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On the plus side were two Royal Worcester gilded twin-handled pot pourri vases and covers, featuring panels painted by John Stinton with his trademark Highland cattle.

One, 12in (30.5cm) tall, of bulbous form with leaf-form handles, took £9300 against top hopes of £5000. The other, which went to the same Irish collector, was urn-shaped and measured 11in (28cm). Estimated at £3500-4500, it sold at £8900.

The disappointment was the discovery, shortly before sale day, that a superb looking tureen and stand bearing the Sèvres decorator’s mark for Pierre-Joseph Rosset and dated 1758, was not what it appeared. Andrew Grant auctioneer Christopher Jarrey had taken expert advice before cataloguing the pieces as a period Sèvres item and estimating it at £20,000-30,000. Alas – but fortunately in time for a pre-sale announcement – the tureen and stand was a 19th century Tournai piece, probably by master repro makers Samson, and the lot was bought in against a revised estimate of £1000-1500.

“It had fooled one of the foremost experts in the world, albeit temporarily, but he was unable to let us know until after the catalogue went to print,” said Mr Jarrey. “I’m afraid his name must remain with me.”

The less esoteric ceramics included a pair of mid-19th century Meissen figures of a gentleman and lady with sporting guns and dogs and a rare, possibly unique, Royal Worcester equestrian group by Bernard Winskill.

The 9 1/2in (24cm) Meissen figures, impressed 19 and J 180 and J181 to the bases, had suffered some damage and restoration but took a trade bid of £1060 against a £400-600 estimate. The unmarked, 16in (41cm) tall blanc de chine Winskill group, showing two jockeys taking horses over a hurdle, was a mid-estimate buy for a Portuguese collector at £1100.

Fairly standard furniture had its sticky moments but a dealer went to a double-estimate £3000 for a fine early 19th century mahogany buffet sideboard, 7ft 6in by 4ft 6in high (2.29 x 1.37m), with a rear panel featuring egg and dart carved decoration and a stepped front top above two log drawers on scroll-carved supports.