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All 10 chairs came from Crowcombe Court, an early Georgian mansion near Taunton.

Now a hotel, it was the country seat of the Carew family from new until the 1960s and over the centuries the chairs had undergone considerable restoration and in some cases the carving was later.

As a result, the five which found buyers among the first nine sold as expected in three figures or low four figures. The 10th, however, had a contemporaneous finely and intricately carved panel to the back and, apart from a replaced top rail, was generally original.

Pitched at £300-500, it sold to a UK dealer at £11,000.

Parthenon panels

Another eye-catcher at the July 5 sale were two plaster reliefs from the end panels of the frieze of the Parthenon.

Such Classical souvenirs of the Grand Tour do well enough at auction today but these two 3ft 4in (1.0m) high examples had an extra appeal. By repute, they were cast for Lord Elgin when his team were unable to remove them before shipping the rest of his controversial purchase to London.

A provenance to architectural expert and museums trustee Niall Hobhouse and to Hadspen House, Somerset, backed up this belief and, against a £700-1000 estimate, the panels sold to a UK collector at £3400.