Tuesday - 09 February 2016

Martin Brothers bird flies to record £75,000

20 June 2014Written by Roland Arkell

Knocking others off their perch, Salisbury’s Woolley & Wallis improved upon their own auction record for Martin Brothers with the £75,000 sale of this bird jar to Gloucestershire British art pottery dealers AD Antiques.

Standing 14in (35cm) high and dated 9-1898, it was deemed a particularly characterful creation with a knowing glance, plumage heightened in blue and green, and a broad flat beak glazed in iridescent brown. It was in perfect condition and was sold with its original ebonised wood base and a paper factory label still adhered to the neck.

The estimate for the auction on June 19 was £20,000-30,000 and the price, with the 22% buyer's premium added, was £91,500.

A 16½in (42cm) high bird jar dated 1891 held the previous high for Martin Brothers when it took £67,000 at the equivalent sale in 2013. Prior to that the record was set by the Salisbury rooms in November 2012 when a gargoyle fetched £50,000.

Also bettering these sums last week was another 14in (35cm) high Robert Wallace Martin bird from the same source - a house in Hampshire where both birds had been shown under glass domes which were glued fast to the bases.

Incised R W Martin & Bros, 2-1899, London & Southall, and again with a paper label to the neck, it sold for £70,000, again to AD Antiques, who bought the top three lots in a 44-lot Martinware section that collectively took £315,620.

Alison Davey of AD Antiques told specialist Michael Jeffery the two birds were the first she had seen that merited 10/10.


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