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All the Owen pieces were consigned by a Leicestershire vendor who had inherited a collection and all sold well above estimate to private buyers.

Among the purchases of a particularly active Staffordshire collector was the top-seller, a 6½in (17cm) tall, c.1912 vase and cover above. With gilt jewelling and incised signature, it had no damage or restoration and, against a £2000-4000 estimate, sold at £10,600.

Other vessels of similar size and condition (and with incised signatures) included a 1919 ewer vase with Persian foliate piercing at a double-estimate £7800 and a twin-handled Persian bottle-form vase dated 1910 at a triple-estimate £7200.

In the 1880s Owen perfected the art of using an oiled knife to pierce unique patterns of tiny holes into the damp clay and his material was a commercial success for the next 20 years.

Top-seller overall at the Etwall, Derbyshire sale was the £230,000 Yongzheng floral dish (ATG No 2312) followed by a 19th century famille rose ginger jar with Qianlong marks and a star crack to the lid which took £75,000 against a £400-600 estimate.

Exeter serving

Owen’s reticulated pieces also found eager buyers in Exeter. The Royal Worcester cup and saucer shown above were offered at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood (22% buyer’s premium) on October 3 and catalogued as attributed to Owen.

Bearing gilder’s marks, a green backstamp and indistinct date code for 1882, the cup and saucer were estimated at £800-1000 but sold at £4800.