Ainger auctions single owner Moorcroft collection

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 28th April, 2015

An outstanding single owner collection of Moorcroft art pottery including a rare Jerusalem vase will be part of a two-day auction from 11am Saturday May 2 and Sunday May 3 by E.J. Ainger Pty Ltd at 433 Bridge Road, Richmond.

The Jerusalem vase – number one in a limited edition run of only 50 – is now worth about $25,000. At the time of its manufacture in 2000, each vase retailed in England for £11,500 and numbers sold quickly.

William Moorcroft was a designer employed in 1897 by Staffordshire pottery manufacturers James Macintyre & Co – and within a year was placed in charge of the company’s art pottery studio.

His first range of pottery, called Florian Ware, was highly successful and, as a result, in 1904 he won a gold medal at the St Louis International Exhibition.

Moorcroft, who signed or initialled all his work, became so successful it overshadowed Macintyre’s other manufacturing activities – much to the chagrin of his employers – and in 1912 they closed his studio.

The following year, Moorcroft established his own company and transferred production to a nearby brand new factory.

Producing moderately priced domestic tableware in addition to his hand painted art pottery, Moorcroft’s reputation was enhanced when, in 1928, Queen Mary (a keen collector of his works) granted him a royal warrant.

Son Walter took over the business shortly before William’s death in 1945 and the royal warrant was re-issued in his name the following year.

In 1997, by claiming the Macintyre studio as part of the business, Moorcroft celebrated its centenary year.

William Moorcroft was famous for his transfer-printed and enamelled decorations in bold red, blue and gold colours.

His art nouveau influenced Florian Ware was decorated entirely by hand, with the design outlined in trailed slip using a technique known as tubelining – employed ever since in almost all Moorcroft creations.

Ainger’s auction also features an important collection of late 17th, 18th and 19th century sterling silver.

Part of the collection belonged to a man who purchased for many years before he died and it has been in the family ever since.

The remainder is from a Toorak estate with the 12 surviving grandchildren not wishing to keep the items.

Sterling silver items of particular note include a Queen Anne porringer dated 1699 or 1703 and a William IV coffee pot made in 1833 by London’s Paul Storr.

Other important sterling silver pieces include a William and Mary tankard made in 1683 by Jonah Kirke of London and a 1906 George V jug by Elkington & Co Ltd of Birmingham.


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