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Thirty-six pieces from the Limehouse, Bow, Vauxhall and Lund’s Bristol factories will carry price tags from £900- 18,000 from May 3-12.

Although once the owner of more than 200 pieces of blue and white, in time Spero’s collecting focus became the wares from the 1740s and ’50s – the beginnings of an enterprise that came to epitomise the Industrial Revolution.

New to collectors

He describes it as “a very private collection”, including pieces he has owned since the 1960s and others that will be new to the collecting community. “All are special to me in some way. Choosing my utmost favourite is a tussle between intellectual preferences and those shaped by associations, memories and emotions.”

Spero plumbs for a Bow vase with an incised R mark c.1746-48 that he bought at Christie’s in the 1990s with a determination that “completely overruled my self-imposed injunctions as a collector”.

He told ATG the decision to sell next month reflected, in part, his desire to “be in control of the where, when and how the collection is sold”.

He added that “the loss I will feel after 54 years will be lessened by the enjoyment I’ve had writing the catalogue and the knowledge that these pieces will be sold to customers who have become friends.”

The anecdote-packed catalogue offers both vignettes from porcelain connoisseurship and Spero’s ideas for areas of future scholarship, including a chronology for early Bow wares.

The dealer, who sold his collection of Worcester and other pieces of Lund’s in May 2011, is not done collecting, however.

His focus of attention is now white-glazed wares, particularly early Chelsea and dry-edged Derby pieces.