The ‘French’ table was this triple-top rosewood games table, above, that was entered into Morphets’ (17.5% buyer’s premium) June 7 sale.
Featuring ivory inlay and ebony stringing throughout, the first solid top was baize covered and had corner shell counter wells, the second was inlaid with a games board, and the third had three lidded compartments.
Pepper-Darling had tempered expectations with an estimate of £500-700. But as soon as the table appeared online, catalogued as French c.1860, it became evident that granny might have been right.
Two Portuguese prospective buyers were straight on the phone to ask about the table and were back in touch on sale day.
Minor condition problems including small cracks to the inlay and a little water damage were no deterrent whatsoever and the table went to one of the rivals at £19,000.
Neither would give a hint as to why they valued the table so highly but style, construction and the interest it triggered in Portugal suggested an Indo-Portuguese origin, a favourite of wealthy Lisbon buyers.