Museum quality porcelain collection an auction rarity

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 24th July, 2017

An internationally significant Australian-based early English porcelain collection – the result of decades of research and acquisition – should give serious collectors the opportunity of a lifetime when it is auctioned from noon Sunday July 30 by Philips Auctions at 47 Glenferrie Road, Malvern Victoria as a pre-cursor to the company’s normal decorative arts sale.

The museum quality collection belongs to Timothy Menzel, born and raised in the Victorian Western District town of Hamilton where he ran three menswear stores and through his grandfather developed an interest in collecting, particularly porcelain.

Closely linked as a trustee with the City of Hamilton Art Gallery, in the 1970s Menzel began seriously collecting porcelain following an initial interest in Chinoiserie and early Worcester.

Having a discerning eye for late 18th century and early 19th century items, Menzel travelled regularly to Britain to obtain fine English and Welsh examples, with an emphasis on the celebration of landscapes and flowers, thus creating a refined seminal collection representing a timeline of British porcelain manufacturing.

Among his favourite items are a rare green and gold Royal Worcester vase depicting a Dutch ship in a gale, a Flight & Barr Worcester vase showing a reclining Edwin from “The Minstrel” and a pair of Minton vases painted by Thomas Steel.

Now almost 80, Menzel has decided it is time to pass on his collection to others.

Featured among the 250-300 auction items are two teapots, respectively from Worcester and Liverpool, the first depicting an elegant and iconic Boy on Buffalo design and the second a stately Rock and Fence pattern attributed to Seth Pennington circa 1780.

A pair of Chamberlain Worcester semi circular bough pots with pierced covers, with mirror image decorations by Thomas Baxter, is among the collection’s highlights.

One pot was found in Britain and, several years later, Menzel discovered its twin in the United States.

Notable for its rare moulded pattern in the form of a basket weave border, a highly decorative salt glazed stoneware plate, created by William Bourne around 1760, shows three figures relaxing by a river.

A yellow ground Worcester “Harvest Bug” cup and saucer, attributed to celebrated London decorator James Giles, is beautifully stylish with its distinctive crowsfoot borders and delightful flower sprigs.

Swansea designer William Pollard’s Baluster style vase – in perfect condition and distinguished by ornate roses, foxgloves and a single butterfly – cannot help but impress collectors with its majesty and poise. 

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