Important Chelsea porcelain set for World Record sale



2015-06-26 11:04:17

Important Chelsea porcelain set for World Record sale

The forthcoming Bonhams sale of British Pottery & Porcelain in April will feature one of the most significant pieces of 18th century English porcelain ever discovered.

The incredibly rare porcelain head was manufactured by the renowned Chelsea porcelain factory, circa 1748 – 1750. The factory was one of the first English manufacturers to produce porcelain, and its products were produced for the highest echelons of 18th century English society.

Fergus Gambon, Department Director of British Ceramics, spoke of its discovery:

“My heart stopped. I knew that the only known example of the model was in The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, regarded as a jewel in the crown of the ceramics collection there. No other example was recorded. Yet here was another…. and somehow even better. I was immediately struck by its radiance and beauty.

In contrast to the coloured example at Oxford, the Bonhams head has been left in the white as the potter intended. The unknown child’s smiling face and thick, curly hair are beautifully modelled, beneath a glaze as smooth as silk. The result is a piece of sculpture of great delicacy and pathos.”

It is believed that the model for the sculpture was Sophie Roubiliac, daughter of the sculptor Louis Francois Roubiliac and goddaughter of the factory’s owner Nicholas Sprimont.

According to experts, the rarity, importance and quality of the piece means the piece could set a new World record for British porcelain when it hits the auction block. The current record is held by another piece from the Chelsea factory sold in 2003 for£223,650.

Bidders will have a chance to acquire the remarkable piece at the sale, scheduled to take place in London on Wednesday April 18.

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