Maltese bureau cabinet

A mid-18th century Maltese bureau cabinet, £70,000 at Duke’s.

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The items on offer from Anthony du Boulay’s (1929-2022) Dorset home on March 8 in Dorchester took a hammer total of £375,000 (plus 25% buyer’s premium).

The Chinese porcelain expert had a connoisseur’s eye and collected across a number of disciplines. However, elements of his collection had also been inherited.

The bureau cabinet, with the armorial of the Knights of St John inlaid to the slope front, had been purchased by a family member in Malta in c.1926.

Estimated at £5000-10,000, after a bidding battle against five phones it was hammered down at £70,000 to an online buyer.

Many examples of Maltese art and antiques are purchased by residents on the island, keen to repatriate items from their history.

Du Boulay, who died last year, sold a number of pieces from his collection at previous auctions including at Bonhams in 2003 and with Duke’s in 2019.

Ceramics from the du Boulay collection are covered in our feature this week.