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The descendants of the goldfish glinting in the shady water, in a painting going on view at Sotheby’s auctioneers, are still swimming in the same pond today. The pond was dug by Winston Churchill at his beloved home, Chartwell in Kent, and the original fish were a present from Harrods.

His painting of the scene is one of the star items in an auction of personal possessions left by his last surviving child, Lady Mary Soames, who died last June aged 91.

together with furniture, jewelery, photographs, books – many signed by the authors – and silverware including the dishes which his budgie Toby was trained to march up and down the dinner table and serve salt from, is on public display at Sotheby’s in Bond Street from now until the auction next Wednesday, December 17.

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Veins bulge from a wasp-waisted candle holder, while sinuous flow-lines run down the side of a teacup, splitting to merge seamlessly with the faceted saucer beneath. It looks like a colony of mutant lifeforms has scuttled into Harrods’ interiors department, which can only mean one thing: Zaha Hadid has taken on homewares.

At the age of 63, the Iraqi-born architect has won every prize going, graced international power lists and erected buildings across the globe – and now she’s making a bid for your dining table.

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