Toby jug
Toby jug formed as a viola da gamba player – £22,000 at Bonhams.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Among the highlights at the auction on June 5 was a private collection of Staffordshire Toby jugs that produced the highest price among the pottery lots at the auction.

A rare jug from c.1785 from the so-called Midshipman family, fashioned as a musician playing the viola da gamba, was one of five jugs that were all formerly in the collection of Lord Mackintosh of Halifax.

Formed with the fiddle-sized viol placed between the figure’s legs and playing it with a bow in the manner of a cello, the 7in (18cm) high jug was attributed to Jacob Marsh.

According to the Mackintosh catalogue and to Vic Schuler's list updated in 1999, only one other example of this Toby jug is recorded, although that version lacks a viola da gamba.

Estimated at £15,000-2000, it sold at £22,000.

Swansea record

Swansea porcelain

Swansea porcelain ice pail cover and liner – £38,000 at Bonhams.

A feature of these auctions is a section devoted to Welsh ceramics: notably porcelain from the factories of Swansea and Nantgarw.

The June auction was led by an impressive 8in (20cm) high Swansea porcelain ice pail, cover and liner made at the factory c.1815-17. It has been finely decorated in a London workshop with botanical specimens that include a passion flower and an anemone and has gilt borders of scrolls and classical motifs.

Two services with this pattern are recorded, the Gosford Castle and the Marquis of Exeter service. This pail comes from the former and has a Gosford Castle collection paper label. It was also in the Leslie Joseph collection and last sold at auction back in 1980.

This time it made £38,000 hammer against an estimate of £20,000-30,000.

Bohemian jug

Bohemian cobalt blue jug dated 1599

Bohemian cobalt blue jug dated 1599 - £20,000 at Bonhams.

Heading an opening 88-lot section at Bonhams devoted to English and Continental glass and paperweights was an early Bohemian cobalt blue jug decorated to the body with a continuous scene of a fox hunt and dated 1599 to the cylindrical neck.

It doubled an £8000-12,000 estimate to sell for £20,000.