Lucie Rie flaring footed porcelain bowl

The Lucie Rie flaring footed porcelain bowl sold for a record €320,000 (£309,000) at Bonhams Paris.

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An auction record for the doyenne of the British studio pottery movement was posted by Bonhams in Paris on December 6, breaking by a margin a record set just a month earlier in London.

Rie’s 8in (22cm) f laring footed porcelain bowl dated from c.1980 - the designer’s prime period when she displayed mastery of both form and glaze from her London studio at Albion Mews.

It contrasts a matt pink glaze with bands of manganese and turquoise and sgraffito parallel lines.

Bought by the owner from the specialist dealership London Erskine, Hall & Coe, it was guided at €40,000- 60,000 but reached a mighty €320,000 (£309,000) or $406,800/£349,000 including premium.

Keen bidding

Claire Gallois, Bonhams’ director of 20th century design in Paris, said: “Lucie Rie is one of the greatest names in 20th century British ceramics.

“This rare bowl was a true masterpiece and I am not surprised there was such keen bidding in the room, on the phones and online.”

Remarkably, it was almost identical to another bowl with the same combination of colours and glazes that had sold at Phillips for £260,000 on November 1 as part of the collections of Jane Coper and Cyril Frankel (see ATG No 2617).

ATG news page

A news article in ATG No 2617, showing a similar Rie bowl.

Once a relatively niche collecting area, the best British post-war ceramics now attract the attention of some of the biggest buyers in the modern design field.

It is indicative of a white-hot market that the auction record for Rie has been broken many times in the past decade.

Back in 2014, it stood at the £47,000 bid at Woolley & Wallis of Salisbury for a 10in (25cm) flaring bowl in a vibrant blue and manganese glaze.

Overall record

The overall record for British studio pottery stands at £520,000, set twice for pieces by Rie’s pupil Hans Coper: a ‘coco de mer’ pot from 1968 (at Phillips in November 2021) and the monumental ‘bottle vase with disc’ (at Bonhams in October 2022).