Early 20th century Martinware bird – £22,000 at Kingham & Orme.

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Standing 8½in (22cm) tall, it appeared to have no date mark but was an early 20th century piece incised RW Martin & Bros Southall.

In September 2017 it had taken £8000 hammer at Bonhams in London. At the Evesham sale on September 26 it was pitched at £5000-8000 but it sold to an American collector at £22,000.

The Worcestershire firm has a strong connection with Martinware courtesy of director George Kingham, a former dealer in decorative arts. Kingham & Orme’s launch sale in February 2017 included a ‘judge’ bird sold at £46,000.

While the market for Martin wally birds has gone through the occasional dips, such as that experienced since the last high point about five years ago, overall they have retained their high-value appeal ever since they were created.

Returning to the market since the collector bought it at Sotheby’s in September 2017 for £6900 hammer was a bird jar in green and beige glazes incised with the date 11-1899 and Martin Bros, London and Southall. Standing 10in high, it was pitched at £4000-6000 and sold to the American collector at £14,000.

More affordable, it being a marriage, was a similarly incised bird by RW Martin. However, the white, blue and green brown body was incised with the date 5-1901 and the head dated 5-12-1903.

Another September 2017 buy, it had cost the collector Can$9000 hammer (then £5220) at Toronto auction house Waddingtons. At Kingham & Orme the 8½in (21cm) figure was estimated at £2000-3000 and sold to the UK trade at £4200.

Moorcroft for Canada

Moorcroft was the collector’s other passion. Pick of the 310 pieces at Evesham was a Claremont vase made for Ryrie Bros, Toronto, c.1905, when the Stoke firm was moving into the North American market following a successful showing at the 1904 St Louis World ’s Fair.


Moorcroft Claremont vase made for the Canadian market – £5500 at Kingham & Orme.

The 8in (20.5cm) tall twin-handled amphora-form jar with underglaze green signature was estimated at £1400-1600 but sold to UK collector at £5500.

A rare example of a Violet scent bottle, dating to c.1899, took £2800. Another had been sold by the auction house in 2019.