Characterised by its dense grey paste and the exceptionally fine quality of its craftsmanship, Rouen porcelain is considered among the rarest of all European ceramics (the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is the only museum outside France to own a piece).
This potpourri, c.1690, above, is one of just a dozen examples of early Rouen porcelain currently recorded. Made in the workshop of Louis Poterat, it features both the distinctive dotted ground unique to this porcelain and the intertwined ribbon and flower pattern found on other surviving examples.
The 4½in (11.3cm) high piece, unknown until it appeared recently on the market, stars in a virtual exhibition of early French soft-paste porcelain at Kensington Church Street dealer E&H Manners, which runs throughout February. It is priced at £55,000.
The display comes largely from two private collections and forms a brief survey of production from the earliest factories of Rouen and Saint-Cloud through Chantilly and Villeroy to the early days of Vincennes and Sèvres.