Although missed at the cataloguing stage, this 13½in (35cm) Vincennes dish established a new house record for Wellers of Guildford when it sold at £70,000.
Consigned from a local deceased estate (a
property described as modest), it has a regal history. Dating from
c.1753, the well-preserved dish was once part of the Louis XV
Service, the first large service produced by Vincennes.
Its creation marked the introduction of the
famous bleu céleste ground as well as many new
shapes designed specifically for the service by the goldsmith
It was delivered to the king in three stages
between December 1753 and December 1755, and comprised a total of
1749 pieces at a cost of 87,272 livres.
Additional deliveries were made in 1756 and
1757, and, although the king disposed of part of the service in May
1757, further supplements were purchased from the Sèvres factory in
1771 and 1773.
Terry Wright, one of Wellers' longest
serving auctioneers, was on the rostrum facing eight telephone
bidders and a heavily annotated commission book when the dish -
initially described as Sèvres and estimated at just £70-90 - was
sold on November 28-29. Bids arrived in £5000 increments.
It was bought by Voltaire Antiquites
Vandermeersch, Paris-based specialists in French porcelain. Camille
Leprince of Vandermeersch said the new acquisition - for which a
drawing by Duplessis exists in the archives at the Manufacture
Nationale de Sèvres - was a particularly rare shape and one not
included in the collection at Versailles.
He said it would form part of an exhibition
of French porcelain the firm are planning for London in June
An 11in (28cm) octagonal dish
or plat d'hors-d'oeuvres,one of eight made for this
service, was sold by Christie's New York in October 2012 for
Vincennes in Paris
A few days after the dish sold at Guildford,
another rare piece of Vincennes went under the hammer at
Beaussant Lefèvre in Paris on December 6. Coincidentally,
Michel Vandermeersch acted as an expert for this Drouot sale.
The eagerly-contested piece was a rare
unpublished soft-paste sucrier c.1749-51 from a single-owner
collection formed in the early 20th century.
What distinguished this 6½in (16.5cm)
diameter piece was the highly detailed chinoiserie vignettes
painted to the body and cover. Although the artist is unknown, the
designs are based on engravings by John Ingram, Gabriel Huquier and
Pierre Alexandre Aveline after paintings and drawings by François
Those on the cover came from La Pâtée du
Petit Chien and Air from a series of the
elements. The body featuredFireandSmellfrom a series of the
The auctioneers had given the sucrier an
estimate of €40,000-60,000 but on the day competition from a mix of
French and non French collectors acting through different agents
took the final price to €490,000 (£429,825) plus 20% buyer's
Camille Leprince told ATG that M.
Vandermeersch ranked it among best pieces of Vincennes he had seen
in his 40 years. "Considering there is no royal provenance the
price is amazing", he added.
The buyer's premium at both Wellers
and Beaussant Lefèvre was 20%.