Service des Arts Industriels plate – £30,000 at Christie’s.

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The 10in (25cm) wide ten-sided plate is part of the so-called Service Arabesque, the last service commissioned by Louis XVI and originally intended for Marie Antoinette. Its decagonal shape and classical decoration of confronting sphinxes, berried laurel and a central altar medallion conceived by the architect and engineer Louis le Masson, was the height of fashionable taste, based on decoration seen at the newly excavated sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

The Arabesque service's production spanned five years from 1783 to 1787, but it was never completed and after the Revolution ended up being delivered in 1795 to the Prussian Ambassador,
Karl-August Freiherer von Hardenberg, as an acknowledgment of his key role in the settlement of the Franco-Prussian treaty of that year. Although other plates from the service exist, this is the only known decagonal example, as all the others are octagonal, like the two plates sold by Sotheby's in 1996 for £8000 and £9500 respectively.

Christie's had put a £10,000-15,000 estimate on their plate, which was the only Sèvres interloper in an otherwise Meissen-dominated collection of porcelain assembled by Otto Höffer, but a determined American collector secured it against the British trade for £42,000.

The 9 1/4in (24cm) diameter gilt bordered blue ground plate pictured right comes from the Service des Arts Industriels.

An elaborate production conceived by Sèvres director Alexandre Brongniart to showcase the factory's painting skills, its subjects were scenes from contemporary life executed from drawings by the talented artist Jean Charles Develly. A total of 124 plates were produced between 1820 and 1835 and purchased by King Louis Philippe as a gift for Prince von Metternich.

This plate, on which Develly has featured charcoal burners building fires, featured in a consignment of 24 plates sold by Christie's in 1993 for what were then ground-breaking sums. On that occasion it fetched £11,000. Offered 11 years on with a £15,000-20,000 estimate, it easily outstripped those margins, selling to an American collector for £30,000.