The enduring pull of Poole Pottery

As the sun sets on the Poole Pottery Factory after 150 years, Michael Jeffery of Wiltshire auction house Woolley and Wallis reveals the style’s enduring popularity and current demand.

The current market

Poole Pottery Atlantic vase
The ‘Atlantic’ vase, modeled by Guy Sydenham sold for £4,000

The Poole Pottery market is varied, reflecting the diverse, constant developments from the factory for over 100 years, something it shares with the larger British pottery factories, including Wedgwood and Royal Doulton.

Collectors local to Dorset, national and international collect in a multitude of ways, from a specific period of production to a larger representation of the company’s output.

With the huge array on offer it is possible to collect something from most areas of interest and on a relatively low budget. This breadth of availability, which keeps prices low, also keeps the entry level of collecting stable and less prone to price fluctuations.

Most sought after

The main areas of collecting, which achieve the highest prices at auction, are the wonderful art deco designs and the more individualistic designs of the Delphis studio of the 1960s.

These two periods of design are also probably the most creative and distinctive periods of British design in the 20th century.

Woolley and Wallis has had excellent examples of both periods in recent years and these have both performed
well at auction.

Poole vases decorated in the ‘Holly’ pattern
Poole vases decorated in the ‘Holly’ pattern

In November 2016 they sold a rare ‘Atlantis’ vase designed and made by Guy Sydenham. Modelled with a stylised face and covered in a celadon green glaze, the vase is believed to be limited to one of approximately six examples made in the 1960s or early ‘70s.

It carried an estimate of £1,500-£2,000, being guided by another example sold by the auction house in 2006
for £2,500. It sold to a private collector for £4,000, hammer.

‘Holly’ pattern

In a 2015 sale, a pair of rare Carter, Stabler & Adams vases designed by Truda Carter and painted by Ann Hatchard, decorated in the LG pattern, known to collector’s as simply the ‘Holly’ pattern, sold for £3,400 and £2,800 respectively – selling to a Poole collector and a collector of British art deco.

These large drum vases, beautifully painted with an abstracted, art deco foliate design, come from less than a handful of examples and, with their size and vivid design, have the impact to form the centre piece of a collection.

Woolley and Wallis’ British Art Pottery sale takes place on December 14.


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