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Their thrown material of generally practical pieces such as teapots, bowls and dishes lacks the glamour of indemand sculptural ceramics but has its faithful following of collectors.

Leach’s material, all from his Lowerdown Pottery in Bovey Tracey, ranged in price from £130 on a 6½in (17cm) tall stoneware teapot, with temoku glaze and bamboo handle, to a tripleestimate £450 for a 12¾in (32.5cm) tall Willow shouldered vase also with tenmoku glaze.

Keeler material from the collection included a 15in (38cm) wide two-handled green and blue stoneware plate at £190 and a rather bizarre saltglaze stoneware teapot. Standing 7½in (19cm) tall, it resembled a watering can with its drum form and long tube spout and doubled expectations at £1100.

The section was hardly expected to match the importance of the Herrmann Collection which W&W specialist Michael Jeffrey sold in December (ATG No 2324), but did include most of the major names, often at affordable prices.

Major names at affordable prices

James Tower’s 9in (22.5cm) wide footed dish painted in resist with geometric panels quadrupled estimate at £1600; a John Maltby trademark spade vase, 10in (25cm) tall but catalogued as ‘smashed and re-stuck’ still took a tripleestimate £600 and an Emmanuel Cooper shallow footed painted bowl, 9in (22cm) diameter, made £900, five times the lower estimate.

A 15in (39cm) diameter stoneware bowl by Hans Coper, decorated with fish or bird motif, failed to get away against hopes of £16,000-18,000, leaving the section to be led, almost inevitably, by Lucie Rie.

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Lucie Rie bottle vase – £6800 at Woolley & Wallis.

Her 10¼in (26cm) tall ovoid stoneware bottle vase with incised and waisted cylindrical neck took £6800.

That was a mid-estimate bid, as was the £2200 which secured her 8½in (21cm) diameter flaring porcelain bowl covered to the foot with a pale blue and buff banded glaze.

For budget-conscious collectors who want a major name in their cabinet, works produced by Rie and Coper together are generally the best option.

At W&W a set of five off-white tea cups (one with a hairline crack) and six saucers was pitched at £1000-1500 and sold at £2000.