At Bonhams Fine European Ceramics Sale

A lavish, and very rare gold-mounted du Paquier porcelain bowl, with its cover and stand, from the reign of The Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI leads Bonhams Fine European Ceramics Sale in London on Thursday 6 December. It is estimated at £150,000-200,000.

The Du Paquier porcelain factory was founded in 1718 in Vienna under special privilege granted by The Holy Roman Emperor, Charles VI. It was intended to rival the Meissen factory at Dresden established in 1710 by the Elector of Saxony, and the pieces were so valuable that the Emperor mainly used them as gifts to family and foreign rulers. Very rarely, these were mounted in gold by the Court goldsmiths and some of these pieces were presented to members of the Russian Court. Only a handful of gold-mounted Du Paquier porcelain has survived to the present day.

Bonhams Director of European Ceramics, Sebastian Kuhn, said: "This bowl, cover and stand were made sometime between 1735-1740. They represent the epitome of luxury at the Habsburg court, and are arguably the finest and most lavish of all the gold-mounted pieces ever made. By repute, this set was a gift from the Emperor Charles VI to one of his daughters – probably the future Empress Maria Theresia – and was installed in the Imperial chapel in the Hofburg in Vienna as a Holy Water Stoop. Gold-mounted du Paquier pieces are extraordinarily rare, and the few objects that exist today are in museum collections such as the Hermitage and Metropolitan Museum of Art. The sale of this bowl and stand offers what is likely to be the last opportunity to acquire a piece of this importance at auction."

The bowl and stand were the collection of a European noble family in the early 19th century and remained there until 1935, when it was acquired by the renowned Swiss collector, Dr. Albert Kocher, whose collection of 18th-century porcelain was one of the finest in pre-War Europe, much of which can now be seen in the Historisches Museum in Bern. The great art-historian and Director of the Berlin Schlossmuseum, Ludwig Schnorr von Carolsfeld, described this gold-mounted bowl and stand to Kocher letter dating to 1935 as "a real jewel, a museum piece of the first rank, that actually belongs in Vienna."

Other highlights of the sale include:

- Il Gruppo del Laocoonte A very rare and large biscuit porcelain model of Laocoon and his sons, made around 1785 at the Real Fabbrica Ferdinandea Naples. Estimate: £30,000-50,000
- A large and rare Meissen white 'Sulkowski Service' candelabra, around 1736-4. Estimate: £35,000-45,000.
- An Urbino maiolica istoriato dish, possibly the workshop of Guido Durantino (Guido Fontana), dated 1541. Estimate: £20,000-30,000.

Meissen Porcelain from a European Private Collection
A separate sale at Bonhams on the same day (6 December) forms the first part of a single-owner sale of Meissen porcelain. Meissen Porcelain from a European Private Collection presents a chosen ensemble of 62 pieces focussing on the glory days of the Meissen factory from its earliest production of Böttger stoneware to the court services of the late 1730s. It will include eight pieces bearing the Japanese Palace Inventory mark for the Royal Saxon Collections, including rare plates from the Coronation Service, and the Yellow Hunting Service.

Other highlights include:

- a very rare Meissen lacquered Böttger stoneware octagonal coffee pot and cover, circa 1711-15. Estimate: £40,000-60,000
- a very rare pair of white Meissen porcelain panthers, circa 1740. Estimate: £30,000 - 50,000
- a rare Meissen Augustus Rex turquoise-ground vase with hunting scenes, circa 1739-4. Estimate: £12,000-18,000
- a very rare Meissen Böttger stoneware circular portrait medallion of Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia, circa 1712-13. Estimate: £7,000-9,000.


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest and most renowned auctioneers, offering fine art and antiques, motor cars and jewelry. The main salerooms are in London, New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong, with auctions also held in Knightsbridge, Edinburgh, Paris, San Francisco and Sydney. With a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 22 countries, Bonhams offers advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full list of forthcoming auctions, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit


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