Moorcroft Waving Corn pattern exhibition vase

Moorcroft Waving Corn pattern exhibition vase, £4900 at Fieldings.

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1. Moorcroft exhibition vase – £4900

The series of relatively austere Art Deco wares made by Moorcroft in the 1930s are, today at least, not the factory’s most commercial designs. However, these pared-back tube lined designs were well received in Paris at the time.

Moorcroft won an award at the famous 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes – the event that gave Art Deco its name – and again at the international expo in 1937. 

A vase from the 1937 exhibition was offered at Fieldings in Stourbridge as part of the Decades of Design sale on March 16. Measuring just shy of 20in (50cm), it assumes a swollen tapering form that is decorated in the salt glazed Waving Corn pattern. To the base is the hand painted mark Made for the Paris Exhibition 1937 plus a paper label for the Moorcroft Museum.

Estimated at £500-800 it took £4900. A more typical example of the Waving Corn pattern, a 13in (32cm) high cylindrical form vase, sold at £220.

Moorcroft Waving Corn pattern exhibition vase

The base to the Moorcroft Waving Corn vase carries the inscription Made for the Paris Exhibition 1937.

The Stourbridge firm was selling more than 100 lots from the archives of W. Moorcroft Ltd. The collection, still displayed in the original Liberty & Co oak cabinets that William Moorcroft originally used at the 1924 British Empire Exhibition in Wembley, is being thinned out to allow for the arrival of new pieces. These duplicates or trial pieces, carrying paper labels for the Moorcroft Museum begun by founder William Moorcroft in 1913, were given affordable estimates from £30 to £1500.

Another vase to generate serious competition was also an exhibition piece – a massive 2ft 3in (66cm) tapering baluster form decorated in a streaked flambe glaze with copper green and purple patches and spotting.

Devoid of Moorcroft’s trademark tube lining, it is again indicative of the more experimental wares of the 1930s, this one carrying a paper label for the Royal Academy Exhibition of British Art in Industry 1935. Estimated at £400-600, it took £4600.

2. ‘Cricket at Windsor Castle’ meat dish – £4400

Cricket At Windsor Castle meat dish

Goodwin & Harris ‘Cricket at Windsor Castle’ meat dish, £4400 at Knights Sporting Auctions.

By far the most desirable wares from the Goodwin & Harris ‘Metropolitan Scenery’ series of transfer printed earthenwares are those featuring cricketers in the grounds of Windsor Great Park.

Made c.1830, the scene (taken from an earlier, probably late 18th century print) depicts a match to the foreground with Windsor Castle and the Thames beyond.

This ‘well and tree’ dish measuring 19in (48cm) across is the largest of the series. It is in decent condition although it has some restoration to the underside and a rim chip. It was last offered as part of the landmark Keith Crump auction at Dreweatts in September 2006. It reappeared at Knights Sporting Auctions in Norwich on March 18 where, estimated at £1500-2000, it took £4400.

A slightly smaller meat dish in the ‘Cricket at Windsor Castle’ pattern was sold by Knights in July 2021 for £1400.

Keith Crump, a former Oxfordshire master butcher and active member of the Wootton Bassett Cricket Club, had a remarkable collection of cricketing ceramics including one of the earliest pieces of the genre – a £9500 creamware jug with a print entitled Grand Cricket Match Played In Lord's Ground Mary-Le-Bone June 20. The match, won by 10 wickets by the Earl of Winchelsea's MCC team, was held in 1793.

3. Deluxe copy of Keats – £48,000

Keats’ Endymion

Deluxe copy of Keats’ Endymion, Golden Cockerel Press, including the original illustrations, £48,000 at Chiswick Auctions.

Among the private press works offered at the sale of Books and Works on Paper at Chiswick Auctions on March 16 was a very special copy of Keats’ Endymion published by the Golden Cockerel Press in 1947.

Number 500 from an edition of 500, this copy was specially bound in vellum by Sangorski and Sutcliffe for the artist John Buckland Wright who had provided the 58 wood-engraved illustrations.

Bound in are 82 original pencil designs while all the engravings in a total of 300 states come housed in a separate cloth solander box.

Estimated at £6000-8000, it raced away to bring £48,000.

4. Elizabeth Haselwood silver mug – £5800

Elizabeth Haselwood silver

William and Mary silver mug by Elizabeth Haselwood, £5800 at John Nicholson.

The Assay Office in Norwich finally closed 1702, so secular objects that bear the city’s mark are rare. Rarer still are pieces bearing the mark of the only woman silversmith registered in Norwich towards the end of that period.

One such piece is this William and Mary silver mug, dated for Norwich 1696, which came for sale at John Nicholson’s in Fernhurst on March 16.

The EH to this William and Mary mug, struck for Norwich 1696, is the mark for Elizabeth Haselwood (1644-1715), a member of the Haslewood family of silversmiths that prospered for three generations from around 1625-1740. Elizabeth took over the workshop when her husband Arthur Haselwood II died in 1684. Then aged around 40, she ran the business – a large concern – until her death in 1715, probably hiring other smiths to complete the work. On her death the business passed to her son Arthur.

Elizabeth Haselwood silver

William and Mary silver mug by Elizabeth Haselwood, £5800 at John Nicholson.

Examples of Elizabeth Haselwood’s work include a c.1695 tobacco box in the collection of the National Museum of Women in the Arts and a c.1685 beaker in the Royal Collection.

The top estimate for this rare mug was £5000 and it did a little better, selling at £5800.

Elizabeth Haselwood and her husband are buried in the same tomb in St Andrew’s Church, Norwich. A trefid spoon by Arthur Haslewood II dated 1676 sold for £3800 at Chiswick Auctions in London last October, while back in 2007 Sworders sold a cannon-handled basting spoon by Elizabeth Haselwood, Norwich, 1697 for £4600.

5. ‘Croix de Lorraine’ table – £6000

Croix de Lorraine table

16th century French ‘Croix de Lorraine’ table with 19th century elements, £6000 at Sworders.

More than 70 lots in Sworders’ Fine Interiors sale on March 14-15 came from the collection of the late John Scott-Oldfield, a Cambridge athletics blue and Harlequins rugby player turned titan of the corporate world.

The interior of his flat in London, SW1 was a textbook example of blending periods and styles – a thoughtful mixture of objects from Renaissance Europe, Qing Dynasty China and Georgian England.

A French ‘Croix de Lorraine’ table was the family fining table. Renaissance era draw-leaf dining tables of this sort, take their title from the shape of the stretcher, are commonly linked with the Loire Valley although ultimately follow the designs and motifs of Tuscan architecture.

This one was formerly in the collection of Georges Hoentschel (1855-1915), the successful Parisian decorator and proprietor of Maison Leys and then the American financier John Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913). Accessioned to the Metropolitan Museum, New York in 1916, it was deaccessioned at Sotheby’s in 1995 – probably as it is now known to be a fabrication of 16th and 19th century elements. Given a guide of £6000-8000, it got away at the low estimate.