A Potters Dream: Triumph of British Studio Ceramics

British studio pottery currently ranks among the strongest subsets of the art and antiques market. 

Running parallel to the demand for Modern British painting, pieces by the most recognisable names of the movement are bringing ever higher prices. Curator interest is growing too: on Tuesday 20 March, an exhibition titled 'Things of Beauty Growing: British Studio Pottery' opens at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

The market is currently dominated by two giants from the immediate post-war period - Dame Lucie Rie (1902-95) and Hans Coper (1920-81) - but there is growing interest too in the creations of a second generation of living studio potters such as John Maltby (b. 1936), Jennifer Lee (b. 1956) and John Ward (b. 1938). The best pieces by these artists all have achieved record sums at auction in recent months.


A Lucie Rie trumpet-shaped stoneware vase sold for £16,000 as part of the collection of the Hackney ceramicist Sally Dawson (1927-2017) offered in October 2017.


In 2017 Sworders enjoyed particular success selling studio pottery as part of our regular 20th Century Decorative Art and Design sales. The collection of the Hackney ceramicist Sally Dawson (1927-2017) offered last October was a good case in point. Dawson, a member of the Craft Potters' Association, had collected many works by her influences and contemporaries including members of the Leach family, Ian Godfrey (1942-1992) and Gwyn Hanssen Pigott (1935-2013) and Lucie Rie whose 37cm high trumpet-shaped stoneware vase decorated in a mushroom, ochre, mauve and green glaze sold at £16,000.  

A a pierced stoneware casket and pot by Ian Godfrey sold for £600 as part of the collection of the Hackney ceramicist Sally Dawson (1927-2017) offered in October 2017.

We are currently welcoming entries of studio ceramics for our next 20th Century Decorative Art and Design auction to be held on Tuesday 20 June. Closing date - Friday 20 April. To discuss potential consignments please contact:

John Black

01279 817778



Visit Department Page






More Recent News


Chinese Export Silver from the Paris of the East

A collection of Chinese silver assembled by a family who lived in Shanghai in the early 20th century comes for sale at Sworders in November. The group of typical ‘export’ wares owned by the vendor’s grandparents who lived in ‘the Paris of the East’ had been stored in a trunk since the end of The Second World War.

19 October 2021

The Life and Work of Carlo Bugatti (1856-1940)

Next week's auction of Design offers two archetypal side chairs from a truly unique Italian designer - Carlo Bugatti - whose life was filled with talent and tragedy.

14 October 2021

Paperback Writer

An autograph book with a story so evocative of the British music scene in the early 1960s comes for sale in our Design auction this month. The notebook includes the signatures of three of The Beatles, together with those of Gerry & The Pacemakers, The Dave Clark Five, Cliff Richard, and Helen Shapiro.

5 October 2021




Get Sworders News