One of a set of three Plymouth porcelain mugs from c.1768-70 which sold for £12,000 at Mellors & Kirk.

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Ranging in size from 4in to 6in (10.5-15cm) high, each was marked with the alchemical symbol for tin (a figure '2' with a line though it) and the exotic birds suggest that they were decorated by the painter known as 'Mons Soquoi', possibly French artist Michel Soquet, who specialised in this genre and joined William Cookworthy's short-lived factory in 1769.

Similar Plymouth wares were also painted at the London atelier of the decorator James Giles.

This is the first time they have been on the market for nearly a century. They were part of Alfred Trapnell's collection of English porcelain, much of which was bought by St James's dealer Albert Amor in 1912.

Mr A.S. Hitchins of St Austell, Cornwall purchased them from Amor (the original receipt for £170 was included in the lot) and they have been in the family ever since.

Estimated at a modest £2000-3000 at the sale on December 11-12, they sold for £12,000.