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This ensemble offered on June 16 encompassed furniture, old masters, silver and Asian works of art that had been assembled by Dr Paul and Ursula Müller-Frei over several decades.

The silverware was notable for including not only Continental pieces but also a group of early English items ranging in date from the Tudor through to the Georgian era.

The earliest English piece was an 8½in (22cm) high silver-gilt Elizabeth I cup with hallmarks for London, before 1576, engraved with strapwork-type decoration with a round foot and a baluster stem and weighing in at 480gm.

It is rare for Elizabethan silver to surface at auction even in its native country. This cup last appeared at auction at Christie’s in 1988 when it was offered by All Saint’s Church, South Cave, Brough, Humberside, and sold for £32,000. This time around it realised SFr34,000 (£28,570).

Among the Carolean silver in the collection was a small 4½in (12cm) high (300gm) silver hot chocolate cup, its finialled cover doubling up as a coaster when in use. Marked for Ralph Leake, c.1680, and engraved with flowers, birds and foliate motifs, it realised SFr52,000 (£43,695), around double the estimate.

A 6in (15cm) high cylindrical tankard weighing 690gm was marked for London 1683, by maker John Sutton, one of the best-known silversmiths of the 17th century. This was finely engraved with chinoisierie motifs typical of this period: figures in Oriental dress, long-tailed birds and spidery plants and sold for SFr32,000 (£26,890).

Boxing clever

Also featuring chinoiserie-engraved decoration and made around the same time was a pair of small covered boxes measuring just 2¾in (7cm) in diameter and weighing 315gm.

They had marks for Benjamin Traherne, 1683, and had a provenance to the collection of Sir William Carrington.

Like the Elizabethan silver-gilt cup, their last appearance at auction was at Christie’s (in this case its New York saleroom in 1987). They realised SFr6500 (£5460).

Paul de Lamerie, one of the best-known Huguenot goldsmiths working in England in the early Georgian era, was represented in the Müller- Frei silver by a 415gm spherical wooden-handled teapot date marked for 1714.

It realised SFr26,000 (£21,850).