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Their July 440-lot sale had one major surprise success in the form of a Clarice Cliff teapot and matching jug. Clarice Cliff is always popular with its hoards of dedicated enthusiasts, but David Brettell was worried the severe damage to both pieces would put buyers off, and gave them a conservative guide price of £100-200.

The teapot and jug, which were both in the rare Tennis pattern, had been stored in a box in the local private vendor’s garage for at least ten years. Mr Brettell has been informed that both pieces were from a morning tea set which would also have included two cups and saucers. “Not too many of the small teapots were made in the Tennis pattern so it would seem that in this case rarity value was more important than condition worries,” said Mr Brettell.

And in this case condition worries were quite serious with the teapot missing a large chunk from the lid and the spout cracked. Nevertheless the pieces were contested both in the room and on five phone lines, and they eventually fell at £2300 to a London-based private collector.

Mr Brettell was surprised at the results made by two linen presses. A “large and flashy” Victorian example in “mint” condition was expected to take a higher price than a small George III example. But where the Victorian piece took £1600 from a private buyer the small size of the Georgian piece, which was in reasonable condition, really appealed and it fell privately for £2200.

Best of the horological pieces was an oak and mahogany longcase with a painted dial by Collier and Cheadle. “Although the longcase had recently been immaculately restored it was a bit too immaculate for my taste” said Mr Brettell, but the trade seemed to like it and took it at £2200.

Brettells, Newport, July 2
Buyer’s premium: 12 per cent