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The first, an impressive largescale 11½ x 15in (29 x 38cm) ink and watercolour cartoon, by famed 18th century caricaturist Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827), sold for more than three times its attractive guide at £2800.

A satire on the courtship rituals of officers and men, Grog on Board shows ‘Sweet Poll of Plymouth’ being entertained below deck.

It was published by Rowlandson in 1789 along with its pendant, Tea on Shore – of which a 1789 watercolour version sold for £16,000 at Christie’s London during the height of Rowlandson’s market in 1998.

Watch the birdie

The other highlight of the April 25 sale was a 17 x 19in (43 x 48cm) oil on panel portrait of a lady with a bird on her shoulder by Russian painter Olga Oreshnikov (20th- 21st century).

The artist’s dreamlike canvases, often depicting religious stories and folklore, can make more than £1000 on the secondary market.

Given an attractive estimate of £50-100, Ethereal Visitor was duly knocked down at £1600 to a private buyer.