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The undoubted star of the Edinburgh sale was a Gothic Revival chiming clock, signed to the dial and backplate Vuilliamy/London.

Made c.1840 by Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy, it was, said L&T specialist Douglas Girton, not merely extremely rare but very probably unique.

The triple fusee movement striking a bell and chiming on eight bells was housed in a massive fire-gilt brass architectural case, 3ft 9in (1.19m) high. This featured roundels above the triple arch dial painted with views of Greenwich including Flamstead House, Greenwich Hospital and Queen’s House, and an oblique view of the hospital with ships on the Thames.

These delicate touches were a particular attraction in what was an imposing piece standing 6ft 9in (2.06m) tall overall on a modern oak stand with pointed Gothic arches.

Girton’s £40,000-50,000 estimate proved pretty accurate when a UK collector fought off a phone rival from the US with a winning bid of £52,000.

A 7ft 7in (2.32m) tall early Georgian longcase had a great deal going for it: a seaweed marquetry case of Scottish rosewood and mahogany, an eight-day musical movement chiming on 12 bells with two changeable barrels and being inscribed to the silvered 11in (28cm) by a local maker, Andrew Brown Edinburgh.

Nevertheless, it was estimated at £3000-5000 by Girton who said later: “It’s a tough market for longcases. We have to be conservative with estimates and leave it to the market.”

In this case, the clock doubled the lower estimate in selling to an Edinburgh private buyer at £6000.