While anthropomorphic bird figures have long been seen as the most desirable products of the Martin Brothers’ art pottery, recently there has been an upsurge in demand for their equally characterful grotesque models.

The grotesque Martinware jar – £50,000 at Woolley and Wallis.

This jar, inscribed and dated 1900 and fashioned as a tonsured figure grasping its chest with long taloned figures, stole the show at Woolley and Wallis' British Art pottery and 20th century design auction in Salisbury on November 28.

Estimated to fetch £30,000-35,000, the 6½in (16.5cm) figure was knocked down for £50,000 (plus 22% premium) to the art pottery dealer George Kingham, bidding on the phone against underbidding from the room.

The price is thought be a new auction high for Martinware pottery.