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200 years of history of the teapot to be auctioned at Sotheby's London
a Royal Worcester ‘Aesthetic’ teapot, 1882. Photo: Sotheby's.
LONDON.- On 15 May 2014, Sotheby’s London will present the Hanley Collection of Teapots in its Arts of Europe sale. Assembled by British collector Colin E. Hanley over 25 years, this ensemble of 105 pieces estimated in excess of £293,000 spans 200 years of history of the teapot, from the early 18th century to 20th century. The collection is distinguished by very rare examples of teapots produced by some of the world’s greatest porcelain and ceramic manufactures. Many of the lots on offer have illustrious provenance, having belonged to the collections of Shand-Kydd, Dr. Bernard Watney, Billie Pain and Dr. Paul Riley.

Leading the sale is an important Chelsea scolopendrium-moulded teapot, circa 1750-52. Highly regarded as the only surviving example known in this pattern, this teapot copies a French model of the 1740s. It has already been sold five times at Sotheby’s, having first appeared at auction in 1941 (lot 141, est. £30,000-50,000.

One of the earliest teapots in the sale is to be found in a very rare Limehouse blue and white teapot, circa 1746-48, which is perhaps one of the earliest teapots produced in British porcelain. Of the Limehouse teapots that are known, this example in perfect condition is one of the smallest (lot 123, £20,000-30,000).

The sale also includes an extremely rare and important Bow teapot and cover, circa 1758. The only other known example of a Bow teapot by James Welsh, which is also of this form and painted with an almost identical formation of flowers and insects, is in the collection of the Gardiner Museum, Toronto (lot 161, est. £20,000- 30,000).

Highlights also include two rare Royal Worcester jewelled ‘Countess of Dudley’ service teapots, dated 1867. This form comes from a Déjeuner presented in 1865-66 on behalf of the city of Worcester to the Earl and Countess of Dudley upon their marriage. In 1867 the original Déjeuner was borrowed by the factory to make duplicates and was exhibited at the Paris exhibition (lot 214, and 215, est. £4,000-6,000 and £3,000-5,000).

They are also many whimsical and fun things, such as a Royal Worcester ‘Aesthetic’ teapot, dated 1882 which mocks the excessive taste of the Aesthetic movement at the end of the 19th century. The design of the present piece refers to W. S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan’s operetta Patience, first performed at the Opera Comique, London in April 1881 (lot 217, est. £1,500-2,500).

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