A PAIR of rare Chinese chairs from the18th century caused a stir at an auction house by selling at £23,000 - smashing their guide price.

The chairs went under the hammer at Elstob & Elstob’s recent Fine Art, Antiques and Jewellery Sale.

They had a guide price of between £4,000 and £6,000 but there was fierce telephone bidding for the lot at the sale, which eventually went to a UK trader.

Constructed from scarce padouk timber, the elegantly carved chairs are an early example of hardwood furniture made in China to an English design, in this case the renowned London cabinetmaker Giles Grendey.

David Elstob, auctioneer and director of the Bedale-based auction house, said: “There is always a keen interest in antique Chinese furniture, which is currently in very high demand, but the chairs have achieved a truly exceptional result.

“The Chinese have a long and distinguished history of furniture making and are traditionally eminently skilled wood workers.

“During this period, they were exporting high quality pieces to the west, often on commission, but furniture of this type and early date is a rarity.”

In May of this year, a trio of similar chairs reached £36,000 at Dreweatts auction house in Berkshire.