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The specialist horology section included three times a year in their antique sales, was 10 or 15 lots shy of their usual quota, but the quality of individual entries was higher and the overall section fetched their largest total yet at £45,000. A mixture of private and trade buyers were found for over 80 per cent of the clocks, with the average price at £800 per lot.

Although the clock section saw the most consistent bidding, an unusual and beautifully carved Indian ivory chess set stole the limelight. The two opposing armies of Indian soldiers were modelled in traditional and Western dress.

Unlike most standard Indian ivory chess sets which were originally made for export, this complete set was probably intended for a wealthy colonial resident in India, reckoned Bristol Auctions Rooms specialist Leighton Gillibrand.

It comprised camels and bison with rhinos and buffalo representing rooks, and the 4in (10cm) high kings and queens modelled as processional elephants mounted with howdahs. The Indian forces stood on red stained bases and the British colonial conscripts on white.

The £500-700 estimate reflected the mixed condition of this privately-consigned set (some pieces were stained from being wrapped in coloured tissue paper and others were slightly chipped) but in short it was undercooked.

Entered together with a second Indian ivory chess set of more traditional form, the lot was contested in the room and on the book to £4000, after which an English collector and a Dutch specialist dealer went head to head – the former finally winning with a bid of £13,500.

This may yet be a good buy considering that a comparative 19th century Indian carved ivory figural chess set from Rajasthan from a private collection is to be offered at Christie’s South Kensington rooms on May 27 with pre-sale hopes of £15,000-20,000.

Private buyers also secured the top two longcases: a Berkshire figured mahogany longcase, c.1770, signed Wilmhurst, Reading, and a Bristol inlaid figured mahogany eight-day longcase with moonphase, c.1825, signed Farrington, Bristol.

The original condition of the 8ft 3 1/2in (2.53m) tall Berkshire longcase was the major draw and it sold to a local buyer at £3700.

The Bristol clock was a modest example of its kind but, like the Berkshire longcase, was in “sleepy, country house condition” and bore several of the region’s trademark features, including a moonphase dial and a wavy-edge door. It was secured by a local private who outpriced the trade at £3700.

Also of note was a Regency figured mahogany drop-dial wall clock with an eight-day, single fusee movement, a good-quality, heavy brass bezel and, unusually, a painted wooden dial.

It realised £2500 against conservative expectations of £400-600. “Drop-dial wall clocks are selling exceptionally well at the moment,” said Leighton Gillibrand.

There is rarely a shortage of buyers for good quality, bowfront stick barometers by London makers and a c. 1820 mahogany example with ebony inlay was a must-have for one London specialist dealer who took it at £3800.

Elsewhere, one of the most contested entries was an English embroidered and quilted panel, c.1725, measuring 3ft 31/3in x 5ft 11in (1m x 1.8m) consigned from a local collection.

Originally part of an under petticoat for a skirt, the fragment was remarkable for its excellent condition and bright strong colours.

Embroidered with a pink, yellow, green and brown floral design, the last 6in (15cm) of plain fabric also showed the original transfer pattern.

From an academic point of view, this made it a fascinating study piece and a local museum secured it at £1650 against an estimate of £100-200.

Although there were few outstanding furniture entries, a large local clearance furnished the 131-lot section with many of its top lots.

A William IV mahogany library bookcase cabinet headlined proceedings selling to a private buyer at £2700, while a different local private secured a 19th century Empire-style settee from the same source at £2100 and a Regency line-inlaid and small mahogany waterfall bookcase – in good original condition and not an early 20th century copy – fetched £1350.