A magnificent Italian maiolica istoriato charger has wowed crowds at a February 14 auction in Dorset, UK.
The plate, which dates to around 1540, sold for an impressive £460,000 ($713,557) excluding buyer's premium. Realising its potential value, the auction house sold it in a sale in which it was the only lot. This proved worthwhile, as the price achieved represents a new auction house record.
The charger originates from the walled city of Urbino, which is now a World Heritage site famous for its tin-glazed pottery known as maiolica. Istoriato is the name given to the first exported wares from the region, which were created using engravings by mannerist painters.
The ambitious design of the lot is after that of The Feast of Herod, a noted work by German printmaker and engraver Hans Sebald Beham (1500-1550). Beham is considered one of the most important members of the Little Masters, a group of artists making prints in the generation following Albrecht Durer.
Whoever bought the charger, there is a fantastic opportunity for research ahead of them, such as the "tantalising" possibility of a signature painted on the front. Experts from the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford have already aided the auction house in revealing as much detail as possible prior to the sale.