18th century cong – £60,000 at Woolley & Wallis.

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Relatively tall at 16in (40cm), it was decorated with figures and mythical animals in a river landscape. The neck and foot were decorated with cicada lappets and ruyi-head borders. Pitched at £10,000-60,000, it went to a European buyer at £60,000 against a Chinese underbidder.

A nice example of the belief that anything could be improved by adding ormolu was a pair of early 19th century Qing baluster vases decorated with flowers and butterflies. Standing 16in (40cm) tall, they had French ormolu added to the rims and covering the lion’s pelts bases and lion’s paw feet.

The pair tripled estimate at the Woolley & Wallis (25% buyer’s premium) sale, selling to a Chinese collector at £7500.