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The ceramics lots in question were traditional favourites – the sole offering by Clarice Cliff in the 90-lot section and a piece of Mintons majolica.

Estimated at £600-800, the 7in (18cm) Bizarre Net pattern coffee pot and cover with geometric decoration, and matching 1 1/2in (4cm) conical sugar bowl, sold at £2000.

The majolica offering was a 16 1/2in wide (42cm) oval bowl with twin putto handles, each side moulded with a mask in a cartouche joined by leafy swags and an oval base with Greek Key border.

A flattening off in the majolica market and key American buyers handicapped by the weakness of the dollar, no doubt contributed to the pessimistic £300-500 estimate but the bowl sold at £1950.

The clock, which featured on the catalogue front cover, had always been expected to do well.

It was a late 19th century brass-cased grande sonnerie carriage clock, 8in (20cm) tall with handle, with a painted porcelain face featuring an Egyptian scene signed with a monogram L.S. and inscribed Le Roy & fils, London.

The sides to the clock were painted with interior scenes with Middle Eastern girls signed L. Simmons – sufficient decorative appeal on top of intrinsic worth to merit a bid of £5100 against an estimate of £2500-3000.