Omega Workshops turquoise glazed bowl, £5800 at Tayler & Fletcher.

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The clue to its appeal was its very handmade appearance and the impressed mark to the base with the Greek letter omega.

Although Omega Workshops creations were typically produced anonymously, most of the pottery is thought to have been made by Roger Fry.

He began designing and making his own ceramics in the autumn of 1913, learning the basics of throwing and glazing clay first under the Surrey potter George Schenk and then at Carter & Co in Poole.


Omega Workshops turquoise glazed bowl, detail of the mark, £5800 at Tayler & Fletcher.

While Fry’s technical skills were limited, these wares have since become important to the Bloomsbury Group story and an addendum to the wider history of British studio ceramics.

Only rarely do they come to the market.

At 22in (55cm) this bowl offered in the Bourton-on-the-Water saleroom must rank among the largest pieces made by Fry.

Firing it presented some challenges with three 2cm cracks appearing in the body and a lot of kiln dirt mottling the surface. The underside of the foot is unglazed.

The price paid on on May 13 probably represented something of a bargain for the online buyer.

New highs

Ceramics by the Omega Workshops rose to unprecedented heights at Woolley & Wallis in March 2022.

A small collection of pottery by Roger Fry ranged from a broken and reglued plate with blue outline decoration (£2500) to £10,000 for a charger in a monochrome tin glaze with a single turquoise splash to the rim. Guided at £1000-1500 but sold at a mighty £20,500 was a 7in (17cm) diameter plate painted with two cranes in red lustre on a tin-glaze.

Despite the best efforts of its directors, Omega struggled financially and closed after six difficult years. In June 1919, as an ‘everything must go’ sale began, Fry wrote to his friend Michael Saddler saying: “The utter indifference …of the public to what we have attempted has brought Omega to disaster.”