Half-Figure Service tops single-owner sale
One of the most valuable tea services ever assembled, sold for £541,250 at Bonhams, yesterday 5th December 2012. In a busy saleroom, bidders competed for eight items of the legendary 'Half-Figure Service'-type, a highly important set of Meissen porcelain in the Said and Roswitha Marouf Collection.
Meissen porcelain with 'Half-Figure Service' decoration is one of the rarest and most sought after types of European porcelain painting, decorated with delicate and detailed scenes. The exquisite decoration, widely considered to be the finest of all Meissen 'chinoiserie' painting, is usually attributed to J.G Höroldt, a pivotal figure in the 18th Century Meissen manufactory.
The decoration is characterised by dramatic depictions of large figures in the foreground with their lower bodies cut off from the waist. The background is populated with complex and subtle scenes. There is a sophisticated palette of colours and ornate gilt decoration adorns the outer edges of the items.
Many of these 'Half-Figure Service' pieces have been exhibited in museums, including the important 2010 exhibition in the Japanese Palace in Dresden to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Meissen manufactory.
Other top lots in the sale, which realised a total of over £1million, include a rare early Meissen part tea and coffee service, which sold for £85,250 and a pair of ormolu candelabra, mounted with Meissen figures, which sold for £67,250.
Sebastian Kuhn, Director of European porcelain at Bonhams said, "The Said and Roswitha Marouf Collection is one of the finest collections of Meissen porcelain in the world, and includes many exceptionally rare pieces. The outstanding price achieved for the 'Half-Figure Service' makes this one of the most valuable tea services in the world. This important collection attracted interest from collectors around the world, with the rarest and finest pieces achieving exceptional prices."
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com