As ever, there was a large amount of Doulton Lambeth on offer at Bonhams’ latest Ceramics Design sale.
Probably too much, reflected
Bonhams' Mark Oliver, noting how some of the more standard
wares struggled in both the single- and mixed-owner sessions on
September 21-22 at their Knightsbridge rooms.
But, for rarities that ticked all the boxes, there was more
demand most notably in the case of two massive faience vases from
Standing 20in (50cm) high these are painted in great detail by
J.H. McLennan with scenes from the story of The Goose
Part of the 129-lot British collection offered on the first day,
they had been purchased from Richard Dennis' 1975 Doulton
Exhibition. Market fresh and imposing, they were bid to £9000.
Also in the 1975 exhibition was a pair of 13½in (34cm) high
oviform green-ground vases of the same period, painted by the same
artist with nursery rhyme scenes for Little Bo Peep and
Jack and Jill, which came in at £8500.
Condition issues, lack of market freshness and optimistic
estimates meant that the selection of George Tinworth's
anthropomorphic animal studies may not have excited the room this
time around, but bidders seemed rather more attracted by a couple
of similar subjects by the equally talented Doulton Lambeth artist
There were two 4¾in (12cm) high versions of his figural flower
vase modelled as rabbits in wedding attire titled The Waning of
The Honeymoon. One glazed in green, was dated 1880 to the base
but otherwise unmarked, while the other, predominantly buff
coloured, had no artist's monogram but carried a date and impressed
factory mark. Accordingly both were reasonably guided at
£1200-1500, and came in at £1500 and £1600 respectively.
Inter-War Doulton pottery with Oriental style high fire glazes
by Charles Noke and Harry Nixon have been a keenly contested area
of the ceramic design market in recent times.
Bonhams had a particularly good illustration of this in March
when a pristine thickly glazed Chang vase moulded with a
dragon was taken to £9800.
The auctioneers had another version to offer on the second day
of the sale but this time, with slight restoration, the price was
Doulton HN series figures are a field where, rarities aside,
demand has fallen off considerably and the post-War designs which
are in plentiful supply are struggling (figures from the 1950s,
'60s and '70s now only make around a third of what they did 20
years ago, reckons Bonhams' Mark Oliver). Accordingly, where they
once held entire sales devoted to Doulton, the auctioneers now have
to severely limit the Burslem figure intake to what is still in
demand, which tends to be rare, early pieces, stylish Deco designs
or the trial models and rare colourways.
As case in point was The Coquette HN20, a rare figure
produced from 1913-38, which tipped its guide to take £3200.
The buyer's premium was 25/20/10%.