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In addition, they have upped the quality of their fortnightly general outings by replacing modern, low-value entries with the type of lower-value Georgian and Victorian furniture which would previously have been sold in their fine sales.

“We are trying to focus more on the interior decorators’ market in our fine sales by including decorative objects as well as unusual or good-quality works,” explained Hamptons specialist Mark Stonard.

The policy appears to be paying dividends and there was healthy competition for the top lots offered on March 24, including a pair of early George III carved gesso wall mirrors.

Each surmounted by a scrolling pediment and central leaf carved crest, the 3ft 9in x 2ft 1/2in (1.2m x 62cm) mirrors were of a good colour and in good condition.

In addition to this, Mr Stonard thought that the rectangular plates may have been the original ones.

Certainly, the mirrors combined quality and decorative value and there was spirited competition from the trade for the pair which eventually went to a dealer at £11,000.

In less original condition, but also very commercial, was a pair of George III carved mahogany stools with cabriole legs on hairy paw feet.

They had undergone some alterations and had later aprons, but the quality of the carving, coupled with their practicality and a possible Irish provenance, ensured they realised £7200.

Elsewhere, a punchy £8000 was tendered to secure a heavily restored, 7ft 1in (2.16m) high, 18th century walnut longcase estimated to fetch £2000-3000 and privately consigned from a local source.

“To find walnut crossbanded longcases is quite rare and this was by a London maker,” said Mr Stonard.

The sale also benefited from a local house clearance which resulted in a 79-lot consignment of mixed pieces.

There was nothing outstanding – the consignment was led by an early 19th century mahogany corner cupboard which made £1300 – but dealers keen for market-fresh material ensured that over 80 per cent of the offerings sold.

Also of note was a silver Maltese coffee pot by Gio Andrea Azzopardi, c.1800. Of baluster form, this quirky looking 101/2in (27cm) entry had caprine (goat) decoration legs with leaf terminals. Although it was not particularly good quality, interest from Maltese buyers helped push the winning bid to £2400.