15-10-16-2212NE01A Gujarati tray Bonhams auction.jpg
The Gujarati tray, overlaid in mother-of-pearl and lac on wood, which sold for £800,000 at Bonhams.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

The 17in (43cm) diameter tray, overlaid in mother-of-pearl and lac on wood from the late 16th or early 17th century, was unpublished and, consigned from a UK collection, it was purchased at a small auction house around 30 years ago.

It has highly unusual decoration featuring winged figures alternating with trees set around a central courtly pavilion.

"The general consensus is that, unlike a lot of other pieces of this type, this was made for the Indian market rather than for export," said Bonhams' specialist Oliver White, who added that it was possibly made for a royal patron.

Estimated at £60,000-80,000 for the auction on October 6, it attracted over half a dozen phone bidders before it was knocked down to a private buyer in the room against the phone for £800,000.

The buyer's premium was 25/20/12%.