Moorcroft Boy recorded one of the great comebacks in racing history when he recovered from a horrific injury at Aintree in 1995 to win the Scottish National the following year.
He retired to become the flag bearer of the Racehorse Welfare
Centre in the Sussex Weald.
Less well known is that the horse was named by owner and
businessman Ken Manley after the potter who first caught his gaze
in the early 1970s. Four decades on Manley now has one of the
finest collections of Moorcroft in the country.
A house move occasioned the downsizing of an assemblage, which
still numbers close to 400 pieces, at Woolley &
Wallis in Salisbury on November 30. Close to 100 pieces
were offered across 64 lots as part of a wider sale titled British
There were routine pieces here from across the Macintyre,
William and Walter Moorcroft periods but this was no second eleven,
including as its centrepiece an apparently unique Bamboo and
Orchids pattern vase from 1914. Illustrated in Paul Atterbury's
Moorcroft Pottery, it is believed this 13in (32cm) vase was
inspired by a watercolour by Thomas Moorcroft (William's father)
that had received a silver medal from the Department of Art and
Science in 1875. It was estimated at £10,000-15,000 and found its
low estimate - seemingly the highest price paid for a piece of
Moorcroft in the UK in 2011.
Sold at £4800 (estimate £3000-4000) was a pair of Macintyre
period Florian Ware vases, 81/2in (22cm) high, painted in the Pansy
pattern in of green and red on a salmon pink ground while a 9in
(23cm) baluster vase in the Spanish pattern sold for £3200
(estimate £2000-2500). All were in perfect condition save a tiny
glaze frit to the rim of the latter.
Moorcroft from other vendors keen to sell alongside Manley
various included a pair of 10in (25cm) Macintyre Florian Ware
landscape vases painted with stylised tall trees in shades of green
and blue on a white ground. Both were damaged but specialist
Michael Jeffery considered them "probably the best painted
Moorcroft vases I have seen". They were keenly contested up to
£6000 (estimate £2000-4000).
Above: Damaged but finely painted, this pair of Macintyre
Florian Ware landscape vases sold for £6000 at at Woolley &
Wallis' sale of the Ken Manley collection.
This British Art Pottery auction, including sell-out sections of
Pilkington's Lancastrian from the Bill Coles collection and an
18-lot collection of pieces from the Dennis Chinaworks, was also
particularly strong on William De Morgan and studio pottery.
The final part of the Jon Catleugh collection of tiles by De
Morgan offered in 57 lots met with minimal resistance with the top
price of £2600 shared by both a Sand's End Pottery two-tile Galleon
panel and a three tile panel, decorated with two serpents before
Particularly positive in the context of a sometimes selective
market was the 90 per cent selling rate recorded by 125 lots of
studio wares. Active potters such as Paul Young and John Maltby
shared the success of Lucie Rie, Bernard Leach and his
contemporaries. A 71/2in (18.5cm) flattened form bottle vase
with a tenmoku lustre glaze made by Shoji Hamada whilst at the
Leach Pottery in St Ives led proceedings at £3200
Included among other highlights was a small Martin Brothers
stoneware bird jar and cover purchased by the vendor in the 1970s
before the publication of the book on the factory and the landmark
exhibition at Richard Dennis. Modelled with forward looking gaze,
hooked beak and incised Martin Bros London & Southall, it stood
7in (17.5cm) high. The hammer fell in the middle of the £7000-9000
However a price of perhaps more note in this section was
tendered for a miniature 'anemone' form gourd vase dated 4-1906 and
glazed in ochre and green. Particularly well potted even by the
standards of R.W. Martin, it measured just 21/2in (6.5cm) but sold
at £1400 (estimate £300-500).
A low estimate but a high price was the consensus following the
performance of a 12in (30cm) Doulton Lambeth ewer of slender form
decorated by Florence Barlow with a pate sur pate red squirrel
within a scrolling foliate border by Eliza Simmance. The subject
matter (unusual for Barlow) saw it bring £3800, many times the low
estimate of £250.
A massive Bernard Moore flambe glazed bowl with patinated metal
mounts and foot sold above top hopes at £2200. Measuring an
impressive 18in (45cm) across, it was decorated both inside and out
(to an impressed Minton black) with scrolling dragons. It too was
from the collection of Ken Manley.
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