Sixteen pieces of Martin Brothers pottery were stolen during a break-in at Southall Library in May 2005 with 24 more items taken in March 2007 from Pitzhanger Manor House. Last autumn a bird jar was recovered with the help of art pottery specialist Alison Davey of AD Antiques and Christopher Marinello of Art Recovery International (ATG No 2469).
A ‘Barrister’ face jug c.1900 taken from Pitzhanger Manor House was spotted in early 2020 on eBay by Martinware collector and researcher, Nigel Wilson.
Local law enforcement had been unable to recover the piece before the listing was removed but after the recent publicity over the recovery of a Wally bird in autumn and a renewed focus on the stolen items, the location of this jug emerged.
Marinello, working pro-bono for Ealing Council’s museums, negotiated the unconditional return of the piece from a London dealer.
In December 2020 ATG published a list of the outstanding Martinware items that include 11 bird jars, six face jugs, a dragon spoon warmer, an imp musician, a model of Pickwick, a queen chess piece and the upper tier of a fountain.
Marinello added: “I am grateful to the ATG. Without its press coverage and archive, we would not have gotten this one back.”