Two Day Sale - 5th and 6th February 2022

26/01/22

Watch "The Colour Room" ... buy stunning Clarice Cliff pottery at The Canterbury Auction Galleries!

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The antiques trade press said “Enter Wain’s world … watch the movie, buy the art”, the news article going on to advise collectors to watch the big screen dramatisation starring Benedict Cumberbatch and then purchase Louis Wain’s humorous anthropomorphic paintings of cats. Expectations were that prices for the Victorian artist’s works would rise".

A sale at The Canterbury Auction Galleries next month (Saturday-Sunday, February 5-6) will give collectors of Clarice Cliff ceramics the chance to do the same following the release of the Sky Cinema costume drama “The Colour Room” with Bridgerton’s Phoebe Dynevor starring in the role of pioneering ceramics designer Clarice.

Up for sale in the two-day Kent auction is a stunning collection of hundreds of pieces of Clarice Cliff’s Bizarre pottery amassed by two devotees of the ware, Andrea Corti and Robin Nash, now both deceased, discovered crammed into the modest 1930s home they shared in Margate. Divided into around 100 lots, the collection is expected to sell for more than £20,000.

“I had no idea of the extent of the collection I was going to find when I visited the house,” said auctioneer Cliona Kilroy, “but the large picture window in the front of the property, which had been replaced with a stained glass replica of a colourful Clarice Cliff design hinted at what was inside.

“Display cabinets in the lounge; shelves, window ledges and cupboards in the kitchen; the breakfast room displaying a dinner service of the ‘Coral Firs’ Fantasque pattern on the walls, shelves, and dresser, including soup bowls on individual hooks; a display cabinet on the landing and ‘Blue Firs’ pieces in the bathroom with tiles specially made to match – the house was obviously the home of two devoted fans.”

Clarice’s unique ware was designed by her and decorated by her “Bizarre Girls”, as her paintresses were called, at the Newport Pottery in Burslem, Staffordshire, from 1922 and 1963. Pride of place in the collection were two rare pieces that illustrate the uniqueness of her vision: a “Lido Lady” ashtray modelled with a lady with orange top and spotted trousers, standing with her hands on her hips, and an amusing “Bones the Butcher” teapot, the character’s rotund and aproned figure topped by his red-haired and bespectacled face. They are estimated at £300-500 and £400-600 respectively.

Also estimated at £400-600 is a charming pair of “Crocus” pattern bookends, the flowers painted between yellow and brown bands, found in the kitchen where the entire display comprised pieces decorated in the same pattern, including candlesticks and a double inkwell (estimate £250-350) and a coffee service for six (£400-600).

It is believed that one of the first pieces designed by Clarice was a comical model of a duck. The collection includes a “Crocus” pattern duck egg cruet accompanied by three other standing ducks, one painted orange, the others yellow (estimate £100-150).

Most valuable single lot in the collection is expected to be a 46-piece dinner service, the “Biarritz” shape ware painted with the “Coral Firs” pattern, which is estimated at £2,000-3,000, while a coffee service for six, the “Fantasque” shape painted with the “Summerhouse” pattern, is estimated at £800-1,200. However, collectors with shallower pockets will find lots with estimates starting at £100.

Interestingly, on the same day that Cliona Kilroy discovered the Clarice Cliff collection, she also encountered a collection of good 20th century furniture in the Broadstairs home of the late photographer Simon Cousins, among which are two pieces designed in partnership by Ringo Starr and Robin Cruikshank. According to brochures, Simon Cousin’s father, James, an architect and award-winning industrial designer, was involved in their manufacture.

More valuable of the two pieces is a 1970s Mastercraft Double Trilobi pedestal nickel-plated steel and glass dining table, 78ins x 38ins x 28ins high, signed and dated 5/4/74 to each pedestal, which is estimated at £500-700, while a similar low circular coffee table, 33ins diameter x 14ins high, is estimated at £300-500.

 

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The partnership between the former Beatle and Cruikshank began in 1968 when the latter’s design company began working for Apple. The following year, Ringo moved house to Hampstead and Cruikshank was called in to help him realise some of the designs that Ringo and Maureen required for their new home. New designs followed and Cruikshank’s company was reformed and renamed ROR Ltd., with an office on the top floor of the Apple building in Savile Row, next door to Ringo’s own office. A near sell-out exhibition at Liberty’s, special commissions and a multi-million dollar contract from Abu Dhabi followed. The company continues today.

The collection also includes Easy chairs in chrome metal mesh after Harry Bertoia and others after Arne Jacobsen, Charles and Ray Eames and Le Corbusier, carrying estimates from £120 to £1,200, as well as Danish rosewood veneered and teak occasional furniture; a pair of “Pileino” lamps by Gae Aulenti (1927-2012), (estimate £300-500) and a pair of 1970s counter-weighted black standing"Tizio" lamps, Richard Sapper (1932-2015) each lot manufactured by Artemide Milano (each £200-300), and a red, orange lacquer and white melamine cabinet, enclosed by a pair of doors, fitted eight drawers under, on square legs, 41ins wide x 20ins deep, 49.5ins high, by Raymond Loewy (1893-1986) for Doubinsky Freres (£600-800).

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The collection is expected to raise around £20,000, the figure boosted by other pieces including Simon Cousins’ professional-level cameras, notably Hasselblad, Nikon, Rolleiflex, Canon and numerous accessories, tripods, lights and incidentals. Estimates range from £100 to £3,000.

The sale also includes the usual strong entry of antique silver, mostly privately entered antique and pre-owned jewellery, watches, books and ephemera, ceramics and glass, arms and militaria, collectables, clocks and barometers, furniture, rugs and carpets.

The 1,100-plus entries will be available for public viewing on Wednesday, February 2nd (12.00 to 17.00), Thursday, February 3rd (12.00 to 19.00) and Friday February 4th (12.00 to 17.00) with no viewing on sale days.

The sale will be conducted online only, with auctioneers on the rostrum executing absentee bids and taking other bids from registered bidders on the telephone and over the internet in real-time,  starting at 10am. Printed catalogues are available from the auctioneer and can also be seen online at thegalleries.live (www.thegalleries.live), the saleroom’s own free to use in-house bidding platform and at www.thecanterburyauctiongalleries.com

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