THE first slice of the Longridge collection of early British pottery and European vernacular works of art, formed over 30 years by American Syd Levethan, was sold in two sessions for £2.93m by Christie's in King Street on June 10-11.
A market-defining sale, replete with all of the current strengths and weaknesses of this traditional collecting area, it included museum-quality objects such as this 15in (38cm) Southwark delft dish, painted with Saint George slaying the dragon and inscribed John Ayres, 1637.
It is a true document of the Stuart period.
Made for a prosperous tailor who worked in the City of London, and to a form known in contemporary records as 'clapmash' dishes for their similarity to Dutch sailor's hats, it carries the initials of the painter to the reverse, almost certainly the same hand who decorated an equestrian charger of the same date in the Glaisher collection.
Last on the market in February 1995 when it sold at Sotheby's for £50,000, it reappeared here to sell at £95,000 (plus five per cent import VAT and 25/20/12 per cent buyer's premium). It was knocked down to specialist Garry Atkins.
The top lot of the sale was another large George and the Dragon dish, but in press-moulded slipware made by Samuel Malkin, probably at Lazencroft near Leeds, c.1730. It prompted one of the bigger bidding battles of the second day selling over the telephone at £145,000 (estimate £50,000-80,000).