The scent of success

PUBLISHED: 12:56 15 June 2009 | UPDATED: 15:17 20 February 2013

Ceramics at Bonhams' Saleroom

Ceramics at Bonhams' Saleroom

Gerry Berwyn-Jones discusses some of the pieces on offer in the Ceramics & Glassware sale at Bonhams' saleroom in Knowle

Gerry Berwyn-Jones discusses some of the pieces on offer in the Ceramics & Glassware sale at Bonhams' saleroom in Knowle

The quarterly specialist Ceramics & Glass sale in Knowle on July 8 fields many traditional wares that still attract a faithful following. For although many traditional areas, such as cranberry and Mary Gregory glass have been eschewed by the market, the items illustrated will stir the ardent collector into action.

The first piece illustrated is a Stourbridge scent bottle in its original case and with a silver gilt top, hallmarked for 1885. Stourbridge was a major centre for glass production and this scent bottle typifies the experimentation that was taking place in the glass industry at the time. The late 19th century was the heyday for novel glass and the amber/pink/blue hues reflect this popularity. The U.S.A., Bohemia and England all competed for innovative bodies and designs, and heat sensitive glass was one such innovation. This scent bottle was produced by introducing metal solutions, such as gold, into the molten glass. By reheating another colour would often be created. It is more than likely that this piece was produced by Thomas Webb & Sons, as they produced many heat-sensitive forms of glassware from Queens Burmese (green/yellow to pink) to Peach Blow ware (yellow to red).

There are collectors for both Stourbridge glass and scent bottles and the two groups will have to battle it out. The estimate is £300-500.

Another very traditional collecting field is creamware and the creamware nautilus shaped pedestal bowl illustrated is part of a small service to be auctioned. It was made by Josiah Wedgwood's factory in the early 19th century (circa 1820). Ironically this pottery was very reasonably priced in its day and when combined with its attractive light, thin, strong, cream coloured body, decorated with a thin lead glaze its international success was assured. Large quantities were exported to the continent, Catherine II of Russia was one illustrious client, and it was so popular that in 1766 Queen Charlotte ordered a large dessert service too, whereupon creamware was renamed Queensware.

Its success not only lay in its appeal to both the upper and middle classes, but also in its versatility. It was printed, painted and enamelled in an array of different styles. This example demonstrates the former two processes in a Japanesque style, popular in the Regency period. This small service is expected to realise between £200 and £300.

The third item illustrated is a Lowestoft sauceboat dating to approximately 1770. Products from this factory are very desirable as they are relatively rare (the factory operated from 1757 to 1799) and difficult to identify. In the 18th century few factories marked their products. Pre-1775 Lowestoft porcelain often had blue tally numbers painted on the foot rim and sometimes dashes were painted on each side of the handle and spout. However, attribution will also hinge on the body, shape, glazes and decoration employed. This piece is estimated at £200-300.

As always Royal Worcester is well represented. The dessert dish illustrated is one of a pair by Albert Shuck and bears the date marks for 1926. Albert Shuck is not one of the pre-eminent Worcester artists, such as the Stintons or Charlie Baldwyn, but his examples are still well contended and, like all pre-WWII painted and signed Royal Worcester porcelain, is highly collectable. Interestingly, this good quality pair of dishes, which reflects the aim of the company to produce good quality porcelain, were expensive to produce owing to the numerous firings and not the time entailed to paint the scenes, as the skilled artists were paid as little as 6p per plate! The pair is estimated at £400-600.

Whether expensive or relatively cheap at the time of production, all are still popular and ironically the sauceboat and creamware that were produced as everyday household china are now as sought after as the scent bottle and Royal Worcester dishes.

Gerry Berwyn-Jones, BA(Hons), MRICS, is a senior value and auctioneer at Bonhams' saleroom in Knowle

Contact tel: 01564 776151 or email:


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