Most expensive Belleek showpiece


BELLEEK POTTERY, one of the best-known of Ireland’s few luxury brands, is celebrating its 155th anniversary. A highlight for visitors to the company’s headquarters in Co Fermanagh is a china centrepiece, created for the Paris Exhibition of 1900 and a gold-medal winner there.

Now craftsmen at the pottery have created a replica of the “International Centrepiece”, which is on sale for £75,000 (€94,500) making it the most expensive item ever to be produced commercially by Belleek. Standing more than 76cm high, the table centrepiece is a three-footed urn with three Irish wolfhounds keeping guard around the base and is decorated with Irish harps and flowers.

It was reproduced using the original moulds created by the pottery’s then head of design, Frederick Slater, and has taken over a year and an estimated 400 craftsman hours.

A limited edition of five of the centrepieces will be offered for sale – presumably aimed at collectors and well-heeled tourists. John Maguire, the managing director of Belleek Pottery Group said visitors to the pottery who see the original centrepiece “marvel at the design detail and craftsmanship that was being produced by the company in the Victorian era”. He was confident that, despite theprice tag, the five pieces would find buyers among local and international collectors of china and had already “had approaches from potential purchasers”.