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That was the talk after the March 13 sale at Chudleigh Town Hall held by Michael J Bowman (10 per cent buyer’s premium) where it dominated the day bringing £20,500 from a dealer making his first visit to the Devon sales.

Measuring 3ft (91cm) wide, the table featured six marquetry birds to the top within ebony quatrefoils arranged within a broad border of diapers, a frieze inlaid with card suits and finely detailed lions within quatrefoils to the window-pierced end stands. All this plus private ownership since the ‘40s when it was bought at a country house sale made it something special. But unexplained screw holes to the top raised some worries that the table might be a marriage.

Mr Bowman settled on a low estimate (£1200-1800) and high profile – a colour picture on the front of the catalogue and an illustration in an Antiques Trade Gazette advertisement (March 6, No 1378) which, coincidentally, on the front page, featured the rediscovered Burges side cabinet, an elaborate and painted piece, which took £195,000 at Vost’s of Newmarket. Mr Bowman said later: “Painted pieces by Burges do sell for much more than unpainted pieces but if the table does indeed turn out to be by Burges I can’t be too complacent about the price even at £20,500.”