Desire Leroy for Royal Crown Derby vases – £7200 at Adam Partridge.

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He enjoyed a status far above the average pot painter: famously he travelled to the Omaston Road factory in a horse-drawn carriage dressed in a silk top hat and carrying a cane.

Leroy’s work still carries a premium today. Two vases and covers offered at Adam Partridge (20% buyer’s premium) in Macclesfield on October 31 as a single lot both had signed Leroy floral vignettes and the bonus of gilt and turquoise jewelled decoration. The larger of the two stood 5½in (14cm) high.

Estimated at a very modest £200- 300, they sold to an internet bidder for £7200 (estimate £200-300).


Moorcroft Eventide vase – £6200 also at Adam Partridge.

A Moorcroft vase also went well beyond expectations. This rare flambé Eventide pattern lidded ginger jar was unusually large at 10½in (26.5cm) and bore the William Moorcroft signature and impressed marks to the base.

A small chip to the underside of the rim and minor scratches to the lid along with some manufacturing imperfections kept the estimate down to £800-1200 but the vase sold at £6200.

Commercial success


Part of an Aynsley tea service – £3200 at Special Auction Services.

A stalwart Staffordshire pottery less frequently mentioned on these pages is Aynsley.

However, a part tea service from the Longton firm was fully appreciated by bidders at Special Auction Services’ (17.5% buyer’s premium) Newbury sale on November 5.

Founded in 1775 by John Aynsley, the firm remained a consistently commercial success to the point that in 1970 Spode, Derbyware and Waterford Glass all competed to buy it – victory going to Waterford. It was then sold to Belleek in 1997 which closed the factory five years ago.

As well as longevity, Aynsley had appeal to at least two discriminating customer bases: the royal family, including the late Queen Mother and Diana Princess of Wales, and to the Romany community, among whom it has apparently been something of a status symbol.

Aynsley specialised in pretty transfer-printed china – much of it the stuff of charity shops and boot fairs. Each of the 20 pieces in this mid-20th century service at SAS was hand decorated with floral sprays by Joseph Bailey, who was employed at Aynsley from 1937-74 and is considered their finest flower painter.

Estimated at £400-600, the lot, part-illustrated on this page, sold to a UK buyer in the room at £3200.