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The two most recent Lund’s Bristol pails to surface at auction before this example were both sold by Phillips in London in rapid succession. The first was a pail decorated with Chinese landscape and figural decoration included in the second sale from Bernard Watney’s collection in May 2000 that made £26,000. A month later the auctioneers offered another from a different source which bore similar formalised floral spray decoration to Bearne’s example but featured a central moulded shell to the handle. That made £29,000.

Unlike these two, which were in perfect condition, Bearne’s pail had a broken and restuck handle although it did have the added bonus of a spoon, a feature shared by only one of the other five known examples, now in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

Bearne’s pail, which featured in the
auctioneers’ spring sale in Exeter on March 4 and 5, attracted keen bidding from the room and the telephones and sold over the phone for £18,500 (plus premium) to the Kensington dealer in English porcelain Simon Spero who was acting for a client.