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Duke of Northumberland Buys Back Second Ancestral Plate at Bonhams
A Meissen plate painted with a seated wolf surrounded by flowers sold for £36,000 against a pre-sale estimate of £15,000-20,000. Photo: Bonhams.

LONDON.- Last week Bonhams held the sale of ‘The Hoffmeister Collection of Meissen Porcelain Part II’, which made a magnificent £1,076,460, selling 78% by lot and 76% by value.

The collection is on track to make over £3million in total, and the sale of Part III will take place on Wednesday 24th November, in the 300th anniversary year of the founding of the Meissen porcelain factory.

A highlight of the sale occurred when the Duke of Northumberland was on the telephone and fought off several bidders in the room to acquire a piece of ancestral porcelain - a Meissen plate painted with a seated wolf surrounded by flowers, which finally sold for £36,000 against a pre-sale estimate of £15,000-20,000. This follows on from his acquisition of another plate from the service in Part I of the sale last November. Both of the rare Meissen plates are from the ‘Hanbury Williams/Duke of Northumberland’ service dated 1748-1750 which had been a gift from Augustus III, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony to Sir Charles Hanbury Williams in 1748, and probably passed to the then Earl of Northumberland in 1756. Today, all but a few pieces from the service remain on display at Alnwick Castle, and now these two items will be reunited with them.

The top lot was a rare Meissen ‘Augustus Rex’ bottle vase circa 1730 which sold for £132,000 (£80,000-100,000) to a private buyer. Other good prices were achieved for Lot 15, a rare Meissen circular dish from the Japanese Palace (£67,200); Lot 46, another Meissen circular dish which had been in the collection of Baron Erich von Goldschmidt-Rothschild (£66,000); and Lot 10, a circular stand with chinoiserie decoration (£48,000).

“We’re thrilled with the result of the sale of Part II this morning, which demonstrates the depth and quality of this collection. Three hundred years on from the founding of the Meissen factory, interest in the remarkably beautiful porcelain is still as strong as ever and today we saw a busy saleroom, with buyers participating from all over the world on the telephone. We’re now looking forward to the sale of the final part of the collection in November.”

Many of the pieces in the collection boast a prestigious provenance – diplomatic gifts between European princes that passed between some of the most colourful characters of the age. As a result the sale saw enthusiastic bidding from private collectors, museums and dealers from around the world.

The Hoffmeister Collection shows the quality and variety of the oldest porcelain manufacturer in Europe – it provides a survey of the first 50 years of the manufactory’s existence, when Meissen dominated the taste for porcelain across Europe. This world famous collection was assembled over 40 years by two German brothers with a passion for this rare 18th century porcelain, and includes the largest and most important group of 18th century Meissen armorial porcelain anywhere in the world. For the past ten years the collection has been on show at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg. The sale of Part II of the collection today included examples of all the early styles of decoration, including copies of Asian prototypes, chinoiserie decoration, European landscape and botanical subjects and armorial porcelain.

Bonhams | Duke of Northumberland | The Hoffmeister Collection |

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