Pair of rosso antico 1860 vases modelled on an ancient lebes gamikos and sold for $10,000 (£7690) at Freeman’s as part of the second sale from the Rubin collection of Wedgwood.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

The Wedgwood collection assembled by Dr Ellis F Rubin and Suzanne Borow Rubin was a classic example.

Put together with enthusiasm over 60 years, their brief was broad, taking in not just the famous jasper, basalt and creamwares of the 18th and 19th century but also the Fairyland Lustre of the interwar period and modern pieces including artist-designed works.

In February this year Freeman’s (26/21/15% buyer’s premium) offered a first, 250-lot tranche from this ensemble that had filled the Rubins’ Pennsylvania home.

This was followed on July 12 by a second dispersal of around 150 lots. The composition was the same as in February, taking in examples of all types and periods of the English factory.

As in part one, the still voguish Fairyland lustre of Daisy Makeig-Jones was prominent among the top-sellers, accounting for four of top 10 and many of the other highest prices. They were led by a 11¼in (28.5cm) covered baluster vase in the Ghostly Wood and Sycamore Trees patterns that made $12,000 (£9230).

Encaustic decoration

Following this in price were two examples of Wedgwood encaustic decorated wares, pieces whose neoclassical form and decoration was directly inspired by ancient attic pottery.

Selling for $10,000 (£7690) was a pair of rosso antico covered vases in the shape of a lebes gamikos vase and featuring a central band to the bodies decorated with a continuous classical scene on a cane coloured ground. Measuring just under 12in (30cm) high, they were impressed Wedgwood and with the date code for c.1862. Like a number of the Rubins’ Wedgwood items, they were purchased at auction at Skinner in Boston.


Basalt krater form wine cooler with red encaustic classic decoration, $8000 (£6155) at Freeman's.

Following at $8000 (£6155) was a 12in (30cm) black basalt wine cooler dated to c.1790 modelled on an ancient bell krater and decorated in red with two registers of classical figures plus bands of anthemion and other classical motifs. This too was a purchase from a Skinner sale.

Colourful majolica


Wedgwood majolica novelty cruet set, $4250 (£3270) at Freeman's.

Wedgwood’s continuous desire to seek out new fashionable products meant the factory, like other firms, joined in the production of the colourful majolica wares that were so popular in second half of the 19th century.

The most expensive of the handful of examples in the second Rubin sale at $4250 (£3270) was the condiment set from the 1870s shown here.

A piece which embodied the often novelty design elements of majolica, this had a pepper shaker fashioned as a lighthouse, a castellated tower-shaped mustard pot and a salt in the form of a boat, all set on a 6¾in (17cm) wide wave-decorated base.

£1 = $1.30