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The most sought-after of these was a set of five verte-Imari Folly plates (shown right) dating to c.1725 and consigned together with one other similar plate. The 8 1/2in (22cm) diameter plates each depicted a different character from the Commedia dell'Arte series standing on a chequered tiled floor beside a table and canopy.

This was one of a number of sets produced between 1722 and 1735 for the Dutch market whose subject matter was intended as a satirical attack on the financial world of the early 18th century, and in particular the South Sea Bubble mania that burst in 1720. Consequently, these sets are variously referred to as Folly, South Sea Bubble, or Commedia del'Arte plates.

These five plates had been acquired piecemeal by the vendor over the last two decades with two of the plates purchased from the François Hervouet collection at Sotheby's London in 1987. The opportunity to acquire a readymade set (one with a crack and others with some restoration) at one stroke sparked a bidding battle between a tenacious South American private bidder and a European collector. It sold to the South American buyer at £40,000.

Also of interest to several different parties was a large blue and white Kangxi period (1662-1722) Bacchus dish, pictured right. Skilfully painted with the corpulent deity holding a goblet of wine and clad in wreaths of fruiting vines, the large 14 1/2in (48cm) diameter dish was probably intended for use as a tray, and its painted petal border rim imitated gadrooning found on European silver trays of the period. The quality of the painting, its vivid blue tones and good condition saw it contested to £20,000 by a European dealer.

Elsewhere, flexible reserves ensured that the lion's share of the more standard export fare got away, with a number of entries selling well below low estimates. Overall, buyers were found for 85 per cent of lots that sold for a total of £387,035.