyster laburnum wood chest that had lost its original legs saw this realise £3000, while the decorative appeal of an unusual 6ft x 3ft (1.83m x 91cm) 19th century tradesman’s timber sign advertising the Severn Valley Dairy caught the eye of an interior decorator who bid the winning £540.