King Louis XV's dish used as decoration sells for £95k

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Image source, Richard Valencia Photography
Image caption,
The identical plate was sold in February for £27,000 from the estate of Judith Howard

A rare King Louis XV dish hung on a wall by its owner who had "no idea" of its value has sold for £95,000.

The Vincennes circular dish was part of the Palace of Versailles dinner service from 1754 and is one of only three examples in existence.

Clare Durham, ceramics specialist at Woolley and Wallis, said the plate's true value was discovered when the owner's friend spotted it.

The sale took place at the company's auction house in Salisbury earlier.

'Perfect'

One of the other identical plates is in the Musée des Arts Decoratifs in Paris and another fetched £27,000 in February.

Publicity from that sale, sold from the Wiltshire estate of the renowned ceramics collector Judith Howard, led to the discovery of its provenance.

Woolley and Wallis auctioneers gave the plate sold on Tuesday an estimate of between £40,000 to £60,000.

"It had come from an old family collection and was bought by the relative of the seller in the 1950s," said Mrs Durham.

"When you get a phone call from someone who says they have a piece like this, it is quite rare that it is genuine, so I was delighted when I saw it and realised it was perfect.

"It has survived all those years with barely a scratch on, it's incredible,"

The plate was part of a 153 complete piece set designed for Louis XV and used until the French Revolution.

'Difficult and expensive'

Factory records detail that 28 of these dishes were produced, at a cost of 240 livres (approx £258) each.

"It is a huge service, the first service that the Vincennes factory made and the first time that this blue ground was used," added Ms Durham.

"A lot of scientists and chemists would have been involved in the manufacturing as porcelain like this was very difficult and expensive to produce, especially with this blue ground.

"A lot of the pieces from the set are still in the Palace of Versailles."

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