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Maiolica storage jar made in the Sicilian pottery-making town of Caltagirone, £8000 at Sworders.

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Made in the Sicilian pottery-making town of Caltagirone (which means ‘castle of jars’), it is dated 1729 and includes the armorial of Antonio Manoel de Vilhena (1663-1736), the 66th Grand Master of Malta.

The coat of arms, consisting of a lion and a winged arm holding a sword quartered by the white and red cross of the Order of St John, is one still seen on many buildings on the island.

In remarkably good condition, save the typical imperfections associated with tin-glazed earthenwares, it outpaced its £3000-5000 estimate to sell at £8000 at the auction on March 10-11.