An evening sale of contemporary ceramics, held by Phillips (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) on September 25 yielded a healthy set of overall statistics and some strong individual results. Just over three-quarters of the 200-odd lots changed hands (82 per cent in value terms) chalking up a net total of just under £390,000.

Demand was particularly strong for work by Bernard Leach with a 16 1/2in (42cm) diameter cockerel design slipware dish, made in Japan in 1954 at the Funaki kilns, achieving a new auction high of £23,000, but there was also an especially high price for the piece by James Tower pictured here. This striking 211/4in (53cm) high tinglazed earthenware vase of 1984 from his Glacier series was battled out by two determined private collectors, one British and the other American, to a quadruple-estimate £23,000, with the hammer falling to the American.