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30th Mar 2017
Lot 389 Lowestoft porcelain ram sold for 2100

Despite a softer market for English porcelain, there was brisk bidding at Keys Fine Art Auctioneers when the first instalment of one of the largest private collections of Lowestoft porcelain ever to come to market went under the hammer.

104 lots of blue and white porcelain were up for sale at the Norfolk auction house; all but two of the lots sold, with 46% of the lots exceeding their higher pre-sale estimate.

A total of £39,910 (hammer price, buyer’s premium 20% +VAT) was bid for the items, indicating a continued appeal for wares from the 18th century Suffolk factory, according to David Broom, Keys’ ceramics specialist.

“This is a unique collection, one of the biggest ever to come to auction, and it spans the whole 43 year history of the Lowestoft factory,” said Mr Broom.  “Despite a general easing in the English porcelain market, the demand demonstrated during this sale shows that Lowestoft porcelain continues to enjoy a strong following locally and further afield.”

Among the highlights of the sale were:

  • An unusual recumbent ram figure from around 1780, which sold for £2,100.  The factory concentrated mainly on domestic wares, and examples of decorative items are rarities and keenly contested.
  • An extremely rare spoon from around 1770, believed to be the first of its type ever to come up for auction, which sold for £1,500.
  • A Lowestoft feeding cup from 1768, which sold for £1,250.
  • A miniature sucrier or rice bowl, which sold for £850, well above its £200-£300 pre-sale estimate.
  • A powder blue ground coffee cup and saucer from around 1768, which sold for £820, against a pre-sale estimate of £400-£600.
  • A spittoon from around 1780 which sold for £650, against a pre-sale estimate of £300-£400.
  • A rare pounce pot from around 1770, which sold for £620, against a pre-sale estimate of £300-£500.

“As is often the case with Lowestoft porcelain, many of the items had condition issues, but a combination of rarity and realistic estimates ensured a very good result on the day,” said Mr Broom.

The second half of the collection, which consists of polychrome wares from the Lowestoft factory, will go under the hammer on day one of Keys’ three day Fine Sale, which takes place from Tuesday 18th – Thursday 20th July.