Sachsen-Teschen soup tureen beats estimate by 117% at Bonhams

The Sachsen-Teschen soup tureen, an important 18th century Austrian piece, has sold as part of Bonhams' Fine Silver and Gold Boxes auction, which is currently underway in London.

Imperial soup turneen auction
It is very unusual to acquire silver from this period as so much of it was destroyed for political and financial reasons

It made an impressive £433,250 ($678,690), rising past its £200,000 high estimate by 116.6%.

The tureen was first commissioned as a wedding gift for Marie-Antoinette's sister Mimi on the occasion of her marriage to Prince Albert Casimir, Duke of Teschen.

It was given to Mimi by her mother, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, who commissioned it from Franz Caspar Wurth, one of the most important artisans of Viennese neoclassicism during the Enlightenment.

This first service was later melted down at Mimi's behest and remade identically by Wurth's son Ignatz. The items at auction, therefore, come from the second service.

Mimi is said to have been the favourite child of the family and was therefore allowed to marry for love, a fact that alienated her from her sister Marie Antoinette, whose marriage to Louis, Dauphine of France had been arranged.

However, by choosing Prince Casimir, Mimi was marrying into a noble family that had become impoverished during the seven years' war and the union would not be profitable.

Nonetheless, the couple received permission, as well as a large dowry comprising some of the most important silver and gold objects created during the Enlightenment.

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