As the collecting base evolves, established single-owner collections covering all kinds of ceramic categories from the broad to the highly specialised, now crop up regularly: sometimes as a stand-alone event, on other occasions within a dedicated ceramics sale or part of a larger, mixed-discipline auction.
There have been instances of collections in all these categories dispersed in the first months of this year. In the UK they included pieces from the Vater collection at Roseberys, Anthony du Boulay’s European ceramics offered as part of an estate sale at Duke’s and the John Buckingham English porcelain figure collection and David Stopher English porcelain collection in Woolley & Wallis’ latest Fine Pottery and Porcelain sale.
Further afield, Freeman’s offered the first instalment of the Rubin collection of Wedgwood in Philadelphia while Gibson’s in Victoria sold Royal Worcester from the collection of Kenneth and Gloria Ely.
In this edition ATG reviews some of the highlights from the UK auctions as well as a selection of individual ceramic results of note recorded at other auctions across the UK. An international selection will follow in a future edition.
A substantial section of the Fine & Decorative sale at Roseberys (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) in south London on February 21 was given over to ceramics from the Vater collection.
This was a wide-ranging academic group put together by Robert G and Ilse Vater in the 20th century with pieces from many of the key factories and pottery-making centres from the Renaissance to the early 19th century and was particularly notable for its German ceramics.
Some of the collection was sold by Christie’s in December 2021 but the 80 lots offered at Roseberys were extra pieces. The West Norwood sale generated considerable interest, said the auction house, with lots of Continental bidders and some new clients.
While plenty of Meissen porcelain (and some porcelain from other German factories such as Höchst, Frankenthal and Fürstenburg) was included, some of the strongest results were achieved in the less often encountered field of German faience.
Ansbach on top
Heading the bill was a piece from Ansbach: a 22in (55cm) octagonal rectangular tray of c.1730.
The town of Ansbach, Mittelfranken, became famous as a centre of faience manufacture in the 18th century. The so-called ‘Ansbach Grüne Famille’ made in imitation of Kangxi famille verte and Japanese kakiemon were its most celebrated wares with the decorator Johann Kaspar Rib (1681-1726), who also worked at factories in Nuremberg, Bayreuth, Braunschweig and Zerbst, a key figure in its early history.
The tray was painted in the Kakiemon taste with a green border reserved with mons and vignettes of birds in flowering shrubs, centred by two large armorials. It was not in good condition: as well as some surface wear, a large crescent-shaped section of the rim had been broken and re-stuck with further areas of restoration disguising hairline cracks. However, as a very rare survivor from this prime period of the factory it sold at £14,000 (estimate £1000-1500).
Also notable were two covered tureens on fixed stands from the Göggingen factory in south-west Germany naturalistically shaped and decorated as melons and a German faience lobed circular dish.
The tureens, which had a leafy stems forming the handles, were dated to the third quarter of the 18th century, came with a manganese gögging mark, and both measured 9½in (24 cm) wide. They sold for £3800 and £3600 against guides of £1500-2000.
The 13¾in (35cm) diameter dish was painted to the border with roman numerals to resemble a clock face (but with the numbers I and VII omitted) and had a lengthy rhyming inscription in gothic script in a cartouche to the centre surmounted by a figure of a man dressed in black hat and robes holding a money bag and a sausage with a boar’s head nearby.
It took £5000 against a guide of £1000-1500.
Another faience highlight was produced in the Iberian Peninsula.
This was a 10in (25cm) high Portuguese ewer with a pewter mount and cover, dated to c.1640 and painted predominantly in blue with yellow highlights with a portrait of a woman within a roundel to the body and a mask spout. It sold for £9000 via thesaleroom.com.
While not a German piece, the catalogue noted that quantities of Portuguese wares were imported to Hamburg in the 17th century so this piece may have been part of such a shipment.