We are delighted to be offering for sale an outstanding collection of Royal Doulton ceramics. The first part of the 'Ann Turner Collection of Doulton Pottery' will be auctioned at Stansted Mountfitchet on 16 May 2023. The 100 lots will carry estimates ranging from £200 to £5,000.
Ann Turner, a musician whose husband worked for a Swiss bank, enjoyed a lifelong passion for Doulton, and she bought fine quality pieces at auction and through dealers across more than forty years. Her house, in Brookmans Park, Hertfordshire, was adorned floor to ceiling with her finds.
The collection's focus is the work of the top artists and designers working at the Doulton factory in Lambeth in the latter part of the 19th century. Works by George Tinworth, Hannah and Florence Barlow, Mark V Marshall, Frank Butler, Gilbert Bayes, Eliza Simmance, Mary Ann Thompson, and Harry Barnard are represented. Some of the pieces are of exhibition quality.
The whimsical and anthropomorphic models of George Tinworth (1843-1913) scarcely need an introduction and included are some fantastic examples of the 'merry musicians' and 'mouse musicians' series. These include much-loved groups, such as The Cockneys at Brighton and the frog on a bicycle plus - a 'pièce de résistance' of the potter's art - a clock case modelled as a nautilus shell chariot pulled by cherubs riding seahorses.
The shellwork to this piece is decorated by Hannah Barlow (1851-1916) who, alongside her sister Florence (1855-1909), was among the first women potters to be recognised as individual designers. Her love of animals always evident in her work, she used the technique of 'sgraffito' (incising directly on to the soft clay) to create her distinctive designs.
Florence, on the other hand, chose to specialise in birds and foliage, and contrarily to Hannah she worked pate-sur-pate applications, creating beautiful high reliefs. The two supposedly made this decision to create unique skillsets, and they would often work together on pieces with their respective specialisms working in symbiosis, complementing one another. Several lots in the collection shows of this relationship but perhaps none better than lot 33. A centrepiece of large proportions, it gives ample room for both artists to put their respective flair on show.
Another of Tinworth’s notable assistance was Mary Ann Thompson (act. 1875-1890), who during her, comparatively, short tenure, made a significant mark and carved out a distinctive style. Taking on his teachings and combining them with contemporary Chinoiserie influences, some of Thompson’s finest work combines high relief designs with figural applications, often in the form of dragons. This can be seen in Lot 77, which features an exceptional pair of coiling dragons decorated in cobalt blue.
Frank Butler (act.1872-1911) was both deaf and dumb, but this didn't stop him excelling as an artist and designer in salt-glazed stoneware. The collection has some remarkable examples of his work, including a vase and cover expertly modelled as a tower, with pierced panels, the cover modelled as the roof.
If George Tinworth was Doulton's leading modeller, then a close second was Mark V Marshall (1843-1913). A student of the Lambeth School of Art who had also worked with Robert Wallace Martin, he worked at Doulton from 1878-1912, producing some of the factory's most creative models. The seven pieces in the collection are all examples of his grotesques, inspired by his work at Martin Brothers at the start of his career.
The work of Eliza Simmance (act. 1873-1928) is arguably the most varied yet defining of all Doulton artists. Having started during Doulton’s Gothic period working with the Barlows, she was quickly given her own staff as early as 1880, carrying out her visionary designs. Her style adapted to the changing fashions throughout her active period, with a stylistic breadth spanning Art Nouveau, Arts & Crafts and Art Deco, with a seamless transition between the epochs.
The Chinese influences is also notable in the work of Harry Barnard, who worked at Doulton between 1880-1895 before moving to Wedgwood. One of the most extraordinary pieces of the collections is of his hand, and features a modelled winged dragon perching on the vase, which in itself is incised with motifs borrowing from traditional Chinese blossom motifs incised to the body of the vase.
Alongside the Barlow sisters, Mary Mitchell was one of Doulton's pioneering women artists. Active between 1876 to 1887, she worked predominantly in sgrafitto technique her work predominantly portrays pastoral scenes of children and foliage. These would often be executed in colder tones, such as blue and gray, and be both naturalistic and stylised.
Tuesday 16 & Wednesday 17 May 2023
The collection is on view in our London gallery from Tuesday 25 April until Friday 5 May
London Gallery | 15 Cecil Court | London | WC2N 4EZ
Monday-Friday 11am-5.30pm | Saturday 1pm-5pm
The full sale will be available to view at our Stansted Mountfitchet Auctions Rooms
Cambridge Road | Stansted Mountfitchet | Essex | CM24 8GE
Friday 12 May 10am-5pm | Saturday 13 & Sunday 14 May 10am-1pm | Monday 15 10am-5pm