Auction Drama as Plate Sells for a Record Price

Article excerpt

Byline: George Mair

A 500-year-old plate yesterday became the most expensive ceramic ever sold in Scotland when it went under the hammer for almost [pounds sterling]400,000.

The previously unrecorded plate by Italian artist Francesco Xanto Avelli dates from 1537 and was discovered in a regular house valuation.

It is thought the seller's family bought it in Italy sometime between 1894 and 1916.

Xanto Avelli worked in mailoica, earthenware covered with a coat of tin glaze and painted.

The front of the plate shows Cyrus the Great persuading the people of Persepolis to rise up against their Median rulers.

Bidders from around the world flew to Edinburgh to take part in Lyon & Turnbull's auction, with others competing via telephone and on the internet. The plate was finally sold to an anonymous European bidder in the auction room for [pounds sterling]391,250 - almost four times its estimate of [pounds sterling]100,000.

Celia Curnow, ceramics consultant to Lyon & Turnbull, said: 'I have waited more than 30 years to see a piece of this quality outside a museum. …