Sworders 20th Century Art & Design Sales

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Post by Mordeep September 20th 2017, 2:40 pm

Hi all

Thought I would raise that Sworders 20th Century Art & Design auction is coming up on 10th October. Wouldn't normally mention it but they have some nice groups of studio for sale from the estate of Sally Dawson (1927-2017). Its unusually for some of the names involved to be in large groups so a bargain or two could be found. My side of things is also represented well with some good early 20th century lots, some nice copper and some rare as hens teeth wall papers.

It's on the saleroom or the auction site is below.  

https://www.sworder.co.uk/departments/20th-century-decorative-art-design

Stansted Mountfitchet Saleroom
Telephone: 01279 817778
auctions@sworder.co.uk


Last edited by Mordeep on September 20th 2017, 4:26 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Post by denbydump September 20th 2017, 3:09 pm

Hmmm the estimates on the small scraps of (albeit good) framed fabrics are
rather intersting, as I do frame some up.
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Post by studio-pots June 23rd 2021, 3:05 pm

Here's a link to Design sale on 13/14 July 2021, which contains pots from the Trevor Coldrey collection. Any monies received by him goes to the Adopt A Potter/Clay College charities. There is also a fair selection of other 20th century design:-

https://www.sworder.co.uk/auction/details/A967-design---two-day-sale---live-online/?au=978

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Post by philpot June 23rd 2021, 9:04 pm

The studio pottery is pretty much standard fare for most specialist studio pottery auctions. Phil Rogers, Mike Dodd and Jim Malone often form the backbone of many similar auctions.
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Post by philpot July 17th 2021, 8:01 am

https://www.sworder.co.uk/auction/search/?sd=2&sto=0&au=978&w=False&pn=1&mc=4

The results of the ceramics the July sale. No surprises there really.
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Post by croker July 17th 2021, 1:14 pm

As you say no surprises but interesting that the Maltby didn't sell. In the gaze sale only the rocking boat and one other small piece sold with no apparent bidding interest in the three higher estimated pieces. Has he peaked ? after all there has been a lot of Maltby on the market in the past year.
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Post by philpot July 17th 2021, 4:55 pm

I don't think it has peaked. It has just moved on to his more sculptural work. The vessel based pieces that have been unsold have certainly not been anywhere his best work, which is probably in the hands of Private collectors and not being sold.
           I have heard his sculptural stuff called 'cute' Laughter. I think it certainly has a very strong appeal to new female collectors who may well  not be into studio ceramics. The Cheffins sale back in May had three Maltby   sculptural pieces that sold for over £3000 with all over high prices for his sculptural stuff of which there was a fair number in the sale.
https://www.cheffins.co.uk/fine-art/catalogue-view,the-art-design-sale_190.htm
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Post by croker July 17th 2021, 5:28 pm

In actual fact Gazes only sold one Maltby piece, the pieces unsold were two of his standing sculptures and a sculptural wall mounted piece also small pottery piece ,the only piece sold was a rocking ship wall ornament.
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Post by philpot July 17th 2021, 5:43 pm

The trouble with Gaze's is that generally there is a lot of run of the mill studio pottery in their auctions, with a leavening of a few more worthwhile pieces. So whether they attract the interest of the more serious (Read ££££££! Laughter) I am not too sure.
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Post by croker July 17th 2021, 6:01 pm

I spoke to James prior to the sale and said he had tried get the vendors to lower their estimates but they said they had seen what they have been  fetching recently,  the same applied to the John Ward piece which was reserved at £2000, not his best work by far and he thought a more sensible estimate  would be £1500, in the end i bid up to the reserve but thankfully someone after what seemed ages decided bid again and secured it.
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Post by philpot July 18th 2021, 10:42 am

The Ward looked quite an understated subtle piece. Whereas the Big Bucks are in the dramatic black and white work and to a lesser extent the green striped work. This one seemed to fall into the gaps. Mind you, it says something when £2200 is considered a low price for John Ward! Times have changed a great deal in the past five or six years.
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Post by croker July 18th 2021, 11:09 am

The piece looked a great deal better in the photos than it did in real life ,apart from being quite small it was darkish brown and although unusual with the incised lines i felt i the intention was possibly to let the green into these lines which hadn't worked. On reflection i probably should have bought it although on the next bid it would have cost around £3000 with premium and arr. I think the prices for Wards 'lesser' pieces have slowed slightly.
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Post by philpot September 28th 2021, 8:18 am

https://www.sworder.co.uk/auction/search/?au=998&pn=4&g=-1
This autumn's offering. Another  selection from the Trevor Coldrey collection. The studio pottery is from Lot 360, 60 Lots starting with the  Washington. The usual mix one would say. Mike Dodd, Jim Malone, Nic Collins, Phil Rogers, Micki Schloessingk, Lisa Hammond Roger Cockram, three high £1000+ estimate on John Maltby figures.
The link is to the start of the studio pottery page. But it is well worth bowsing right through the whole, as they always have an interesting selection of eclectic 'Design' items.
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Post by studio-pots September 28th 2021, 11:38 am

These should be the last of Trevor Coldrey's pots in these auctions, unless they have misplaced some.

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Post by 22 Crawford St. September 28th 2021, 5:42 pm

How many brown pots' does one man need! You only need one brown jug to join the "I've got a brown jug society"

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Post by philpot December 22nd 2021, 12:35 pm

https://www.sworder.co.uk/auction/details/a1001-design---two-day-sale/?au=1010

There are over 60 Lots by Robert J Washington in their sale at the end of January. Not much other Studio pottery apart from a few bits by Simin Carroll, and John Maltby
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Post by croker December 22nd 2021, 1:16 pm

Hi Philpot, I have contacted Sworders to try to find out if the Washington lots are the remaining holdings of the Washington foundation as i can't imagine this would be a private collection as such. The foundation website doesn't seem to be operating at the moment. I have a couple of his pots and feel he is much underrated although there is somewhat of an overload of pieces here and i will be surprised if there is a large take up at the estimated prices ,although possibly it might start a renewed interest in his work.
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Post by studio-pots December 22nd 2021, 3:20 pm

The ones in recent Sworders sales all came from the Foundation. I bought them from Su and then sold them on. At the time I did try and help her put on a retrospective exhibition of what she had but she wanted the venue to be more prestigious than was available. Also she wanted the better pieces to be kept (i.e. not for sale at the retrospective) and to subsequently go to a museum collection.

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Post by philpot December 28th 2021, 11:56 am

So the pieces at sworders do not represent the 'Best' of Washington's work then?   It seems as though the time would be right for an exhibition and discussions of Staite Murray and his pupils work including Washington. Their reputation  seems to be starting to disappear in the Mists of Time.
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Post by NaomiM December 28th 2021, 1:28 pm

Seems there's 'best' and 'representative' of someone's work. The items in the auction all look representative of Washington's work. 'Best' could include outliers and items with emotional ties for his wife.

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Post by studio-pots December 28th 2021, 2:26 pm

It is a few years since I visited the collection but I feel certain that there were more than this. Bob's workshop area was left more or less as it was when he died, although I think that Su had tidied it up and added some of his father's paintings. Most of the pots were in, I think, 3 shipping containers. One was arranged like a gallery with pots on display and I wasn't allowed to buy any from there.

I was allowed to selected from the other containers which were like storage areas. However, I remember that a number had damage and some that I asked about weren't available to me at that time.

I selected 3 that I bought and could had perhaps had a couple more but didn't feel keen to take the risk. At the time Su was putting one or two in Maak auctions regularly and many didn't sell and those that did didn't fly. I gave her around the price she would have got from Maak after costs were taken away.

I also took some pieces of the last work that he did on sale or return and 2 framed tracing paper drawings on the same basis.

My best guess is that the pots at Sworders are most of the pots that Su had but she has selected some, which she believes are the best ones, to go to a Museum. However, what Su thinks are the best are not necessarily the best to other people.


Last edited by studio-pots on December 28th 2021, 2:31 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Post by studio-pots December 28th 2021, 2:30 pm

I do not think it is wise for a seller to be offering pots in this way from their point of view.

However, if there is any collector that would like a R J Washington pot for their collection then this is the best opportunity to buy at a reasonable price but I would urge anyone to view the pieces first before bidding.

I might do so myself.

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Post by croker December 28th 2021, 4:16 pm

I think his tall pieces with Picasso type decoration are his best work and deserve more attention , in many ways the decoration fits the pots shape better than a number of Staite Murray pieces ,as for the rest of his work lots 50-56 seem to be non starters and the  ceramic abstract mixed media collage pictures  containing fibre glass, wire, and other materials while interesting don't quite succeed in my opinion ,Gillian Lowndes made far more of a success in using similar materials. I don't know the reasoning for placing all these lots in a sale at once as the take up for Washington pots has unfortunately never been great ,whenever i have bid for one there seems to be only me and one other willing to go any where near the estimates. As Philpot says maybe some sort of exhibition may have been better.
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Post by croker December 28th 2021, 10:59 pm

In the 'out of the tub' video on Washington's work there were a number of his late sculptures shown which looked interesting but  i can't ever remember seeing any of these pieces at auction, where are they now? . The man was obviously very talented and it seems always ready to experiment. I will certainly have a go at a couple of his lots to add to the couple i already have, i find his tall chimney 'vases' always seem to look at their best when grouped. The bowl is particularly interesting as he appeared to make very few of these.
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Post by studio-pots December 29th 2021, 12:17 am

After Bob's death there was a touring retrospective exhibition at 8 venues between November 1998 and February 1999. There was also a selling exhibition held by Paul Rice in November/December 1998 of work supplied by Su Washington. There was a catalogue produced, which I have a copy of, that might have images of the work you refer to.

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