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'Hugely popular': Lowestoft porcelain inkwell could fetch up to £7,000

PUBLISHED: 09:19 22 July 2019 | UPDATED: 10:04 22 July 2019

Lowestoft porcelain inkwell, circa 1775, which has a pre-sale estimate �5,000-�7,000. It will go uhnder the hammer at Keys Auctioneers in Aylsham. Picture: Keys Auctioneers and Valuers

Lowestoft porcelain inkwell, circa 1775, which has a pre-sale estimate �5,000-�7,000. It will go uhnder the hammer at Keys Auctioneers in Aylsham. Picture: Keys Auctioneers and Valuers

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Porcelain collectors from around the globe will turn their attention to Norfolk this week when a rare 'Tulip' style inkwell is expected to fetch up to £7,000 at auction.

Lowestoft porcelain sheep and ram, circa 1780, which has a pre-sale estimate of �600-�800 ahead of its sale at Keys Auctioneers in Aylsham. Picture: Keys Auctioneers and ValuersLowestoft porcelain sheep and ram, circa 1780, which has a pre-sale estimate of �600-�800 ahead of its sale at Keys Auctioneers in Aylsham. Picture: Keys Auctioneers and Valuers

Keys Auctioneers in Aylsham has given the Lowestoft porcelain inkwell made around 1775 a pre-sale estimate price between £5,000 and £7,000.

Decorated in the Tulip painter style, the 7cm inkwell features floral designs and a divergent tulip.

This is one of the most sought-after designs in Lowestoft porcelain, with similar pieces featuring in the collection at Norwich Castle Museum.

Keys' ceramics expert, David Broom, said: "Lowestoft porcelain has become hugely popular in the saleroom, especially those pieces which were made in very small numbers, or which feature particular patterns, such as the Tulip painter style.

David Broom, ceramics expert at Keys Auctioneers and Valuers. Picture: Keys Auctioneers and ValuersDavid Broom, ceramics expert at Keys Auctioneers and Valuers. Picture: Keys Auctioneers and Valuers

"This is something which originated in East Anglia which has a huge base of collectors all over the world, and we are already seeing considerable interest in the Lowestoft pieces."

The inkwell comes up for sale on Wednesday, July 24, the first day of Keys' three-day summer fine sale.

Other Lowestoft porcelain in the sale include a sheep and ram pair dating from around 1780, and a blue-and-white porcelain bottle vase dating from around 1770.

Also going under the hammer will be ceramics from Meissen, Clarice Cliff, Moorcroft, Doulton, Wedgwood and Royal Worcester, and many oriental pieces.

Lowestoft porcelain bottle vase, circa 1770, which has a pre-sale estimate �300-�400. It is about to go under the hammer at Keys Auctioneers in Aylsham. Picture: Keys Auctioneers and ValuersLowestoft porcelain bottle vase, circa 1770, which has a pre-sale estimate �300-�400. It is about to go under the hammer at Keys Auctioneers in Aylsham. Picture: Keys Auctioneers and Valuers

Lowestoft porcelain: A fine legacy

The Lowestoft Porcelain Factory produced soft-paste porcelain ware from 1756 until its closure in 1799, the longest duration of any English soft-paste porcelain producer other than Worcester and 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 finally being demolished in 1955.

Early trials and production were alleged to have been sabotaged by workmen from the Bow factory, but by 1760 advertisements for Lowestoft porcelain were appearing.

The factory started out producing blue and white ware, and this is possibly the best known of its output.

But from 1770 onwards, an increasing amount of what it produced was the more colourful polychrome ware, with patterns following the fashions of the age: initially mandarin type chinoiserie, and then, from 1780, French neo-classical designs.

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