Estimated at just £100-200 at Lawrences of Crewkerne on January 17, this silver gilt and rock crystal vessel sold for £220,000.

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The Somerset auctioneers had believed it to be a French creation from the late 19th century - a reference no doubt to the elaborate silver gilt and enamel mounts and the fitted case that carries the name of the Paris jewellers Morel à Sèvres.

However the key to the six-figure sum appears to lie in the rock crystal body cut with foliage and stylized beasts that bears comparison in form and decoration to ewers made c.1000-50 for the treasury of the Fatimid Caliphs of Egypt.

A similar, more complete, ewer acquired by Abbott Suger for the treasury of the Cathedral of Saint Denis survives in the Louvre and might well have provided Morel with the inspiration for the form of the handle and mounts.