Prattware Martha Gunn toby jug – £4700 at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

While most 19th century and later toby jugs are victims of changing fashion, this 950-lot Devon sale included a c.1790-1800 Prattware jug depicting Martha Gunn.

She was the famous ‘Bathing Woman’ who assisted bathers at Brighton Beach and became friendly with the Prince of Wales.

Modelled seated holding a jug of ale and glass, the 11in (28cm) figure had been expected to make around £700-900 at the auction on July 21-22 but sold to a local collector at £4700.


A 17th century Saxony stoneware stein – £3900 at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood.

A 9in (23cm) ‘hunting’ stein was dated to the late 17th century, towards the end of the so-called Golden Period (c.1550-1650) of Saxon stoneware.

With a pewter cover and ball thumbpiece bearing a touch mark for Dobeln, the stein was catalogued as Annaberg or Dippoldiswalde, the two towns south of Dresden whose contribution to the genre remains a matter for scholarly debate.

Typical decorated in polychrome enamels on applied reliefs showing a horseman, a standing huntsman and dogs, stags and a bear, the stein was estimated at £500-600 and went back to Germany at £3900.

Medallion bowl


Daoguang period famille rose medallion bowl – £12,000 at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood.

Perhaps the most identifiable production of the Daoguang period (1820-50) of the Qing empire is the famille rose medallion bowl.

In the 1970s, when many were sourced by London dealers in Hong Kong, they were a few hundred pounds each.

The 4½in (11cm) example here with only minor wear decorated with medallions of precious objects sold at £12,000 to a UK-based bidder on behalf of a Chinese buyer.

Other Far Eastern bidders took two earlier Qing pieces, both carrying some damage.

Bearing a blue six-character Kangxi mark and of the period, a 16in (40cm) diameter charger painted with carp among lotus blossoms and Buddhist emblems had undergone some restoration and there was a crack to the rim.

However, against a £2000-4000 estimate it sold at £5700 to a Hong Kong buyer well known to the Exeter rooms.

Estimated at £300-500 but sold at £4700 was a 7in (18cm) Qianlong mark and period blue and white saucer dish decorated with the Three Friends of Winter design – renditions of the pine, bamboo and plum celebrated for their hardiness in the coldest season.

The price reflected a hairline crack and small rim chips.