He worked as a chemist at the factory and was the author of the 1957 self-published book Royal Lancastrian Pottery 1900-38.
If the panel’s design is familiar that is because it is taken from two lustre-fired St George and the Dragon vases shown by Pilkington’s at the 1908 Franco-British Exhibition. Modelled by Richard Joyce to the design of Gordon Forsyth, one was sold last year at Moreton-in- Marsh saleroom Kinghams for a record £75,000.
According to Lomax, the factory thought the design was so good it would be a shame not to make more use of it. So, Forsyth transferred the decoration to a flat plane and cast six 3ft 8in x 16in (1.12m x 41cm) slabs in plaster. They were presented to prominent figures from the factory.
The original cast was retained by Pilkington until 1972 when it is believed to have been broken up. The panels given to David and Joseph Burton are thought to remain in family collections; the whereabouts of those given to William Mycock and Richard Forsyth are unknown while that given to John Chambers is now in the Peter Scott Gallery in Lancaster.
The panel (with a shallow chip and various firing hairlines) was offered on September 6 with a signed copy of Lomax’s book where it is illustrated. It was estimated at £3000- 5000 but sold at £17,000 (plus 24% buyer’s premium inc VAT) via thesaleroom.com.
The buyer, who with premium paid around £21,000, was Alison Davey of AD Antiques in Gloucestershire.
The BADA dealer was bidding on behalf of the same long-term client who had bought the vase at Kinghams.
Davey told ATG: “Interestingly his purchases are exclusively the work of Gordon Forsyth and it must now be the most important collection of Forsyth’s work in either public or private hands. His interests stemmed from a personal connection with the Forsyths who were family friends in the 1940s and 50s. My client recalls sitting on Gordon Forsyth’s knee when he was a toddler at his home in Staffordshire.”