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There was only one of the bird figures that are the holy grail for collectors in this field at the auction in New Bond Street on March 16.

This was a 11¾in (30cm) high version signed and dated 1889 that came with the bonus of a very attractive £6000-8000 estimate, which it duly doubled at £15,000.

But there were some good examples of other Martinware work.

These included a large 13¾in (35cm) high version of one of their fish vases, painted with characteristic piscine grotesques on a buff ground and signed and dated 1889, that realised £7000.

There was also a much less characteristic Martinware subject, a pair of 14½in (37cm) high, buff glazed figures of stoneware lions monogrammed WEM, signed and dated 1896-7.

These got away at the lower end of their £15,000-20,000 estimate, a reflection partly of their restored condition but also perhaps the fact that they are not typical Martinware creations.

The buyer's premium was 20/12%.