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The late Tristram Jellinek wrote a number of articles on the subject in the 1970s and '80s, speculating these may have been decorated by the same wonderfully inventive hand. All were probably made in Lambeth c.1720-40.

The auctioneers had been aware of these two chargers for more than a decade and finally coaxed them from the owner earlier this year. The parents of the vendor purchased them from a Scarborough antiques shop more than 50 years ago.

One previously unknown design depicts Pulcinella in a jester's costume and sugar loaf hat striding between sponged trees. A popular figure in London and provincial theatres from the 1660s, he is typically shown carrying a slapstick but here holds a large sword in his left hand and smokes a pipe.

Although hampered by some condition issues (several hairline cracks), it sold at £11,500 (estimate £4000-6000) at the auction on April 21-22.

Its pair shows a large peacock on full display and was, said BHL specialist Nic Sainty, "literally pristine". This time, with the guide pitched a little lower at £3000-5000, bidding reached £23,000.

Both were purchased in the room by the trade on behalf of a private collector.