Naturalistically modelled as a tree trunk encircled by mallard ducks and two foxes, with a toadstool forming the finial to the cover, it has the impressed date lozenge for 1871 and the model number 2062. This corresponds to the entry titled Pie Dish with Foxes, Mushrooms and Game in the Minton Majolica Shape Numbers Books preserved in the Minton Archives.
Back in the boom days of the majolica market these made huge sums of money (more than £20,000 was not uncommon) but these days prices are more moderated. The restored example in the Joan Stake Graham collection of majolica sold by Doyle New York in December last year sold at a modest $5000.
A better example (with a professionally restored crack to the base) came for sale at the Hansons Holloways (25% buyer’s premium) saleroom in Banbury on September 14 where, estimated at £3000-4000, it sold for £4200.
Incidentally, a very similar ’frog and foxes’ game pie dish was made at the time by Hugo Lonitz & Co in Neuhaldensleben. The base is almost identical although a large frog provides the finial to the lid. One of these sold for £14,000 at Clevedon Salerooms near Bristol in 2015.
Copeland egg stand
Another seldom-seen piece of English majolica was offered by Woolley & Wallis (25% buyer’s premium) in Salisbury on September 13.
This 9in (22cm) plovers’ egg stand was by the Copeland factory. It is modelled with eight circular hollows lined with moulded fern with a lapwing perched on a grassy stump in the centre.
At the time plovers’ eggs were a Victorian delicacy traditionally eaten around Easter but were in such high demand that it began to lead to the bird’s demise. The Lapwing Act of 1926 made the collection of plovers’ eggs illegal.
Copeland was seemingly the only factory to produce this form in majolica – a rarity that sold online at £1800.