One of a pair of late 19th century alabaster urns that sold at Dreweatts for £54,000.

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They stand an imposing 4ft 1in (1.23m) high and are carved in relief with scenes from Homer's Odyssey - one featuring Circe, the other Euridea.

Both urns had chips consistent with age and the material and had received clumsy restoration to broken handles, but this was reflected in the estimate of £7000-10,000.

Following competition between eight telephone lines manned by members of the UK and Continental trade, they sold to a London dealer at £54,000.

The buyer's premium was 20/12 per cent.