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However, when the new owners, a group of investors, purchased the pottery in November last year, this did not include the Poole Pottery Museum and Archive. The museum’s contents are to be offered for sale this month at Christie’s by administrators Leonard Curtis & Co, with the proceeds of the auction going towards paying creditors.

The 291-lot auction, to be held at Christie’s South Kensington rooms on March 31, is expected to realise in excess of £180,000.

As one might expect of a factory collection, the material on offer spans much of the entire 130-year production cycle, from the architectural ceramics of the 1900s through to the latest trial plates produced in 2002. While there is always a poignant element to an archival dispersal of this type, it is without doubt a selection of great attraction to Poole collectors. The sale not only features Poole of all periods, there is also a large amount of documentary material: from pattern books and cards to factory photographs.

As to the pottery itself, there are plenty of Poole classics: from Art Deco Truda Carter designs or Poole’s Sixties look embodied by the Delphis range to later artist-designed studio wares, but there are also trial pieces that didn’t go into production; one-offs and more unusual pieces.

Such rarities include a 3ft 1in x 4ft 4in (93cm x 1.32m) tile panel of c.1930 painted with views of Poole by Margaret Holder after a design by Edward Bawden, which is expected to fetch £8000-12,000, and the 13 3/4in (35cm) high model of a bottle kiln, shown right, designed by Guy Sydenham in 1973, to celebrate the Pottery’s centenary, that is estimated at £1500-2000.