The service, split into 11 lots, had come from a local house in the Montpellier district.
The complex pattern picked out in the famille rose enamels is among the most luxurious of all 18th century China trade porcelain, although the popular name is something of a misnomer.
Once thought to depict the flowering nicotiana plant, the design depicts the wide serrated leaves of hibiscus, peony and passion flower. It was probably based on an 18th century textile pattern.
This large selection was sold to a range of UK bidders. Specialist Robin Fisher said “condition had been an issue – with most pieces carrying chips and cracks – and I had deliberately been cautious with my estimates. Each lot was competed for by a dozen phone bidders and multiple online bidders“.
At the auction on October 25-26, the top price of £26,000, more than five times the top estimate, was bid for a graduated set of six oval meat plates ranging in size from 19in (46cm) to 11in (28cm) across.
A set of four oval tureens and covers, with lotus bud handles and fruit finals, took £20,000, or 10-times the low estimate. A single 19cm tureen alone took £11,000 (estimate £200-300), the same sum bid for three graduated teapots (one minus its cover).
A number of variants on the tobacco leaf theme exist. A group lot of 16 pieces that included a squirrel and a phoenix painted among the outsize foliage shared the top price of £26,000 (estimate £2000-3000). As well as plates and tea bowls, three meat dishes and a pair of oval sauce tureens featured.
The sale was the first of the Asian-themed auctions timed to coincide with this week’s Asian Art in London.