Vincennes candleholder which sold for £70,000 at Kinghams showing the decoration of traders at a coastal encampment.

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A pair of Vincennes porcelain candleholders of distinctive conical form that were discovered in a Warwickshire property during the course of a routine valuation sold for a total of almost £100,000 at auction.

Offered at a sale held by Kinghams (25% buyer’s premium) in Gloucestershire on May 24, the 4¼ in (11cm high) soft paste candleholders were of unusual hyacinth vase form and decorated with continuous scenes reminiscent of those on Meissen porcelain of near contemporary date.


Vincennes candleholder which sold for £70,000 at Kinghams showing the decoration of traders at a coastal encampment.

One showed a Kauffahrtei scene of Moorish and European traders at a coastal encampment with shipping in the distance.

The other depicted a courting couple and an equestrian figure with an attendant in a landscape setting with ships in the background. Both had the incised mark AM to the underside.


Vincennes candleholder which sold for £70,000 at Kinghams showing a view of the incised mark to the underside.

A candlestick of the same shape and size with similar scenic decoration and also marked AM is in the Metropolitan Museum in New York where it is catalogued as Vincennes and dating from c. 1745-50. This is around 11 to six years before the factory relocated to Sèvres in 1756.

The AM mark also features in the CC Dauteman, 1986 Metropolitan Museum of Art publication, Sevres Porcelain; Makers and Marks of the Eighteenth Century.

Separate lots

Kinghams decided to offer the candlesticks separately as consecutive lots. The first, the version painted with the trading scene, had sustained some damage with cracks and a large chip to the rim and was guided at £2000-4000 while the second, in better condition, was estimated at £3000-5000.


The Vincennes candleholder which realised £29,000 at Kinghams.

There are some very keen collectors for this type of rare and early French porcelain and considerable pre-sale interest in both pieces emerged from across the globe along with numerous requests for condition reports. Some online bidders competed but the bulk of the competition came via the phones.

The more damaged of the two, offered first, ended up making the higher amount, probably due to the interesting nature of the decoration. It was finally sold at the Moreton-in- Marsh saleroom for a very substantial £70,000 to a US buyer. The second candleholder was carried off by a UK buyer at £29,000.