For Jason Wood, a specialist consultant in studio ceramics at Cheshire saleroom Adam Partridge, it is the result of a booming trade in mid-20th century pots that has pushed some collectors to look to the generation that followed for more affordable material.
“The prices for pots by Hans Coper and Lucie Rie have gone so high that some people have been priced out of the market. Instead, they are dropping down to focus on the next level of potters who were influenced or indeed taught by Coper and Rie.”
A name that falls into this category is Emmanuel Cooper (1938-2012), a writer and potter, whose ceramic work is characterised by vibrant glazes and unusual textures inspired by Rie and ‘Father of British pottery’ Bernard Leach.
“No one expected Cooper’s work to go up quite so fast and to become so collectable so quickly after his death,” said Wood.
Three pieces – two bowls and a jug – will go under the hammer in a dedicated studio pottery auction in Macclesfield on March 16. It is Adam Partridge’s eighth sale in the field.
Estimated at £1200-1800 is the late 9½in (24cm) wide conical porcelain bowl pictured above, with a ‘Venetian’ red rim, made c.2010 and purchased from Cooper’s last public selling exhibition in north Wales in 2012.
British potter John Ward (b.1938) is another with saleroom potential. According to Wood, prices for Ward have gone up “10-fold” in the last three years. A large deep stoneware bowl acquired in the 1970s, covered in cream glaze and oxide staining, will go under the hammer estimated at £700-1000.
Over the last few sales, Wood has also been pushing the work of Abdo Nagi (1941-2001), a Yemeni goatherd who came to England as a domestic servant. He settled in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, where he created vibrantly glazed Lucie Rie-style pots with a middle-Eastern twist. Seven works have been sourced, ranging in prices from £100-400.
In all, around 400 lots of studio ceramics and 100 lots of modern sculpture, glassware, lighting and pictures will feature in the sale, which carries an overall estimate of £76,000-110,000.
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