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Four students on the graduate diploma programme worked on the figures. Both had been broken into two sections, with detached sections, numerous body and glaze sherds, and areas of loss and other damage.

"It has been a challenging project. The difficulty in supporting such heavy objects during the bonding process called on excellent problem-solving skills," says programme leader Lorna Calcutt.

Bonhams European ceramics specialist Nette Megens said "the students had done a magnificent job".

They sold at the auction on December 2 for £4200 (£5250 including premium).