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Bartlam Porcelain Teapot Auction Fetches $806K for Antique Once Bought for $20

Bartlam Porcelain Teapot Auction Fetches $806K for Antique Once Bought for $20
(http://www.woolleyandwallis.co.uk/)

By    |   Tuesday, 27 February 2018 07:44 AM

A John Bartlam porcelain teapot auction resulted in its $806,000 sale Tuesday, some 23 times the price the item was expected to fetch, The Charlotte Observer reported.

The cracked teapot, made in South Carolina before the Revolutionary War, was purchased by London dealer Roderick Jellicoe on behalf of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, according to a statement from Woolley & Wallis Salisbury Salesrooms.

"The John Bartlam teapot caught the imagination of many, and as its lot number drew near, the atmosphere in the auction room became increasingly tense," the Woolley & Wallis statement said. "Woolley's staff joined those already in attendance and the press were present to record this very unusual sale."

Bartlam was a potter in Staffordshire, England, who relocated to South Carolina in around 1763 to mine china clay and meet the colonial Americans' market for the product.

The site of Bartlam's factory was discovered in 2007 and fragments of three blue decorated tea bowls were found, according to The Telegraph.

"The teapot marks the birth of American porcelain," Clare Durham, of Woolley and Wallis Auctioneers in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, said, according to The Telegraph. "At the time the U.S. was saying 'we don't need British porcelain anymore.

"It means so much more to the Americans than it does to us hence why it ended up being bought by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Bartlam made a fair amount in America but no pieces survive over there. We don't know how the tea service came to Britain but it might have been when Bartlam visited in 1769," Durham continued.

Durham said a private client originally acquired the teapot via an internet bid of $20 at an antiques auction in Lincolnshire, England, in 2016.

“If it hadn’t been for that internet bid, it probably would have ended up in a bin,” Durham told The New York Times.

According to the Bartlam Blog, Bartlam started his factory in St. Thomas Parish at a settlement known in the 18th century as Cain Hoy, South Carolina.

"Bartlam began production by 1765, as evidenced by advertisements in the SC Gazette," the blog wrote. "In May 1768 he mortgaged his factory to further finance the undertaking, and within a year advertised for young African Americans to work as apprentices in the new business. 

"Bartlam eventually left Cain Hoy to work in Charleston. By 1771 he had established a china manufactory, said to be located in Old Church Street in Charleston," the blog continued.

Bartlam died in 1781, after moving his factory to Camden, South Carolina.

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A John Bartlam porcelain teapot auction resulted in its $806,000 sale Tuesday, some 23 times the price the item was expected to fetch, The Charlotte Observer reported.
bartlam, porcelain, teapot, auction
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2018-44-27
Tuesday, 27 February 2018 07:44 AM
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