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After some robust results at the 916-lot sale in the Evesham rooms on May 24, he said: “We weren’t surprised as we have come to realise, for the right items, the market is still very strong.”

By ‘right items’ he was referring to top names including Lambeth artists Hannah Barlow (1851-1916) and her younger sister Florence.

Hannah, who specialised in sgraffito animals, led the day with a pair of c.1895 vases decorated with wild boars. An unusual subject and unusually large at 2ft 2in (67cm), the pair sold right on mid-estimate to a UK collector at £7500.

Her single, c.1890 vase, 9¼in (25.5cm) tall, decorated with giraffes, a favourite subject, doubled the lower estimate, going to an American collector at £4200.

Hannah occasionally collaborated on a single piece with Florence, who is better known for flower painting. A rare example at Evesham was a c.1890 salad bowl decorated with four panels of elephants and giraffes and four panels of pâté-sur pâté flamingos. The 9in (23cm) diameter bowl was an above-estimate private buy at £5500.

Also making £5500 was a c.1918 vase by Arthur Eaton, who worked at Dolton’s Burslem factory from 1889-1932, a contemporary and sometimes collaborator with the better-known Charles Noke. The 16½in (42cm) tall vase painted with deer in a Highland scene and gilded thistles and foliage to the rim, was a private buy right on mid estimate.

Burslem-born artist Harry Tittensor (1887-1942) was represented by a c.1920 ‘exhibition quality’ Titanian vase painted with cattle in a landscape. Standing 15¾in (40cm) tall and signed H Tittensor, it sold to a UK collector within estimate at £6200.

Rarity and top figures

But what of Royal Doulton figurines? Here rarity still brings serious money.

The 16½in tall, 1928 jester figure, Jack Point, was in an unrecorded colourway and included small differences from the norm in the modelling including three extra bobbles on his hat.

This warranted an estimate of £4500-5000 and a collector’s winning bid of £4600.