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Demand was strong for the first two categories but there was little interest in the third. The auctioneers have been holding these late summer sales of collectable British ceramics in various permutations for many years now. This year’s was smaller than usual, stripped of the Beswick and Chintz wares that swelled last summer’s equivalent event (those are now included in the auctioneers’ more general sale of British decorative arts). In total 175 lots went under the hammer, 121 of them selling and netting £85,600. As indicated, most unsold lots came from the Carlton Ware, repeating last year’s experience when it also proved sticky.

According to CSK’s specialist Michael Jeffrey, the rapid price rise of the Carlton market two or three years ago owed much to a handful of active buyers who were building up collections. Now two or three of those have taken a back seat and with demand not matching up to the price levels paid at the market’s peak, there were a lot of Carlton casualties. Even here, though, there was the odd strong result, such as the double-estimate £2600 paid for a rare twin-handled Fox design dish from the animal range that had not been seen in these rooms before.

The Poole, by contrast, saw plenty of demand, chiefly because it was largely composed of one substantial collection of the factory’s Contemporary range. There were around 200 pieces offered as 20 multiple lots of this Contemporary material, some of them Freeform designs and all decorated in the distinctive linear patterns that typify the desirable 50s look for today’s collector. This was enough volume to achieve critical mass as a competitive mix of trade and private buyers responded to the choice by carrying off all 20 lots, taking them to levels which, if not exactly retail, were nonetheless substantial.

A lot containing a couple of Freeform pieces, two vases and seven other pieces of varying size, came in at £1100, for example, while another, featuring one Freeform and four other vases, went for £680. Top Poole price was for a later one-off production from the 1960s, a large 17in (42.5cm) diameter charger by Tony Morris painted with a circus scene. This was a well-known piece but Poole enthusiasts had lost track of its whereabouts since it was last seen at auction around 10-15 years ago at Sotheby’s Chester. Its public reappearance was rewarded with a price of £2900.

The traditional Deco design Poole didn’t make such a clean sweep but there were strong prices for the more desirable pieces such as a 10in (25cm) high shouldered vase decorated by Marian Heath, whose combination of collectable shape and pattern saw it make £1600 and, perhaps more of a surprise, the £1500 paid for a vase painted by Edith Pragnell that was of similar size but in what is generally regarded as a less desirable shape.

The opening Doulton section saw all but nine of the 63 lots changing hands although one of the failures was the sale’s potential best-seller, the elaborate group Princess Badoura, which failed at £3000 against a £5000-7000 estimate. Overall Michael Jeffrey felt prices were holding up well (especially given that, unlike the other two factories, Doulton has a strong American following). The sale got off to a strong opening with a Mark Marshallesque (but unsigned), Lambeth stoneware study of a snake coiled around an apple of 1886 that realised £720 while one of the popular Deco figure designs The Bather, (HN 1238) was taken to £3000.