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At 6ft 11 3/4in (2.08m) high it must have been quite a feature of the flat and, with its silvered dial inscribed Grayhurst Harvey Denton & Co., Strand, London, it was a star of the sale. Needing some work, it sold to a local dealer at £5000.

There was also more diminutive horology from the same consignment – two French pocket watches which answered the strong current demand for French – particularly pre-Revolutionary – timepieces. Both sold at £3000.

The 2 1/4in (6cm) Louis XIV example, with a gilt circular dial, a single fusee verge movement and inscribed Hanet A Paris was a trade buy, while a private bidder took the more sumptuous c.1748 watch by Romilly à Paris in a gold and diamond-set engine-turned case.

The biggest money at Guildford came among the furniture – and, as is increasingly the case at provincial auctions, it was early oak. The six Charles II Derbyshire oak dining chairs on bobbin-turned legs, had some Victorian replacement stretchers and the dark tones may have been the result of ebonising rather than polish, but the chairs took a trade bid of £6000.

The rustic appeal and ready-to-go condition of a George II elm farmhouse table attracted a private bid of £2200, while the continuing demand for Art Nouveau took a Liberty-style oak sideboard with pierced sides and inlaid floral decoration to £2000.