Withers TSR Figures

Porcelain figures from the George Withers collection at Dore & Rees.

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Some 2274 lots will be offered at Dore & Rees in Frome on February 21-23 with a further 1000-plus lots from the estate sold by partner Wincanton Auctions on February 28. Both sales will be conducted without reserve.

It took eight members of staff almost a month to clear Withers’ home, Ye Grange in Bathampton, of more than 25,000 objects. Inside the cooker, the trays were found full of Georgian vinaigrettes while a loose floorboard lifted in an upstairs room uncovered a collection of 18th and 19th century silver.  

Many pieces had spent close to half a century in boxes, carefully wrapped in newspapers from the 60s and 70s. One of the last to be unpacked was a copper red glazed Qianlong lantern vase – one of several pieces of Ming and Qing porcelain, glass and bronze that Dore & Rees will include in its May sale of Asian art.

George Withers (1946-2023), who spent his formative years growing up on a farm in Charfield, Gloucestershire, began his fascination with antiques at a young age. After leaving school at 15 to work in the local malthouse, he began dealing in his spare time and by 21 had opened his first shop on London Road, Bath.

During his life, he had many shops in the Bath area, always filled to the gunnels, to the point that visitors had to enter sideways and slide between the hoard of stock. Those who knew him well, described him as a very reluctant seller – an obsessive collector prone to spending inherited money rather than a dealer seeking turnover. He moved to Bathampton in 2003.