The three-piece teaset offered by Dawsons in Maidenhead on September 23 was the highlight of a collection of prime period and later Moorcroft pottery assembled in the last two decades by the late Valerie Cook of Hampstead.
Her teaset, in near-perfect condition, combined the talents of the Moorcroft tubeliners and silversmiths from the San Francisco jeweller Shreve & Co. It was made specifically for export, as shown by the green painted mark to the base reading W Moorcroft, Shreve & Co, San Francisco, 1912.
Estimated at £3000-5000, it attracted online bids up to £10,000 before two phones battled it out. The winning bid of £15,400 (plus 23% buyer’s premium) was tendered by a UK-based private collector.
Awarded a gold medal at the St Louis International Exhibition, Moorcroft pottery was sold by Shreve & Co from 1904, with Tiffany and other famous American stores following shortly afterwards. Signed and dated silver-mounted pieces such as these are scarce. In 2013 a similar silver-mounted Claremont pattern loving cup, c.1905, with the same mark sold for $27,000 (£17,650) at Clars Auction Gallery in Oakland, California.
As a general rule the Moorcroft market has fallen a little in recent years – as much as 40% for some pieces – although this softening does depend on exactly what is being sold.
The Homes & Interiors sale at Bonhams Edinburgh on September 24 (the last of its kind for Bonhams in Scotland – see News pages ATG 2456) included a trumpet-shaped vase decorated internally and externally with a trailing band of pomegranates and berries. At 16in (40cm) high it was among the largest pieces made by the factory in this pattern. Also pitched at £3000- 5000, it sold for £14,000 (plus 27.5/25% buyer’s premium).
Only two pieces in the Pomegranate pattern have made more than this duo: a ‘Moorcroft Ware’ advertising plaque, c.1913 (Bonhams 2010) and the 12½in (31cm) two-handled baluster vase, c.1912 (Kingham & Orme, 2019).