The vendor from the north east of England was a glazier who loved coloured glass and admired in particular Geoffrey Baxter’s approach to glassmaking.
Whitefriars’ Textured range with its distinctive shapes such as the Drunken Bricklayer, Totem and Banjo, was released in a range of three colours in 1967.
To cinnamon, indigo, and willow were added meadow green, kingfisher blue and a vibrant tangerine by 1969. Aubergine and pewter colours were short-lived later additions as were near the handful of pieces made in clear flint and ruby red glass.
Although rarities are understood to have changed hands for more behind closed doors, the auction highwater mark appeared to be the £2600 bid for a 1972 aubergine Banjo at Kingham & Orme in November 2017.
Prices for Baxter Whitefriars have been prone to fluctuation across the years since collecting began in earnest in the 1990s.
However, the numbers posted at Tennants’ 20th Century Design Sale in Leyburn on February 26 were pretty strong, with bids of £1500 each for 13in (32cm) high Banjos in pewter, aubergine and tangerine glass and £1900 for the example in meadow green via thesaleroom.com.
By way of recent comparison, on March 17, Woolley & Wallis sold an example in green for £2000 and took £1100 for another in cinnamon.
More evidence of a healthy market for Baxter Whitefriars was recorded at Spicers (20% buyer’s premium) in Goole, East Yorkshire, on February 25.
An unexpected highlight of this general sale was a small Whitefriars bark finish vase in a pale blue colourway. It was estimated at £30-40 (about right for a more standard colour) so the auction house had been taken aback when a commission bid arrived at close to 20-estimate that sum.
The bidder confirmed the bid and indicated the vase was the first he had seen in this particular hue. It may well be the rare sky blue colour that factory records suggest was issue in 1980 only.
As it turned out the commission was not even close: the winning online bid was £1100.