For much of its history these plates, bowls and serving dishes, each decorated with deer and reserves of white-enamelled scrolling flowers (the technique known as ‘bianco-sopra-bianco’), were at Boconnoc House in Cornwall. Famously the house was bought in 1717 by Thomas Pitt (1653-1726) using money he made from the sale of a 410 carat he had bought in India while president of Madras. The so-called Pitt Diamond was sold to the Regent of France to be set in the crown of Louis XV for his coronation.
Pitt, who sat six times as an MP, was the founder of the political dynasty that included his grandson William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham (Pitt the Elder) and his great-grandson Pitt the Younger, both prime ministers of Great Britain.
Boconnoc was also home to William Wyndham, 1st Baron Grenville (1759-1834), who served briefly as Prime Minister of a coalition government from 1806-07 during which time the international slave trade was declared illegal. The house and estate - including this dinner service - passed into the Fortescue family by marriage in 1864 and has remained in the family’s possession ever since.
We were delighted to present this 46-piece porcelain dinner service, made in China in the 18th century for the Pitt family, which achieved £8,750 including premium in our November 2020 auction of Fine Asian & Islamic Works of Art.
Lyon & Turnbull’s international Asian Art department conducts four auctions, in the Edinburgh and London and via live online auctions. These auctions have a special focus on Chinese and Japanese ceramics, paintings, furniture, jade, textiles and works of art and are perfectly positioned to capitalise on the current strength in the Asian antiques markets.
Our international team of Asian art auction specialists and consultants are able to advise on the current Chinese and Japanese art markets, and to help you achieve the best results by reaching a world-wide buying audience. We also have expertise in the many other Eastern art styles and regional works, such as Middle-Eastern and Islamic art, and Indian Art.