The demand for pottery made in the West Midlands is soaring to new heights – which means you could be sitting on a windfall.
A Ruskin vase fetched £3,100 when it went under the hammer in Derbyshire’s Hansons Auctioneers Spring Fine Art Sale (March) and shows collectors’ passion for this colourful pottery is growing ever stronger.
Adrian Rathbone, associate director of Hansons Auctioneers, said: “This was a particularly striking, high fired vase made in 1926. It was in a chimney form and had a mottled grey, red, green and purple glaze.
“Ruskin mastered difficult and inventive techniques to produce some extraordinarily beautiful glazes, which is why it’s pottery is so sought after today.
“If anyone has any Ruskin pottery sitting around at home they are thinking of parting with, do bring it along to one of Hansons’ free valuation days in the Birmingham area. They may be in for a very pleasant surprise.”
Ruskin Pottery was founded in 1898 by Edward R Taylor at 173-174 Oldbury Road, Smethwick, and was run by his son, William. It was named after the artist, writer and social thinker John Ruskin.
The pottery produced was notable for its innovative glazes used on brightly coloured pots, vases, buttons bowls, tea services and jewellery.
The glazes, devised by William, included misty soufflé and ice crystal effects, crystalline, lustre glazes, resembling metallic finishes, and the most highly regarded of all, sang de boeuf and flambe glazes which produced a blood-red effect.
Sang de boeuf glazes were created using reduction of copper and iron oxides at high temperature. This was a difficult technique, first developed in China in the 13th century and reinvented by several art potters in Europe in the late 19th century.
Mr Rathbone said: “William Howson Taylor was one of the principal exponents of high fired techniques, producing a range of colours and unique glaze effects, and the people of Smethwick should be very proud of this artistic heritage.”
When the studio closed in 1935 the formulae for the glazes and all the pottery documentation were deliberately destroyed, so that the unique Ruskin products could never be replicated.
Do you have any Ruskin pottery, antiques, collectables or jewellery that could be of value? Entries are welcome until June 8 for Hansons’ Summer Fine Arts Auction. Take advantage of free valuations at TheRoyal British Legion, 1611 Warwick Road, Knowle, B93 9LF, on May 1, 1-4pm; St Francis of Assisi Church, Warwick Road, Kenilworth, CV8 1HL, on April 10, 10am-4pm and at St Chad’s Church, Hollyfield Road, Sutton Coldfield, B75 7SN, on April 10. To find out more, call Carol Jones on 07802 839915 or email [email protected].