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Plymouth Auction Rooms made the surprise find on a visit to a Cornish cottage on the banks of the river Tamar last year when on a visit to value a mixture of Cornish art and collectables.

Identified as a rare 1950s Pablo Picasso vase decorated with a stylised owl, Plymouth Auction Rooms’ managing director Paul Keen consigned it to its January 25 sale.

The painted and glazed earthenware vase, which measures 10.25in (26cm), is from Picasso’s Plein Feu series produced at the Madoura pottery works in Vallauris in the south of France. It is from an edition of 500 conceived in 1952.

It carried an estimate of £400-600 and was hammered down at £2800.

Keen said the vase attracted pre-sale interest from America and around the UK. However online bidders were eventually outbid by a local collector in the saleroom.

Keen said: “We were excited to discover the vase but were not as surprised with the result as the vendor was.”

Plymouth Auction Rooms buyer’s premium is 20%.