A Wedgwood pearlware comport decorated in the Water Lily or Lotus pattern c.1820, pictured on the dust jacket of Bill Coysh’s Blue-Printed Earthenware 1800- 1850. Sold at £260.

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Together with Dick Henrywood he penned what remains the standard two-volume reference work – The Dictionary of Blue and White Printed Pottery 1780-1880 – plus two additional pioneering books on the topic.

The Coysh collection of blue and white transfer printed wares was offered for sale at Andrew Smith & Son (24% buyer’s premium) in Itchen Stoke, Winchester on February 6. Many of the 180 pieces, sold in 77 lots, had been pictured in the collecting bible. The vendor was Coysh’s niece.

With the exception of a handful of well-known rarities, blue and white transfer printed wares are no longer the stuff of four-figure sums.

“If we had offered the collection 20 years ago we might have done a single sale – but I was encouraged by the response,” said auctioneer and managing director Janice Smith.

Print sources

Leading the collection at £800 (estimate £150-200) was a pair of Spode Caramanian series pearlware chestnut baskets and stands. One basket was discoloured but there was no damage.

Both were decorated with a view of the Sarcophagi at Cacamo within a border of rhinoceros, cattle, figures and huts – a scene taken from the print after L Mayer titled Sarcophagi & Sepulchres at the Head of the Harbour of Cacamo. A framed copy of the aquatint was included with the lot.


A pair of Spode Caramanian pearlware chestnut baskets and stands, £800.

Coysh and Henrywood went to significant lengths to trace the sources for the myriad of Georgian and Victorian transfer prints.

In the Dictionary, a John Rogers & Son plate c.1820 decorated with the Montopteros pattern, titled Remains of an Ancient Building near Firoz Shah’s Cotilla, Delhi, was pictured together with a (heavily foxed) aquatint of the same view taken from Thomas Daniell’s Oriental Scenery.

Both were offered here as a single lot, sold at £200. The primary attraction was the print: in better condition it can command a four-figure sum.

The range of Staffordshire wares created for the American market operate in different financial territory. There was one piece here: a Rogers pearlware pierced basket and stand decorated with a panoramic view of the Boston State House c.1820 which was purchased by a dealer at £400.

Additional highlights included an 8in (20cm) ale jug c.1840 decorated with a marksman wearing a top hat shooting a bird with three gun dogs (a pattern dubbed Shooting with Dogs) which sold at £360. Two pearlware bourdalous, one decorated with the Castle Gateway pattern, and another decorated with the ‘Parisian Basket’ design, took £280 and £320 respectively.