Lowestoft flask from the Geoffrey Godden collection – £24,000 at Bonhams.

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So when his blue and white porcelain reference collection came onto the market at Bonhams last week there were plenty of prospective purchasers keen to acquire a slice of history and secure a piece illustrated in the bible on the subject, Godden's Guide to English Blue and White Porcelain.

Collectors and dealers took away all bar 14 of the 202 lots offered in New Bond Street on June 30 to net just over £500,000.

The sale was stuffed with interesting pieces from the main 18th century factories, but was particularly well supplied with porcelain from Lowestoft, an early Godden favourite.

It included a rare 5 1/2in (14cm) high flask painted with four sailing ships to one side and, to the other, an unusual shipbuilding scene, probably detailing a locally-observed activity. Several Lowestoft flasks are recorded, painted with names, dates or special views suggesting they were special commissions. The fine quality painting on this example is possibly by Richard Powles, (d.1808), who is recorded as having been taken on by the factory as a boy.

Last week it was offered with a £7000-10,000 estimate, but bidding from the phone and from London dealers Simon Spero and Roderick Jellicoe took it to three times that level, with the hammer falling to Mr Jellicoe at £24,000 (plus 20 per cent premium).

By Anne Crane