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“The trade is always suspicious of small pieces of English walnut,” said Aldridges specialist Ivan Street. “They are so desirable and often copied.”

With a crossbanded and quarter-veneered top, five oak-lined drawers with brass handles and a good colour, this example was judged to be the real thing and took a £3100 trade bid.

The market, however, remains selective for routine 19th century furniture with a William IV, rosewood-framed, sofa doing well to double its modest £400-600 estimate to bring £1150.

Wall clocks remain in demand and there was spirited bidding for a 19th century mahogany drop-dial example inscribed H.Bell, Bristol which realised £1100.