Thank you very much for that information, Hazel, and to everyone who has made nice comments about this piece
In fact, Nigel has spoken to me about it, and he is of the opinion (and I do value his opinion most highly!) that it is a biscuit jar which has lost its lid
That seems to me a very reasonable assumption, and explains the strange oval shape!
I like it anyway, and shall have fun trying to find out more about it. Thanks very much, all :kissy: