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This was something altogether rarer and more desirable than a £300-500 George IV occasional table.

It was re-catalogued, a zero added to the estimate and Australian and Tasmanian museums were contacted.

After a lengthy tussle between a raft of Australian bidders on the phones and the internet on September 5, it sold for £8300 (plus 22% buyer’s premium).

The table was part of a considerable furniture-making industry which developed in Van Diemen’s Land across the 19th century to exploit the local timber resources (the abundant huon pine), as well as the Australian red cedar imported from New South Wales. Most pieces followed British pattern books. Examples of labelled Tasmanian furniture are rare.

Auction records show a handful of pieces by WJ Lloyd and T Whiteside & Son (both of Hobart), while the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery owns several pieces by Irish émigré William Hamilton (c.1796-1885), who arrived in Hobart as a free settler in 1832.

Little is known about L Pearson, although the auction house could offer two promising leads for research.

It is probable this table was made by a relative of either John Pearson, a cabinetmaker from Liverpool who (according to The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, dated November 16, 1833) arrived in Hobart Town on the ship Lady East, or T Pearson, an Elizabeth Street cabinetmaker who added his name to a petition penned by Hobart inhabitants in 1854.