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A pair of Bow parrots c.1760 sold for an unexpected £16,000 at Thomas Watson.

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Made at the east London factory c.1758-62, and modelled with distinctive puce-highlighted rococo scroll and shell ‘tree stump’ pedestal bases, they are particularly unusual as a pair.

The taller of the two South American birds, at just under 7in (17cm) high, is modelled with a fruit in a claw, the other feeding.

They follow designs made at the Meissen factory and first modelled by JJ Kändler in the 1740s.

Other examples are known in both institutional and private collections, with another pictured in Peter Bradshaw’s Bow Porcelain Figures, c.1748-1774. The pair in the Victoria and Albert Museum was purchased by Lady Charlotte Schreiber at Christie’s, for £18 in May 1875.

Auctioneer David Elstob told ATG the Darlington duo (in reasonable condition but with some repairs) had come for sale from a local collection.

Bidding began some distance above the nominal £100-150 estimate, with the final competition provided by phone and the successful online bidder using thesaleroom.com.