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The 3 1/2in (9cm) high mug, which was painted with a characteristic scene of a fisherman in an oriental landscape, was in very good condition, according to Brightwells' Roger Williams. It had been entered with an attractively pitched estimate of £600-800, although the auctioneers were hoping it would make more, especially since a nearly identical example fetched £3700 at Mellors and Kirk of Nottingham last December.

In the event there were at least four would-be
purchasers on the phones to contest Brightwells' example, with the hammer falling to a bidder from East Anglia, for £3600 (plus 15 per cent
premium).