Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Opening the hinged cover (the original key had survived) revealed apertures for cutlery (now missing) plus three other vessels: a pair of caddies for green and black tea and a central box for mixing. All are engraved with monograms and armorials, including the Lyall cockerel crest of John Lyall who emigrated to Barbados c.1800.

However, the unmarked suite was stylistically a generation or more earlier, perhaps c.1755.

Privately consigned, it measured 10in (25cm) across and came with an estimate of £1500-2000 at the sale on August 1-3.

It sold to London specialist Koopman Rare Art at £17,000.

The buyer's premium was 20%.