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Unsurprisingly, samplers proved the most popular buys and the top seller of the 734-lot catalogue was an example dating from 1837, the first year of Queen Victoria’s reign.

The piece had green, pink, cream and brown panels, the central one of a house bearing a sign Ladies Establishment and surrounded by a shepherd and shepherdess with trees, a fence and a windmill.

The bottom panel had the name Miriam Sarah Susannah Chapman, Aged 8 years, May 11 1837. The whole 161/2 by 121/2in (42 x 32cm) piece was surrounded by a broad border of trailing roses with leaf spandrels and in a gilt slip and rosewood veneered frame. In good condition considering its age, and with hopes of £1500, it took £4900.

Following this success an unframed 17th century sampler, 13 by 6in (34 x 15.5cm), decorated with the alphabet, bands of acorns and panels of flowers had small unfinished areas and some minor faults but got away well over estimate at £2900.

Work boxes also sold well, in particular a fine French Palais Royal satinwood example. Featuring ivory fittings and a mother-of-pearl central cartouche, it had a fully fitted interior, contained the bulk of the original fixtures such as silk winders, and an ivory tambour hook. Against an £800-1200 estimate it took £1250.

Another fascinating piece was a miniature sewing companion formed from a Spanish walnut. Just 2in (5.5cm) high, the companion opened to reveal a blue silk lined lid over an engraved silvered tool mount with a full complement of miniature tools like tweezers, a manicure and scissors.

Bonhams, Knowle, December 13
Buyer’s premium: 15 per cent