YOU wait forever then two come along at once. The sentiment so often expressed about London buses could equally well apply to rare early 18th century Continental porcelain teapots.
These cylindrical-shaped pots with reptilian spouts and
handles owe their form to Chinese blanc de chine originals but
their distinctive hausmaler schwarzlot painting featuring Oriental
figures and animals amongst curling tendrils has no Far Eastern
parallel and puts them into a small group of just three known
One of these, shown Below right, turned up at Sotheby's main
summer sale of English and Continental ceramics on June 2 as part
of a small but select 11-lot single-owner consignment.
The other two were once in the celebrated collection of Otto and
Magdelena Blohm and were sold by Sotheby's in 1961. One of the
Blohm duo, the tallest of the trio with a silver cover, resurfaced
again at a Christie's auction four years later. The other, above
right, remained in the Blohm family having been purchased in the
1961 sale by their daughter Beatrice Blohm von Rumohr and will be
offered for sale again next Monday, June 27, at Christie's King
Street as part of a 103 lot consignment of Blohm pieces that
belonged either to Beatrice or her brother Ernesto Blohm.
Although the teapots are very similar, there are slight
differences. Christie's version is just a shade shorter at 51/4in
(13.3cm). Sotheby's reptiles have more stripes and dots to their
bodies and the Oriental figures are not disposed in the same way
around the body of the pots. But the biggest distinction has come
with the cataloguing. Sotheby's followed the time-honoured
attribution of this group ascribing theirs to the Viennese Du
Pacquier factory and dated it to c.1725. Christie's, on the other
hand, have bucked tradition and have opted for an attribution to
"almost certainly Böttger" and dated theirs to c.1720 - that
is porcelain made at Meissen during the lifetime of the arcanist
Meissen or Du Pacquier? Where both houses share more common ground
is that the schwarzlot painting was executed in the outside
decorating workshop of Ignaz Preissler of Breslau and this
wonderfully fanciful riot of baroque detailing is surely the
teapots' chief glory.
Sotheby's pot, which has chips to the cover rim and to the seated
lion knop and a restored lizard's head, carried an estimate of
£80,000-120,000. Christie's pot, which has a broken and restuck
handle, a cover rim chip and small areas of restoration is guided
at just £18,000-25,000.
Early this month Sotheby's model comfortably outstripped its
estimate after competition from the phones and the room selling for
£210,000, a very strong price that is up there with the highest
sums paid at auction for Du Pacquier. The buyer was Dr Johan
Kraeftner, director of the Leichtenstein Museum who famously paid
£17m for the Badminton Cabinet last December. With plenty of
competition for Sotheby's example and several disappointed
underbidders the big question now is, what will Christie's version
Antiques Trade Gazette is the weekly bible of the fine art and antiques industry. Read articles like this every week in the Antiques Trade Gazette or ATG app. Click here to subscribe today.
Back to top