The 543 pieces of Picasso's Madoura Collection of pottery were sold for a total 8 million pounds ($12.4 million) - four times more than estimated - in a two-day auction at Christie's of London.

The works up for sale were in universally perfect condition, many of them intact since the day they were made, and all found takers.

The ceramics came from the same town where Picasso learned the technique and designed this collection between 1947 and 1971 - the southeastern French town of Vallauris, a pilgrimage site for artisans and ceramists of that period.

The collection auctioned off included a wide variety of plates, bowls, vases and jugs, whose principal motifs were the owl and the goat, two of the Spanish artist's favorite pets during his stay in Vallauris.

The big star of the sale was the "grande vase aux danseurs," dated 1950 and knocked down for 735,650 pounds ($1.1 million), 10 times more than expected and setting a world record for a Picasso ceramic.

Up to now the Madoura Collection belonged to Alain Ramie, a friend of the artist and son of the owners of the Madoura Pottery, Georges and Suzanne Ramie, who introduced Picasso to this art form.

"Picasso was a master of all media with which he worked, and ceramics was no exception," Alan Ramie said.

While designing these works at the Vallauris workshop, Picasso was visited by such celebrities as Brigitte Bardot, Gary Cooper, Jean Cocteau and Richard Attenborough. EFE