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Meissen ewer representing 'Air' from a set of 'The Elements' – €13,000 (£11,610) at Wendl.

Applied figures of cherubs, one playing the bagpipes, and the goddess Juno with a peacock at her feet are complemented by depictions of birds and butterflies, all positioned above a relief of clouds.

This is Luft (Air), one of a set of Elements ewers originally designed by Meissen’s most talented modeller, Johann Joachim Kaendler, in 1741.

The first ensemble of this type, which included the four elements and a fifth piece with a relief portrait of the French king Louis XV, was intended as a present from Augustus the Strong to the French monarch. Whether he actually received them has not been determined.

The original versions were sparingly painted, some even left white. Not so in the period 1850-1918, when the brightly decorated 2ft 2in (66cm) high vase in the Wendl auction was created.

It could not fail to catch the eye of eight phone bidders who took the price to €13,000 (£11,610), more than three times the catalogue estimate.

The sale took place on June 25-27.