The introduction of fine enamels of a type first produced in medieval Limoges was part of the resurgence of Worcester under Richard Binns and William Kerr in the 1850s, when they hired a number of talented designers and painters.
The painted enamels were the speciality of Thomas Bott (1829-1870) and enjoyed huge esteem, but they were not produced in any great quantity and are an infrequent sight in the salerooms today. With little in the way of precedent to go on, Fieldings’ specialist Alison Snowdon estimated each chalice at £400- 600 at the September 1 sale.
One, 11in (28cm) tall decorated with the Four Evangelists and classical male and female heads and with gilt and enamel bands had a printed mark and the monogram TB. The other, (pictured above) is very similar but 12in (31cm) and decorated to the goblet bowl with four Roman goddesses, had no factory mark but was signed T. Bott 1867.
“To some degree they were there to be sold and we always hope pieces will go above estimate,” said Snowdon. “But I was happily surprised when a buyer new to us, a dealer I believe, took the chalices at £3600 each.”