This Worcester mug c.1754-55 proved the highlight of the Raymond Dennis collection of early English porcelain sold by Woolley & Wallis of Salisbury.
Mr Dennis started collecting porcelain as a young man in the
1950s and continued until his death in 2010. The Worcester factory
was his key interest.
Globular form mugs, a shape derived from earlier stoneware
examples, are seldom found in porcelain. Only a handful of other
Worcester examples are known in different patterns from this - one
of slightly smaller size in the High Island pattern
is in the collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, while the
most recent example to come onto the market was that in the Zig
Zag Fence pattern sold at Bonhams in May 2006 for £15,500
as part of the R. David Butti collection.
Mr Dennis had purchased this mug from dealers Tilley & Co on
April 27, 1971. The death of English porcelain specialist Frank
Tilley in February of that year is recorded in a note alongside the
original invoice for £240. At the time it was sold as Lund's
Bristol, the experimental factory who also produced vessels of this
Measuring 4½in (11.5cm) high, it is painted with
the Cormorant pattern, a lone fisherman casting
his line from his boat behind the seabird perched on a large rock,
and carries a scratch cross mark to the base. Apart from the
extensive 'fritting' to the surface it was in good condition.
Six phone lines were booked to bid for the mug which was
estimated at £10,000-15,000 on February 25. Two of them battled it
up to £32,000 before a dealer bidding for a client secured it with
a maiden bid of £34,000.
The buyer's premium was 22%.
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.