Wedgwood Fairyland lustre vase
A Wedgwood Fairyland lustre vase decorated with the Temple on a Rock pattern which sold for $50,000 (£40,000) at Skinner in Boston. Image Courtesy of Skinner, Inc: www.skinnerinc.com.

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The distinctive Fairyland lustre ornamental pieces, which were the brainchild of Daisy Makeig-Jones and were produced over a relatively short span of time, are quite different from the unglazed jasper and smooth-glazed creamwares for which the factory is most famous.

They combined bright colours, lustre glazes and gilding with whimsical motifs to create a fantasy world of sprites, fairies and goblins in exotic architectural, oriental and woodland settings.

US auction house Skinner in Boston offered a rather spectacular and substantially-sized example of the genre in its European furniture and decorative arts auction on July 13. It was part of the Spak collection of Wedgwood included in this sale with proceeds going to benefit Florida International University.

Temple on a Rock design

A large, 19¼in (49cm) high, covered vase decorated in the so-called Temple on a Rock design (pattern number Z4968) and dated to c.1920 was estimated to make in the region of $15,000-25,000 but far surpassed that level. After initial bidding from the room, the lot was battled out by two phones with the hammer falling finally at $50,000 (£40,000) plus premium. The buyer was the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

“It was a wonderful example,” said Skinner’s specialist Stuart Slavid, who singled out its size and rarity observing that, along with the Dragon King vase, it is one of the two largest produced in the Fairyland range and only rarely comes up for sale.