Wedgwood vase of ancient volute krater form with encaustic decoration – $11,000 (£8460) at Skinner.

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More than 700 lots appeared at Skinner (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) in Marlborough, Massachusetts, in two European furniture and decorative arts sales held online from November 30 to December 12 and live on December 9.

The variety included dispelled any pre-sale concerns about whether the market could support the volume on offer, said the auction house, with interest from the US, Europe and the Asian subcontinent. The auctions’ overall selling rate was 94% by lot.

A slice of the Wedgwood came from a New York city estate that also featured a selection of ancient Greek and south Italian pottery included in the December 9 sale and reported in ATG No 2473.

The collector had focused on Wedgwood’s encaustic decorated black basalt wares, which were inspired by those ancient attic vases.

These included a 19th century encaustic 2ft 1in (63.5cm) tall vase based on an ancient vessel for holding wine and water known as a volute krater. Decorated with a battle scene in red with white highlights, it took $11,000 (£8460).

A 20in (51cm) high vase dated to the mid 19th century and painted with a frieze of figures holding spears easily outpaced a $2000-4000 guide to take $22,000 (£16,925). A pair of 12in (30cm) high vases with upturned loop handles dated to the early 19th century and with decoration of friezes of antique figures to the bodies were also guided at $2000-4000 and sold for $7500 (£5670).


Pair of gilded black basalt ewers for wine and water – $29,000 (£22,310) at Skinner.

Beyond the attic-inspired pieces, a pair of 15in (38cm) high gilded black basalt wine and water ewers dated to the late 19th century attracted considerable competition.

The water ewer featured a Triton seated on the shoulder with arms encircling the spout and foliate festoons to the body, while the wine vessel had a figure of Bacchus and fruiting grapevines.

The $2000-4000 estimate was left behind with bidding taking it to no less than $29,000 (£22,310).

Pegasus and Medusa


Black jasper vase decorated with a figural frieze of the Apotheosis of Homer – $21,000 (£16,155) at Skinner.

Plenty of interest emerged too for a large 2ft 2in (66cm) high 19th century black jasper covered vase decorated in white relief with the Apotheosis of Homer in a classical figure frieze to the body and with a finial formed as Pegasus and Medusa mask and snake handles. Estimated at $2000-3000, it ended up taking $21,000 (£16,155).

Alongside these highlights, with so much on offer there were opportunities to buy more modest pieces of Wedgwood caneware, jasper, basalt or rosso antico such as tablewares and plaques at prices in the low four figures or, in the case of the online auction, for three-figure sums.

Although Wedgwood in many decorative forms dominated the ceramics in this sale, it included a mid-20th century Royal Copenhagen 68-piece Flora Danica service. This made another of the top prices when it sold for $17,000 (£13,075).

£1 = $1.30