Of Interest

Turquoise bowl with white openwork flowers applied.
Tall vase decorated with gold-trimmed, vividly colored Chinese-style scene.
Openwork vase composed of low-relief fish figures.
White ceramic latticework bowl, crested at one end.

Keep in-the-know regarding Wedgwood-related events and other news-you-can-use. And if you are aware of current activity on the Wedgwood topic that you’d like to share and have posted here, please email wsbbarnett48@gmail.com.

Current Auctions & Results

April Bonhams-Skinner Sale Highlights

Skinner held a live auction at its Marlborough, MA, headquarters on April 19th, with 141 lots of Wedgwood. Prices realized were modest for the most part, but what stood out was the aggressive bidding on modern Egyptian ware. Below are a few highlights; prices include the 27.5% buyers premium.

  • Basalt Bust, Marcus Aurelius: late 18th C; 16”h: $3,188
  • Pearlware Chestnut Bowl & Underplate: early 19th C; 10” dia.: $1020
  • Rossi Antico Egyptian Jug: c1880; 8”h: $510
  • Creamware cobalt glaze Figural Vase: c1871; 8 1/4”h: $64
  • Pr Framed Creamware Chargers by JP Hewitt: c1883;22”sq.: $408
  • Fairyland Lustre Melba Cup: c1920; 3”h: $510
  • Pr Cane Jasper Bough Pots: 1998; 9 1/2”h: $574
  • Pr Gilded Basalt Canopic Jars: 1987; 9 1/2” h: $5,738
  • Guilded Basalt Egyptian Plate: 1978; 8 3/4” dia.: $701

For results on all Wedgwood lots visit: http://For results on all Wedgwood lots visit: https://www.bonhams.com/auction/28571/collectors-choice-wedgwood-and-silver-bonhams-skinner/?fbclid=IwAR16Pz_sTwUSIbQu0Z37V7ww-Z2__fdc7_UcoXK9CUwUVAAeTne9nV0zavE&query=wedgwood

Wedgwood Collection of Betty Issod Auction Part II Highlights

The sale of the second part of Betty Issod’s collection took place at Lion and Unicorn in Florida on April 16th and included 70 Wedgwood lots of which 28 were Fairyland Lustre. Prices recognized for the lustre wares were even more aggressive than part I, with two rare plaques being the highlight. Conversely categories such as dark blue dip bas-relief ware closed at rock bottom prices.

Below are some highlights. Note that the prices do not include the 25% buyer’s premium, taxes and other fees.  

  • Fairyland Flame Vase: c1920; 10 1/2” h: $3,400
  • Fairyland Plaque, Picnic by the River: c1920; 8” x 14”: $9,750
  • Fairyland Daventry Bowl, White Pagoda: c1920; 10” dia.: $4,600
  • Pearlware Cake Stand: 19th c; 9 1/4” dia.: $30

To view the results of the entire sale, visit the website at https://www.LiveAuctioneers.com/

Joan Stacke Graham Majolica Collection Results

Doyle Auction in New York sold part II of this Majolica collection on April 4th. There were 25 lots of Wedgwood of which 5 did not sell. Below are a few highlights; prices include 26% buyer’s premium. For complete results visit: https://doyle.com/auctions/23gm01-joan-stacke-graham-majolica-collection-part-ii/joan-stacke-graham-majolica

– Majolica Double Dolphins and Shell Centerpiece: 1869, 16″ high: $882

– Majolica Argenta Shell and Seaweed Five-Pocket Oyster Tray:1879; 9 1/4″ dia: $1071

– Four Majolica Pierced ‘Game’ Series Plates:by Henry Hope Crealock;1863; 9″: $3602

Wedgwood Collection of Betty Issod Auction Part I Highlights

The sale of the first part of Betty Issod’s Wedgwood collection took place at Lion and Unicorn in Florida on February 19th. Consisting of 352 lots, it ranged from five-digit Fairyland Lustreware to $1 books, and took the auctioneers seven hours of patient bidding to complete. While many of the descriptions were either incomplete or incorrect, the time and effort, along with every lot a single-object-only (no multiples regardless of value), it seemed to have paid off. Betty, 98, of Wisconsin and Florida, was a Fairyland expert and dealer of Wedgwood in general. While this auction offered 53 pieces of spectacular Fairyland and ordinary lustres by Daisy Makeig-Jones, along with some important basalt pieces, it also included modern jasper trinkets, some of which realized outrageous prices. One such example, the 1976 Washington medallion pill box, usually found on eBay for $40, hammered at $500.

Below are some highlights. Note that the prices do not include the 25% buyer’s premium, taxes and other fees.  

  • -Fairyland Flame Vase: c1920; 11 1/2” h: $18,000
  • -Fairyland Cat & Mouse Lidded Vase: c1920; 11 1/4” h: $5,000
  • -Fairyland Spiderweb Brooch: c1920; 2” dia.: $2,500
  • -Basalt Dolphin Salt: 19th C; 5” h: $475
  • -Basalt Bacchus & Faun Statue: 19th C; 18” h: $3,000
  • -Brown Jasper Moon Flask: early 20th C; 5 1/2” h: $1,700
  • -Sky Plateau II by Glenys Barton: 1977; 9 3/4” dia.: $2,200
  • -Queen’s Ware Toothpick Holder: (described as made 1890, but is 1930s); 2 1/4” h: $300
  • -Washington Jasper Medallion on Silver Box: 1976; 1 1/2” dia.: $500  
  • -Bone China Shell Comport: c1894; 7 1/2” h: $550
  • -Earthenware Sunflower Oil Lamp: 19th C; 16” h: $1,300
  • -Six-pc Variation Geometric Designs Plates by Eduardo Paolozzi: 1979; 10 1/2” dia.: $2,000 

To view the results of the entire sale, visit the Lion & Unicorn website.


“All The Variety and Perfection” Wedgwood Auction Highlights

Some of the best Wedgwood examples were offered for sale on February 15th by Freeman’s Auction of Philadelphia. Titled All the Variety and Perfection: The Wedgwood Collection of Dr. Ellis F. Rubin & Suzanne Borow Rubin, it represented the first wave of several sales of the Rubins’ collection to come. In it were 249 lots spanning the history of Wedgwood production from the 18th to the 21st centuries.

Grouping of results against estimates showed that 25% hammered above estimate; 23% within; 43% below; and 9% were passed. However, this is misleading in that the estimated range and minimum opening bids Freeman established were very aggressive, in my view, keeping many bidders out. Conversely, Bonhams-Skinner strategy is to assign very low estimates to engage a broader audience. Thus, the proper barometer is actual vs. going market prices/conditions. In the Rubin sale I found the results were extremely healthy, given today’s climate.        

Below are some highlights. The prices include the buyer’s premium.

  • Pr Porphyry Snake-Handled Vases: c1790; 14 5/8” h: $5,985
  • Caneware Beehive Bench Honey Pot: c1810; 7” h: $3,780
  • Basalt Encaustic Urn: c19th C; 9 1/8”: $6,300
  • Pr Green Jasper Tri-color Aesthetic Period Vases: c1880; 6 1/2” h: $630
  • Majolica Fan Garden Seat: c1880; 16 1/2” h: $5,040 
  • Pr Powder Blue Gilded Vases: c1910; 10 3/4” h: $882
  • Christopher Dresser Chocolate Stoneware Fish Vase: c1870; 6 1/2” h: $12,600
  • Fairyland Lustre Bubbles II Malfrey Pot: c1920; 9” dia.: $20,160
  • Eric Ravilious Boat Race Day Vase: c1930; 10” h: $3,528
  • John Dermer Studio Pottery Vessel: c1970; 18 3/4” h: $1,512

To view the entire auction results visit Freeman’s website.


Upcoming Exhibitions & Reviews

HEAD TO ENGLAND for the “Unpacking the V&A Wedgwood Collection” Symposium, July 2023 

This two-day landmark conference hosted by the V&A Wedgwood Collection brings together more than two dozen leading ceramic artists, scholars and emerging voices to explore fresh avenues of research into Wedgwood. Taking place at both Wedgwood Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent (Friday, July 7), and the V&A South Kensington, London (Saturday, July 8), it honors Gaye Blake-Roberts MBE, former curator of the V&A Wedgwood Collection, and her contribution to ceramic research. In addition to an extraordinary line-up of speakers and topics, there will be tours and pot-throwing. Visit the two links listed below for highlights and registration. For program details, go to: https://wedgwoodsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/VA-Wedgwood-Collection-1.pdf-1.pdf

Day 1: https://www.vam.ac.uk/event/yRyKoLYJz5/unpacking-the-vawc-day-1-friday-7-july-2023-at-barlaston

Day 2: https://www.vam.ac.uk/event/GzNZgRrDR5M/unpacking-the-vawc-day-2-saturday-8-july-2023-at-v-a-sk

Antiques Shows

Current Publications

Wedgwood: Craft & Design

Looking back at key moments in Wedgwood’s design history, this book, written by Catrin Jones, curator of the V&A Wedgwood Collection, celebrates the manufacturer’s visual power and great design from its founding in 1759 to the present day. It highlights the internationally renowned V&A Wedgwood Collection containing around 80,000 objects. Published by Thames & Hudson, it will be available May 2023 via most book sources: $19.95

Beyond Wedgwood Blue

The Ruthmere Museum in Indiana held an exhibition, “Beyond Wedgwood Blue”. Now available is a catalogue that features highlights of the exhibit and the history of Wedgwood. Visit: http://ruthmere.wildapricot.org/Exhibit-Catalogues

The Radical Potter: The Life and Times of Josiah Wedgwood

by Tristram Hunt

A scintillating biography of Josiah Wedgwood, the celebrated eighteenth-century potter, entrepreneur, and abolitionist. Purchase on Amazon

Book cover of "The Radical Potter," background a closeup of blue jasperware.

Newsworthy Bits & Bytes

The loss of a Wedgwood legend

The Wedgwood Society of Boston is saddened to learn of the death of member Suzanne Borow Rubin on May 24, 2023. Our heartfelt condolences go out to her husband Ellis and family. We will miss her, dearly. You can read the full obituary here.

Spectacular V&A Wedgwood Addition

The V&A Wedgwood Museum has just made an exciting new acquisition of this glamorous ‘Campanula’ tea and coffee set designed by Paul Follot (1877-1941) for Wedgwood in 1923, accompanied by the design drawings. The set was previously owned by fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld who was the director of Chanel until his death in 2019 and was acquired from his estate. It is a rare and unusual example of Paul Follot’s designs for Wedgwood, and a wonderful example of the Wedgwood company’s tradition of working with innovative artists to create their designs.

Remembering a friend: Dorothy-Lee Jones Ward

We are most saddened to learn of the death of Dorothy-Lee Jones Ward (January 11, 1927 – August 4, 2022), of Sebago Lake, Maine, and Wellesley, Mass. A WSB past president as well as that of WIS, she was a most gracious lady and Wedgwood legend, serving as mentor to many of us. Her love and expertise was also in the field of glass, as an antiques dealer, and later the founder of the Jones Museum of Glass and Ceramics in Maine. You may find the complete obituary here. A memorial service will be held at Doherty’s Funeral Home, 477 Washington St., Wellesley, Mass., on Thursday, September 22, 2022 at 1 pm.

Members’ Choices

Submitted by Peggy Kerner

I love this piece in my collection because it is so unusual. It is called a “Bouquetière” which is a fancy word from the French for flower pot. They are usually oval or round in shape, have a pierced lid to hold flower stems or branches, and were made in the late 18th to early 19th century. Mine is made of white terracotta biscuit covered with matte black slip and glazed inside to prevent staining. It is 8 1/2 inches high and 11 inches wide and dates to 1785. It was originally in the Oxborrow collection, and a similar example is in the Beeson Collection at the Birmingham Museum of Art.

Submitted by Ron Frazier

Spotted by my son Forrest many years ago and knowing it was Wedgwood, he scooped the piece up. This Imari (Japanese) style 9” Vase is in a Pearl Ware body and has a production date-code of 1886. Imari style is based largely on two colors, a dark underglaze blue and a dark red, and is a crowded design. Along with other patterns of stylized floral shapes, the Imari range became popular in England during the early 19th Century and appears in various renditions (usually described as Japan Patterns) on Wedgwood’s Queen’s Ware, bone china, and whiteware, as well as pearlware. Japanese designs became popular after the international exhibitions in London in 1862 and Paris in 1889.