Rare Ming cup fetches over £3m at auction

"We are delighted that the sale of the Stem Cup enables the University to do justice to the legacy of Ernest Thornhill who wanted his collection of oriental ceramics to be used as a study resource."

Rosy Crehan, Deputy Vice-Chancellor

A RARE Ming cup bequeathed to Staffordshire University has fetched more than £3 million at auction.

The Stem Cup, which dates back to 1425 - 1435 and bears the six-character mark of the Emperor of China, Xuande, sold for £3.6 million at auction in Hong Kong.

The cup was part of a collection of oriental ceramics donated to the University by London Chemist Ernest Thornhill in the 1940s to prevent damage from the Blitz in World War II.

Auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull were appointed to sell the Stem Cup when the collection was rediscovered in 2013 after being hidden away in storage for a significant number of years.

Proceeds from the sale will fund a purpose built centre for ceramics at the University's Stoke-on-Trent campus which will house the remainder of the 270 piece collection.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Rosy Crehan said: “We are delighted that the sale of the Stem Cup enables the University to do justice to the legacy of Ernest Thornhill who wanted his collection of oriental ceramics to be used as a study resource.

“We will now press ahead with plans to create a new Centre of Excellence in Ceramics, to house the historically significant Thornhill Collection, as well as providing teaching and research facilities to support the development of the ceramics sector in Stoke-on-Trent, the world capital of ceramics. This is an exciting prospect for students, businesses and the wider community.”

Find further information about the Stem Cup and Thornhill collection here.

 

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