TO the non-specialist, a cracked and chipped blue and white 18th century delft plate might have seemed reasonably estimated at £60-100 in the January 5 sale held by Brightwells (15% buyer’s premium).
But those with an interest in English ceramics or political
history, knew differently. The initials W.L. stand for Wilkes and
Liberty and, together with the number 45, refer to the 1763
publication of the 45th issue of John Wilkes' periodical The North
Briton. In this edition, Wilkes attacked the King's speech at the
Opening of Parliament in praise of the controversial Peace of
Paris. George III took exception and sued him for seditious libel.
Wilkes was arrested and jailed but freed the following year in a
landmark court ruling that judged Wilkes - as MP for Middlesex
- protected by privilege from arrest on a charge of
Its condition notwithstanding, the 8 1/2in (22cm) plate attracted
interest from dealers and collectors and sold to a British
collector in the room at £2500.
Other ceramics to attract trade and private interest at the
327-lot sale included a colourful 10in (25cm) Wemyss pedestal vase
celebrating Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee which contributed a
further £1550 to the overall sale total of £38,500.
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