July 14, 2024

Prototype Minton’s night light to be sold by Halls Fine Art next week

A rare lustre pastille burner or night light in the form of a cat made by Minton’s, a leading ceramic factory during the Victorian era, has left researchers scratching their heads.

Made in Staffordshire probably in the 1920s-30s, the mysterious piece is believed to have been a unique prototype and will be going under the hammer in Halls Fine Art’s 612-lot pictures, ceramics, collectables and modern design auction in Shrewsbury on Wednesday, June 26 with an estimate of £300 to £500.

Despite detailed research, Halls Fine Art’s ceramics special Caroline Dennard has been unable to find another example of the pastille burner and the Minton’s Archive has no record of it either.

“I have come to the conclusion that it must have been trial piece or experiment,” said Caroline. “It was modelled similarly to earlier Chinese porcelain night-lights, but I don’t know who the artist was or why and when they made it, but it was probably the in 1920s or ‘30s.

“It was consigned at one of our valuation days and the owner didn’t know much about where it came from. It’s a bit of mystery!”

The centrepiece of the auction’s ceramics section is a Shropshire couple’s large collection of more than 250 pieces by popular contemporary ceramicist Lorna Bailey which will be sold in 40 lots.

The collection includes ‘grotesque’ models of birds, a contemporary and much brighter play on the earlier concepts introduced by the likes of late 19th-century English ceramicists such as the Martin Brothers.

The auction also includes a Wedgwood ‘Travel’ part dinner / tea service by artist and designer Eric Ravilious (1903-1942) valued at up to £900. Ravilious died whilst serving with the RAF in the Second World War.

Valued at up to £500 is a pair of large, late 19th century, French porcelain moon flask vases, while a 53-piece Waterford Crystal ‘Colleen’ pattern drinking glass suite is perfect for existing or new collectors at up to £450.

Potential highlights of the furniture section are a 20th century Chinese carved hardwood opium bed with a canopied top at up to £500 and a Victor B. Wilkins for G Plan fresco teak sideboard at up to £300.

Works of art include sculptures by Guy Taplin titled ‘Lapwing’ and ‘Owl and Beetle in a Tree’ at up to £400 and £800 respectively while an Art Deco model of the ‘Snake Dancer’ after Claire Jeanne Roberte Colinet (1880-1950) is valued at up to £800.

Two carved wooden figures from 1920-‘30 by Nigerian artist Thomas Ona Odulate (active 1900-‘52), depicting a Colonial soldier and a district officer seated at a podium, are expected to fetch up to £500.

In the clocks section, a late 17th century oak brass dial longcase clock by John Andrews of London carries an estimate of up to £1,000 and an Omega brass-mounted car clock is expected to make up to £400.

The Battlefield saleroom will be open for viewing on Monday and Tuesday from 10am to 4pm.