Ornithological dinner service by Copeland from the Lowther Castle estate, £6800 at Laidlaw.

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Many items from the dispersal, conducted for Lancelot, 6th Earl Lonsdale (1867-1953), found their way across the globe but some stayed closer to home.

Included in the sale at Laidlaw (20% buyer’s premium) in Carlisle on December 2 was an early 20th century hand painted ornithological dinner service by Copeland.

Each piece is individually decorated with a bird annotated with its Latin and common names and place of origin and marked to the base for the London retailer Daniel of Wigmore Street. The addition of the Lonsdale cipher beneath a coronet marks it as one of the many extravagant purchases of Hugh Cecil Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale (1857-1944).

Known as the Yellow Earl for his penchant for the colour (as first president of the Automobile Association he suggested their famous livery), it was his free spending that wrecked the vast Lonsdale estate. His brother was forced to conduct the fire sale shortly after the Second World War.

The Copeland service, showing the Staffordshire factory at the top of its game, c.1910, included some damaged pieces but, estimated at £1000-2000, took £6800.