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The highlight of the sale was a rare Chinese Imperial porcelain famille noir brushwater with Kangxi six character mark and of the period which exceeded a low estimate of £300-500 to fetch £28,000 (plus 23% buyer’s premium).

The 5½in (14cm) plate came from the collection of Sir Anthony Hastings George KCMG (1886-1944) and sold to an international bidder in the room. Roseberys commented that “scholar’s objects are always highly sought after", adding that “this brushwasher, with its rare shape depicting a carp beneath a moon in crashing waves, led us to believe this was a gift to an official in Kangxi’s reign”.

Spending many years in diplomatic service in China, Sir George was appointed Consul-General in 1929 and awarded Knight Commander of the Order in 1943.

Also of note from his collection was a large Chinese porcelain bitong Kangxi, depicting an emperor at court with his attendants that fetched £6200 against an £800-1200 estimate.

Separately consigned and also with an interesting provenance, a large Chinese porcelain vase 13in (33cm), depicting Qin Kuai, a chancellor or high official for the Song dynasty, drew interest. With Qianlong seal mark, it was acquired in the 1950s by Francesco Turnaturi, the Italian trade minister and close friend of the then PM, it was estimated at £500-1000, finally settling at £3800.

Sculpture Sale

Highlights of Rosebery’s inaugural dedicated Modern & Contemporary sculpture sale included this embossed aluminium work by artist and abstract sculptor Heinz Mack (b.1931), founder of the Group Zero movement.

His Untitled Light Relief, 1959, once the property of artist Michael Michaeledes, soared above an £8000-12,000 estimate to sell to a European buyer at £20,000.

Works by British artists Adrian Sorrell (1932-2001) and Brian Hagger (1935-2006) both sold above predictions, with Sorrell’s bronze Owl fetching £1900 (estimate £500-700) and Ron’s Plaice, Brighton, an oil on canvas from 1978, realising £1350 (estimate £300-400).

Also of interest at the auction on June 28-29 was a watercolour, Exterior of a Mosque, 1955, by Iranian Yervand Nahapetian (1916-2006) that together with two other paintings fetched £2100 after a £500-700 estimate.

Rosebery’s next Fine Art sale is on September 6-7