The Caughley inkwell and liner that sold for £7400.

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The sale on April 29 saw the fruits of a 40-year collecting odyssey, and the largest dispersal of Caughley wares in the regions for some years.

It boasted a number of rarities, including a documentary cabbage-moulded jug with mask spout inscribed Mr and Mrs Bailey, Good Health. Another Jug and Then. 1790. One of a number of lots in the sale that had formed part of the Caughley Bicentenary Exhibition at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum, it sold to a private collector on the telephone at £4200 (plus 17.5% buyer's premium).

However, the highlight was this very rare and crisply moulded inkwell, pictured right.

Measuring 33/4in (9cm) in diameter, and particularly unusual for its liner with a conical reservoir, it is decorated in a pattern known from contemporary records as the "double Nankeen border". A similar example dated c.1780-1790 resides in the collection at Ironbridge.

This example had a label indicating it was formerly part of the Bernard Watney collection. It took £7400 (estimate £2500-3500), again from a private collector.

A generation ago, the porcelain made between c.1772 and 1799 on the banks of the River Severn near Broseley was a poor relation in the marketplace. Now, thanks to new research, careful scholarship and an enthusiastic regional collecting community, the blue and white printed tablewares in imitation of Oriental wares, for which the Caughley or Salopian factory is best known, are often more sought after than the equivalent output of the Worcester factory.

By Roland Arkell