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The vase was damaged. A small piece was missing to the neck, cracks were visible to the other side while a firing crack ran through the middle of the underglaze blue and white Qianlong seal mark to its base.

However, copper-red is notoriously difficult to control during firing and both the strong colour and the painting, that imitates 15th century Ming dynasty porcelain, were much admired.

A former girlfriend of the private vendor had bought the moonflask 40 years ago for £18 at a Berkshire auction.

Here, it fetched £110,000 (plus 17.5 per cent premium) selling to leading London dealer Mayfair-based Eskenazi.