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Bearne’s themselves had reservations about the age of a 2ft 10 1/2in x 4ft (88cm x 1.22m) mahogany side table with a plain veneered frieze and tapering fluted legs and catalogued it as in the manner of George III. However, the trade were confident that all bar the table’s later marble top was period and contested it way past its £1200-1600 estimate to £7500.

Similarly, the £2000-3000 estimate on a handsome, well-carved 18th century mahogany open armchair with shell-carved cabriole legs reflected Bearne’s hesitation over its degree of restoration. Again, the London trade felt it was more period than not and went to £6000 for ownership.

The market for Black Forest carved furniture “does look to be strengthening up a bit,” said Richard Bearne.

A hall chair carved as a pipe-smoking bear with a bag slung over his shoulder generated enquiries from America as well as from UK private buyers and dealers. In the past these large pieces have proved popular furnishings for hunting lodges and, while this market has been a bit quiet of late, the chair fetched £3400. Two other Black Forest entries also did well. A bear stick stand realised a bullish £2300 and a pair of carved and inlaid walnut side chairs, which were missing their front aprons, topped their upper estimate selling at £750.

One of the most unusual furniture entries was a Regency mahogany semi-circular wine table with removable semi-circular inset and tapered reeded legs, similar to the one illustrated in C. Gilbert’s Furniture at Temple Newsam House and Lotherton Hall.

Measuring 2ft 3 1/2in x 5ft 1in (67cm x 1.55m), the table lacked its mechanism for passing the decanter around the table, but a London dealer took it at £4100. A decorative Victorian cabinet fetched £4700 and a pretty Gonzalo Alvez whatnot was a trade buy at £2700.

As to ceramics, only 11 of the 119 lots failed to sell.

There was spirited bidding on a c.1768-70 Plymouth (William Cock-worthy) porcelain mug with ribbed strap handle painted in inky blue with a Chinese pavilion in a garden landscape. Consigned by a private vendor, it had formerly been part of the Alison Bremner collection dispersed by Sotheby’s in February 1993.

Although collectors fight tooth and nail for polychrome Plymouth figures when they make their rare auction appearances, Bearne’s ceramic specialist Nic Saintey reckons there are fewer collectors for the more esoteric blue and white Plymouth porcelain.

However, on this occasion the mug’s provenance, coupled with its immaculate condition, saw it contested by the London and South-East trade to £2400.

The unusual form of a restored Qianlong period (1736-1795) famille rose porcelain desk stand comprising a hinged pen box, an integral taper stick and two square wells, saw it contested to £3900 by the London specialist trade.

A London specialist dealer also secured a 7 3/4in (20cm) high Regency rosewood mantel timepiece with a rectangular case and castellated top, signed to its silvered dial and backplate James Murray, Royal Exchange London No 1162.

Murray is better known for his quality barometers, but his clock took a five-times-estimate £4400.

Also selling well was a 17th century brass lantern clock with an untouched case but a later verge – rather than anchor – escapement, for which a collector bid a punchy £5000.