First Steps by Reginald Fairfax Wells c.1905 – £1700 at Southgate Auction Rooms.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Today considered one of the first true studio potters working on an entirely independent basis, he was also variously a sculptor, aircraft manufacturer and architect.

This diminutive bronze of a child learning to walk, titled First Steps, is a 4in (11cm) model first illustrated in the Studio Yearbook 1903 and again at the Sixth Exhibition of the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers in London, 1906.

Signed in the cast and applied with a Valsuani foundry mark, it proved something of a sleeper when offered with a guide of £100-150 at Southgate Auction Rooms (24% buyer’s premium) in north London on October 24.

It made £1700 – a similar sum to a cast of this model with a mid-brown patination sold for £1800 at Lyon & Turnbull in Edinburgh in November 2020.