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The table, which measures 11ft 2in (3.4m) in length and 4ft 5in (1.35m) in depth, was part of a 64-lot consignment from the Château de Cornillon in France, entered by the major Haute Epoque collector Frederic Champavère and offered as a separately catalogued opener to the auctioneers' main mixed-owner sale on October 31.

Sotheby's specialist Patrick van der Vorst told ATG that he knew this was a particularly good example, larger in size and with a more complex stretcher than the version he sold three years ago for £110,000. Even so, he had not expected it to make so much.

No fewer than four bidders contested the table to £200,000 after which it was a battle to the finish between two collectors with the hammer falling to a European private buyer bidding on the phone.

By Anne Crane