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The top lot at the sale of the Reeves collection at Duke’s was this jade scholar’s or altar set comprising a censer, vase and cushion shaped box which sold for £130,000.

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Offered at Duke's of Dorchester on November 28, all but seven of the 53 lots got away for a £456,410 total.

The top lot was a Qianlong/Jiaqing period pale celadon jade scholar's or altar set comprising a censer, vase and cushion shaped box apparently retaining their original hardwood stands with silver wire inlay. It made £130,000 (plus 19.5 per cent buyer's premium, exceeding a £50,000-100,000 estimate.

John Reeves (1774-1856) joined the East India Company's Office of Tea in 1808 and in 1812 was sent to China, where he stayed until 1831.

Whilst living in Canton he shipped back botanical information and natural history specimens to England and accumulated an impressive collection of natural history drawings, now housed in the Royal Horticultural Society and the Natural History Museum.