A 16th century caja con cajones – £8500 at Bearnes, Hampton & Littlewood.

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This example of a marriage chest, traditionally given by husbands to brides, was made in the first half of the 16th century, almost certainly in Barcelona where comparable pieces are on display in the city’s Design Museum.

The 4ft 6in (1.34m) wide polychrome painted and parcelgilt walnut chest featured a central panel of recessed Gothic tracery to the front with the interior richly decorated with armorials within borders of Moorish geometric strapwork. The five drawers had carved and gilded gothic tracery fronts.

Entered by a retired dealer (“Do dealers ever retire?” asked auctioneer Nic Saintey), the £1000-2000 estimate tempted considerable Spanish interest but it sold to a UK collector at £8500.

Bowled over


Qianlong ‘Immortals’ bowls – £17,000 at Bearnes, Hampton & Littlewood.

Top-seller of the April 26-28 auction was a Chinese lot: a pair of 6in (15cm) diameter blue and white bowls bearing six-character Qianlong seal marks.

Each was painted to the exteriors with the eight Daoist Immortals and to the interiors with the three star gods Shoulao, Fuxing and Luxing.

One had a short hair crack to the rim and tiny flat chip to the foot-rim and the other had a glued section to the rim but, against a £500- 1000 guide, they sold at £17,000 to mainland China via an agent.


Inro and netsuke job lot – £5400 at Bearnes, Hampton & Littlewood.

More of a surprise was the reception given to a mixed lot of objects of vertu including a Japanese lacquered single-section inro with a double-faced ojime and 3in (8cm) long lacquered temple lion netsuke. Against a £100-150 estimate, the lot sold to a Danish buyer via at £5400.


Pair of 1812 entree dishes and warming dish – £11,500 at Bearnes, Hampton & Littlewood.

Best of British at Exeter was a set of 12½in (32cm) wide silver entree dishes and covers by William Stroud, London, 1812 with coot finials and bearing the Coote family crest.

Offered with a near-matching warming dish and cover by JW Story & W Elliot, London, 1812, and estimated at £4000-5000, they sold to a member of the Coote family at £11,500.