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Offered on January 10, it sold for £250,000.

Measuring 11in (27cm) high from the wooden base, it came for sale in Stansted Mountfitchet via a deceased estate.

Attracting much interest in the run-up to the sale at its £60,000-80,000 estimate, 11 telephones lines were booked for lot 303 of the Decorative Art and Design Sale January 10 - the 109th anniversary of the artist's birth. Bidding came down to two telephone bidders, a London dealer the purchaser.

Following the January 1 extension of the Artist's Resale Right to the estates of artists who have been dead for less than 70 years, the buyer will pay an additional £6227.02, which after collection fees of £934.05 will leave £5292.97 to go to the Hepworth estate, the first in what promises to be a bonanza of royalties.

The buyer's premium was 20 per cent.