Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Yet this Italian maiolica saucer, met these demands at Lyon and Turnbull’s Edinburgh salerooms on October 8. Moreover, the owner could be satisfied that no less a porcelain factory than Sevres had copied its unusual design, when it introduced such “soucoups enfoncés” (literally translated as “punched saucers”) in 1759.
The reverse of the saucer was inscribed Gentili.P for Carmine Gentili (1678-1763), one of the longest serving decorators for the Castelli factory. Other Castelli saucers of this shape are known, of course, but most are attributed to C.A. Grue; Gentili probably copied this port scene from a print by the engraver Gabrielle Perelle. The damaged status of the saucer was a blessing for the academic collector on a budget; it had been cracked in two sections and riveted to the reverse. Measuring 7in (18cm) diameter – the well being an inch deep – the saucer attracted scant interest from the trade and sold, perhaps, to a public institution at £600 (plus 15 per cent premium).