1. Bretby Art Pottery – £1450
In the commercial sphere, the products of the Bretby Art Pottery can appear a poor relation to other British art potters of the period. Most pieces by the factory, founded by Henry Tooth and William Ault in 1882, can be bought for under £100. An exception is the small series of ambitious productions in the Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts styles.
Pictured above is a lot of four pieces sold for an unexpected £1450 (estimate 60-100) at Adam Partridge of Macclesfield on June 27. In addition to two pieces with streaked brown-green glazes in the manner of Christopher Dresser’s Linthorpe Pottery (where Henry Tooth had worked prior to his move to Derbyshire) was a striking ‘dragon’ vase akin to the grotesques produced at Burmantofts among others.
All were large pieces with the dragon vase standing almost 16in (39cm) high.
2. Rare cricket book – £6400
Disbound, but complete and still in the original covers, this 1830 first of William North’s Correct Account of all the Cricket Matches Played by the Nottingham Old Cricket Club from 1771 to 1829 came into bat in a recent Staffordshire sale with an estimate of just £50-100, but went on to score £6400. An online bidder won it.
Offered as part of June 25, Lichfield sale held by Richard Winterton, this rare little work (priced at the time at one shilling) incorporated an addendum detailing results from the years 1830-35, and also contained five pages of pasted-in match reports from the year 1836.
David Rayvern Allen’s work on Early Cricket Books reveals that North was a schoolmaster who at the age of 31 gave up that career to become an ‘Inspector of Corn Returns’.
3. Victorian ebonised tub chair – £1500
Estimated at just £40-60, this late Victorian ebonised tub chair sold for £1500 at Clarke & Simpson in Framlington on July 1.
This house clearance find was in the Anglo-Japanese style made famous by the designer EW Godwin.
4. Russian Gardner figures – €6000
The Patriotic War of 1812 stirred up powerful feelings of national pride in Russia. Following the lead of the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory, the Gardner factory in Moscow began production of a series of porcelain figures based on idealised Russian characters – typically peasants, vendors, tradesmen and other lower-class craftsmen and manufacturers.
Together they presented a romantic image of old Russia and the different ethnic groups who lived in the empire. They are widely collected today across the countries that made up the former USSR – as evidenced by the group offered for sale at Adams in Dublin on June 30.
Two of this small collection, estimated at €1000-1500 each, sold at €6000 apiece including this 7in (18cm) figure of a cheesemonger.
5. Wedgwood Fairyland lustre malfrey pot and cover – £15,000
Nottingham auctioneer Nigel Kirk was recently invited to value the estate of a local gentleman who had been a saleroom regular. He was amazed to find an impressive ‘right under my nose’ collection of Wedgwood Fairyland lustre, evidently acquired in the 1970s.
There were some important pieces including this 14in (25cm) high malfrey’ pot and cover offered for sale at Mellors & Kirk on June 26. It is decorated in the desirable Ghostly Wood pattern and to the cover with the Owls of Wisdom. The market for these pieces (typically based in the US and Canada) is softer today that it was a decade ago but it nonetheless sold to an internet bidder at the lower end of a £15,000-20,000 estimate.