Lowestoft herring smoking mug – estimate £8000-10,000 at Woolley & Wallis.

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This rare blue and white mug, which comes for sale at Woolley & Wallis on September 13, is inscribed John Cooper 1768 and decorated with a scene of a figure smoking three lines of herring - an important part of the Lowestoft economy in the 18th century.

The handle’s terminal is inscribed RP with the painter’s number 3 to the footrim for artist Richard Phillips, making this one of only two pieces bearing Phillips’ initials or signature (the other is a mug in the Norwich Castle Museum).

The herring smoker mug, from a private collection in East Anglia and formerly in the Casley collection of Lowestoft is the same one illustrated in Christopher Spencer’s Early Lowestoft (1981).

Despite its obvious condition issues, it is expected to bring £8000-10,000 as part of the Salisbury sale of English & European Ceramics & Glass.