Brisk bidding as Lowestoft Porcelain birth tablet is sold at auction
17:13 09 January 2014
The life and times of Eallathe Leggett Liffen may now be obscured by the mists of time.
But the birth of the Lowestoft area resident in December, 1798, led to the commissioning of a gift that has now fetched £7,400 at an auction,
The birth tablet was made by Lowestoft Porcelain at its Crown Street factory and very probably was commissioned by proud parents Edmund and Mary Liffen, who had their child christened in the town after being born on December 7, 1798.
And now the loving commemoration to the 18th century arrival has led to a bidding war at Keys of Aylsham which auctioned the three inch diameter birth tablet for £7,400.
The tablet was among 17 Lowestoft Porcelain lots under the hammer on Tuesday and Wednesday at the north Norfolk auctioneers.
Roy Murphy, fine art partner at Keys, said, “The unsophisticated functionality of Lowestoft products, with their inscribed legends and simple motifs, make them very collectable. It’s a kind of naive charm which is attractive to buyers.
“This particular piece is one of the last personalised birth tablets to be made in Lowestoft, and would have been commissioned to mark the birth of the child named on it.
“Bidding was very brisk, and the hammer price was nearly twice the estimate, showing that this particular type of porcelain is still very much in demand.”
The factory produced soft-paste porcelain ware from 1756 until its closure in 1801 – the longest duration of any English soft-paste porcelain producer other than Royal Worcester and Royal Crown Derby.
Built on the site of an existing pottery or brick kiln, the building was later used as a brewery and malt kiln, before being finally demolished in 1955.
This is not the first time that the Eallathe Leggett Liffen birth tablet has come to auction as the New York Sun newspaper from March 1935 reported it being sold for auction for $55.