AN auctioneer’s lot is very often akin to detective work. Just as Simon Rayner was about to leave a recent valuation at a farmhouse he spied an interesting piece in a barn.

The alert valuer spotted an intriguing piece of furniture amid the general detritus. On closer inspection he discovered a George III bacon settle!

This imposing piece of furniture – designed in its heyday to store sides of bacon – will now feature in today’s (Thursday) antiques sale at Greenslade Taylor Hunt’s Octagon Salerooms in East Street, Taunton. It has a pre-sale guide of £800 - £1,200.

Simon said: “I am always keen to look in outbuildings when I go on visits. It's always more fun to find something hidden."

The auctioneers are staging two sales this week. The Biannual Autumn Sporting Sale put together by enthusiast and valuer Stuart Triggol takes place tomorrow (Friday) from 10am.

An excellent range of goods will go under the hammer including a fine selection of prints, watercolours and oils capturing the delights of country sport.

Three paintings by Frances Mabel Hollams, the acclaimed animal painter, will be included – two featuring bridled bay horses – Ione and Queen Elizabeth. Each of these has a pre-sale guide of £500 - £700 and a charming study of a black Labrador named Molly, which is guided at £200 - £300.

A beautiful oil on canvas by Donald Ayres of Exmoor is among the pictorial delights. It has a pre-sale estimate of £200 - £300.