$20 Online Find Soars to $806,000 at UK Auction

American porcelain teapot attributed to John Bartlam (Cain Hoy, South Carolina), c.1765-69
American porcelain teapot attributed to John Bartlam (Cain Hoy, South Carolina), c.1765-69
(Woolley & Wallis)
  • London Dealer Rod Jellicoe and Ceramics Specialist Clare Durham celebrate following the sale.

    London Dealer Rod Jellicoe and Ceramics Specialist Clare Durham celebrate following the sale.

    Woolley & Wallis

A speculative £15 ($20) bid in an online antiques sale turned out to be a major discovery, ending up as a star lot at auction last month when the early porcelain teapot soared to 575,000 pounds with fees (about $806,000) as the winning bid for an American museum. 

The 2016 web find was consigned to Salisbury, UK-based Woolley & Wallis auctioneers where the piece was extensively researched. Specialists found it to be an important and previously unrecorded American porcelain teapot attributed to John Bartlam (Cain Hoy, South Carolina), c.1765-69. One side, printed in underglaze blue, depicts two cranes beneath a tall palm tree beside figures in a sampan and a solitary figure in another boat, the reverse with a version of the Man on the Bridge pattern.

The John Bartlam teapot caught the imagination of many, according to Woolley's, and as its lot number drew near, the atmosphere in the auction room on Feb. 20 became increasingly tense. You can watch the sale of the teapot on YouTube. 

The piece ultimately found a new home at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art through London dealer Rod Jellicoe, who topped the stakes at £460,000 (hammer price) against an American private collector on the telephone. Met curator Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen told the New York Times, "It's extraordinarily important for many, many reasons."

Missing a lid and with some repairs, the teapot is nevertheless a rare discovery, becoming only the seventh recorded piece of John Bartlam's porcelain, relating to a group of wares sold at auction in 2002. It was made with local clays, and possibly, represents the oldest known American-made porcelain teapot.

More News Feed Headlines

Temple of Dendur in The Sackler Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

Known as Museum Donors, Sackler Family Now Under More Scrutiny in OxyContin Lawsuits

  • January 21, 2019 00:06

Long-celebrated as arts and culture philanthropists, the Sackler family is increasingly in ...

Read More

Gordon Parks, "Trapped in abandoned building by a rival gang on street, Red Jackson ponders his next move," 1948, gelatin silver print, part of the exhibition "Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940–1950" at the National Gallery of Art through Feb.  18, 2019.

Virtually Browse (and Support) the 20 Museums Closed by the Government Shutdown

  • January 15, 2019 22:41

With the 19 federally-funded Smithsonian museums and the National Gallery of Art in DC closed due ...

Read More

Still from video by Klaus Obermeyer/Rocket.film, 'Letting the light in, James Turrell, ASU partner on artwork'

James Turrell's 'Roden Crater' Project Gets $10 Million Donation from Kanye West

  • January 14, 2019 14:50

James Turrell, 75, began his Roden Crater Project in 1977. The California artist has gotten a ...

Read More

Dr Bendor Grosvenor in an episode of Britain's Lost Masterpieces (with Emma Dabiri).  (The painting shown is not the one destroyed by cat.)

Art Expert Says Cat Destroyed His Rare 17th-Century Painting

  • January 10, 2019 14:03

A cat wrecked a rare 17th-century portrait painting, according to the pet's owner, UK-based art ...

Read More

Related Press Releases

Related Events from ArtfixDaily Calendar

 

ArtfixDaily Artwire