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The 18½in (41cm) hand-built vase titled Dark Amber Bands, Tilted Shelf Rim and Rust Base carried the mark JL239 to the base. As is the norm when her pots are sold, Lee herself helped with the cataloguing.

A UK-based phone bidder bought it at twice the top estimate at Mallams in Oxford.

Back in December 2016 the auction house sold Lee’s Pale Pot, Speckled Emerging Rim from 1997 for £16,000 – the catalyst for a succession of five-figure results that have put the Scottish-born, London-based potter on near-equal billing with second-generation ‘greats’ Hans Coper and Lucie Rie.

In 2018 Sotheby’s sold the 14in (36cm) Olive, Dark Haloes, Speckled and Amber Bands, Tilted Rim made in October 1991 for £37,500. It had been bought at Galerie Besson, London, in 1992 at a time when Lee’s pots were selling for £200-300 each at auction.

A smaller Lee pot took a substantial £17,000 at Roseberys in March as part of the collection of British studio ceramics assembled by potter Grahame Clarke. The unsigned RCA-136 was made in coloured stoneware during the spring term of Lee’s final year at the Royal College of Art and had been given by her to Clarke in exchange for one of his own works.

Auction record

The auction record for studio pottery stands at £520,000, bid twice for c.1968 vases by Hans Coper. The monumental Tall Bottle Vase with Disc sold at Bonhams in October last year, matching the bid earlier in the year for a ‘coco de mer’ pot at Phillips-Maak’s sale of the Driscoll collection.

The record for a vessel by a living potter is the 1988 Angled Mixed Coloured Piece by Magdalene Odundo sold for £200,000 at Maak in November 2020.