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18th Century English Earthenwares

Four Fresh pieces of English Earthenware, 18th century, just added to stock.


Creamware is the term for an English earthenware body with a definite ‘cream’ tone, popular in the latter half of the 18th century and replicated across Europe. It emerged from the experimentation of Staffordshire potters seeking a local alternative to expensive Chinese porcelain around 1750. Their innovation yielded a refined cream to white earthenware with a lustrous clear lead glaze, prized for its lightweight construction and pristine finish, making it ideal for household use.
It was not expensive to produce when compared with porcelain, but also not as robust; replacements were probably a necessity if you were using Creamware tea wares or tablewares. After its heyday in the 1780’s, Creamware remained popular well into the 20th century despite competition from other ceramic types. Today, it is valued for the pleasant off-white body and refined shapes often decorated with bright spontaneous on glaze enamel flowers.

Salt glaze

Salt glaze refers to a distinctive ceramic made by the English potters in the mid-18th century, with an ivory-white stoneware body lightly glazed with a clear covering having a texture resembling orange peel.
This forms on the white high-fired stoneware body when common salt is introduced into the kiln at its highest temperature. During firing, sodium from the salt reacts with silica present in the clay, resulting in the formation of a glassy sodium-silicate coating. This glaze can exhibit a range of slight hues, usually colourless but also found in shades of brown (due to iron oxide), blue (from cobalt oxide), or purple (from manganese oxide).

The result is a glistening white product, usually slip-cast and very lightweight & thin, yet also very tough. Forgive me for making the comparison, but it could be mistaken for a plastic! The glaze is transparent, and fits tight and thin against the body, meaning any moulded decoration is as sharp and crisp as the clay beneath. It has become a highly desireable field to collect in the English Earthenwares field.


The Chinese were fond of a red clay sourced near the city of Yi Xing, on the Yangtze River Delta. When Europeans started trading with them in the 17th century, the ‘Yixing Stonewares’ were a popular item. Naturally, the local European potters were keen to provide versions of this suddenly popular ware, and the potters of Delft, in Holland produced a ‘clone’ of the Chinese – often with the same decoration – in the latter 17th century, followed by the Eeler Brothers, Dutch silversmiths who came to London in the 1680’s and produced the first English redwares. Meissen was a latecomer, with J.J.Böttger discovering a fine high-fired red ware body now named after him in 1706. By the mid 18th century, the potters of Staffordshire and elsewhere were making Redwares.

Wedgwood c. 1820

Characterized by its rich reddish-brown hues derived from iron in the clay oxidising in the firing process, English Redware exemplified both utilitarian functionality and aesthetic charm. Crafted with meticulous attention to detail, these pieces often featured simple yet elegant designs, at first copying the imported Chinese wares, but soon reflecting the prevailing tastes of the era. Commonly used for everyday household items such as teapots, jugs, and mugs, English redware found its place in both rural cottages and aristocratic homes alike. Despite its widespread popularity, redware production faced challenges from the emerging dominance of porcelain and other fine ceramics. Wedgwood brought it back to the tasteful table in the late 18th- early 19th century with a refined version they called ‘Rosso Antico’, and other firms through the Victorian era continued to make ‘redwares’ in small numbers. The original 18th-century English redware remains a testament to the skilled craftsmanship and enduring legacy of the era’s pottery traditions.


Jackfield Teapot close-up
Jackfield Teapot close-up

Jackfield is largely a generic name for a class of black/brown bodied earthenwares with a glossy ‘black’ glaze. I emphasise ‘black’ as close examination reveals it is actually made up of mostly dark brown tones, which combined with a dark-toned clay body appears black to the naked eye.

Jackfield Teapot
Jackfield Teapot c.1780

Traditionally this type of ware was said to be made at a pottery works located at Jackfield, near Coalport in Shropshire – which became the name for the type. But excavations and other evidence suggest that at the same time, such pieces were also made in Staffordshire and at other ceramic centres. The shapes and mouldings are often closely related to the other bodies detailed in this article, showing the black products were made alongside red wares , cream wares and salt glaze. Perhaps ‘black wares ‘ would be a more accurate name, but the ‘Jackfield’ name persists.

Decoration was hard, as the black surface didn’t allow for the usual decorative technique. Rare ‘cold-painted’ examples show that some were decorated in colourful oil paints, often with dedications and dates, painted onto a piece to order by a retailer, independent of the potteries.
Today, it is collected for the dramatic impact it makes in contrast to the usual white or off-white alternative wares.

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English Enamels & Derby figures

Welcome to our latest Fresh Stock release at Moorabool.

This week we have a fine selection of English Porcelain figures, and a collection of English Enamel patch & snuff boxes.

Enamel patch boxes and snuff boxes were everyday items for fashionable 18th century people of social status.

Patch-box with mirror in lid

Patchboxes, as their name suggests, were used to store ‘patches’ – literally small wax-based cosmetic ‘boils’ that were seen as essential beauty products in the 17th & 18th centuries. This ‘beauty spot’ fashion had a practical origin; the diseases of the era would often leave facial scars, and a patch could be used to fill the mark; however, it obviously became something more, with perfectly healthy un-diseased beauties feeling they had to add artificial patches to their faces!
The patchbox, with its compact size and elegant appearance, provided a convenient and stylish way to carry these essential fashion accessories on one’s person, ready to apply if needed. You can tell them by the mirror seen inside the lid – something seen into the modern era with the ‘powder-compact’.

Snuff boxes were used to store ‘snuff’ – essentially powdered tobacco, a popular stimulant in the 17th and 18th centuries. Snuff-taking was not only a social ritual but also a symbol of refinement and status. These boxes, often passed down as heirlooms, were prized possessions that reflected the taste and sophistication of their owners, making them cherished artifacts right to the present day.

Fresh to Stock – 18th century Enamel Boxes


One of these lovely enamel boxes isn’t what it seems: can you tell which?

SLIDE the line across to reveal the Sampson 19th century copy!

Derby Figures

Derby figures, originating from the renowned Derby Porcelain Factory founded by William Duesbury in 1756, represent a pinnacle of 18th-century ceramic artistry. These exquisite porcelain sculptures, often depicting scenes of pastoral life, classical mythology, or notable historical figures, are celebrated for their impeccable craftsmanship and artistic detail. From elegant ladies and gentlemen in period attire to elaborate animal and mythological motifs, Derby figures encompass a diverse range of subjects and styles, each meticulously sculpted and hand-painted with vibrant enamels. Reflecting the tastes of the aristocracy and burgeoning middle-class of Georgian England, these figures adorned the mantelpieces and tables of affluent households, serving as both decorative ornaments and symbols of status and refinement. Today, Derby figures remain highly sought-after by Collectors and Connoisseurs of Fine Things, cherished for their timeless beauty.

Fresh to Stock – Derby Figures – and more!

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A Rare Pair: Meissen copies of Sèvres, by J.G. Loehnig, circa 1786

Rare Meissen beakers in the Sèvres style, by Johann Georg Loehnig, c.1775

Sometimes, things don’t turn out to be what they look like. While that’s usually a pre-cursor for disappointment when we discover something is made later, or badly damaged – our recent experience was quite the opposite…
An enquiry about some ‘Dresden Cups’ with a photo of the two beautiful beakers illustrated here came to us. The pieces looked superb quality, and Sèvres would be a likely candidate – not Dresden, or Meissen as it is more familiarly known.

Handling them for the first time showed them to be even better than the photos. They are absolutely the most stunning items, and their condition exceptional. Turning them up reveals their surprise : a pair of crossed sword marks, for Meissen.

Definitely 18th century, and Vincennes/ early Sèvres style, but Meissen marks; clearly there’s a tale to be told….

A dive into the books brought up the answer: a rare moment in the world of Meissen, when it no longer led the way in porcelain taste in Europe, but followed the French. Once we had established the period, we were able to attribute the artist: Johann George Loehnig (1743 – 1806).

His work is rare. He was listed as one of the 1st-class artists in Meissen between 1764 and 1770. In 1786 he was still listed as a “…figure painter of the most exquisite class” in the manufactory’s list of painters. The artwork source for the lush and expressive putti were mostly provided by Johann Eleazar Zeissig (1737 – 1806), called Schenau, who in turn was inspired by François Boucher (1703 – 1770).”

Sèvres cherubs, 1758-9

Meissen cherubs, c. 1770

Meissen c. 1770

Meissen c. 1770

Meissen, the pioneering porcelain manufacturer in Europe, had led the field in discovering how to manufacture porcelain, inventing and defining the European taste for porcelain right from their first creations in the first decade of the 18th century. By the 1770’s, they had a large number of competitors, and lost their lead as innovators to other makers. There are several shapes ‘borrowed’ from France, and this cup shows the strong demand for the ‘French’ taste, decorated in a design that first appeared in Vincennes & Sèvres products in the 1750’s. While the Sèvres examples were based on the paintings and prints of Boucher, it has been suggested that the designs for the Meissen examples 25 years later came from the works by Schenau (Johann Eleazar Zeissig), Director of the Royal Academy of Arts in Dresden – who was himself directly influenced by the works of Boucher.

Very few examples are to be found of this direct copying, and appear to be limited to a few very exclusive tea sets – and chocolate, as seen here – made for the most wealthy of customers.

This cup, along with its companion, is said to have come to Australia in the 19th century, to be passed down several generations in Geelong, Victoria, before it was brought into our premises in Geelong in 2024.

Munich Museum tray – illustrated in ‘Meissen Porcelain of the 18th century’ by Hermann Jedding

There is a tea-tray in the Munich Museum which is so exactly related to this cup, we speculate it may be the original for a split-up setting – perhaps a teapot, a coffee/chocolate pot, a sugar bowl, and two cups & saucers sat on this as a dejeuner set. The main scene is Venus and attendant cherubs amongst clouts, while the small panels in the border feature trophies, with the borders around each being the exact leaf & flower design seen on this cup. There is an identical dentil border to the rim.

Above is a detail from Hermann Jedding ‘Meissen Porcelain of the 18th century’ p 104, pl. 179, showing a tray with the exact same figures, ground and fine gilt borders, described as being painted by Johann Georg Loehnig, who “…preferred preferred vessels in royal blue… which he painted with putti, lovers or portraits, often using the stippled dot technique”.  He describes the borders: “etched gold tendrils and flowers… the refined delicacy of French taste was also sought in Meissen”.

The tray illustrated is in the Munich Bayerisches Nationalmuseum , dated 1770.

Compare to the border of these beakers – it’s the same, and assumed to therefore be from the same unique commission, circa 1770. This was not a ‘pattern’ of the firm, and each commission would be different in detail, such as the gilt borders. The cherubs and their clouds appear identical in concept – although no colour photograph of the tray could be found.

A tray ‘manner of’ Loehnig sold at Christies, 2008:

Lempertz example of a complete service:

The V&A has a single example of his work:

Two rare Meissen chocolate cups, of tall beaker form, superbly painted by Johann Georg Loehnig with two panels of cherubs in clouds, in his distinct ‘stipple’ technique, imitating Vincennes/Sèvres products of the mid-18th century, set within ornate leaf & flowers raised & tooled gold frames, the foot with a solid gold band.

Crossed swords mark in underglaze blue to each, also indistinct underglaze ground-painter’s mark, pressnumer ‘.9′ (or 6’) in the foot rim.

Circa 1770

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Fresh Stock- Jewellery, Pottery & Porcelain, including Masons, Worcester, – a fine mix of quality items

Dr Wall Worcester at Moorabool Antiques, Geelong

Welcome to Moorabool’s latest Fresh Stock release – a fine selection of items, fresh to the market.
We’re also beginning to stock more jewellery, with an interesting selection of reasonably priced estate jewellery.

Jewellery @ Moorabool Antiques, Geelong
Jewellery @ Moorabool Antiques, Geelong

Mother’s Day is coming!

Why not spoil your mother with a lovely antique piece?
we’ve put together a gallery of ideas, have a browse here >

Fine 19th Century English Porcelain and more

The Worcester Factories

Worcester BLue & White Porcelain

In 1751, Dr Wall was one of the Worcester businessmen who funded the establishment of what was to become perhaps the most famous of all English porcelain manufacturers – the Worcester factory.

He held the reins of the firm for the next 25 years, and his business sense saw the firm becoming ‘the one’ that aristocracy & the wealthy of England turned to for their porcelain needs.

He died in 1776; in 1783 Thomas Flight, the London agent who had been marketing Worcester porcelain for a while, took over the factory; his two sons, Joseph and John managed it, known as the ‘Flight’ period.

John died in 1791, and a new partner came on board – Martin Barr. This is the ‘Flight & Barr’ period. In 1804, one of his sons is part of the firm, the name being ‘Barr Flight Barr’, the order of seniority. Then in 1813, Martin Barr died, and another of his sons joined, with Joseph Flight being the senior – hence the name is ‘Flight Barr Barr’.

Throughout these decades of the late 18th-early 19th century, across all the different partnerships, the same shapes and patterns were in use: it’s hard to separate the different periods visually. Luckily they were very good at marking pieces, and it’s an interesting exercise to find examples from each period.

These simple but elegant pieces were collected by someone keen to learn the chronology of the factory – basically, an example of the various partnerships of what was to become the major porcelain factory of the 19th century. They’re ready to serve the same purpose with a new owner – terrific ‘examples’ that are budget-friendly!

A Dr Wall Worcester rarity

This ‘Dalhousie pattern’ Worcester cup & saucer is a spectacular rarity, coming from a single identifiable service.

Worcester Stormont Service  cup & saucer
Worcester ‘Dalhousie’ type, ‘Stormont’ Service cup & saucer, c. 1780

The ‘Dalhousie’ pattern name comes from a service owned by the Earl of Dalhousie, with central landscape surrounded by blue border, and swags of fruit to the rim; however, there are multiple variations on this theme in the Worcester products, so the name ”Dalhousiue’ has come to refer to a style rather than a service.

This cup and saucer, however, does have an important association with another service: in the Zorensky Collection there is an identical coffee cup& saucer which Spiro & Sandon associate with the Lord Stormont service. 7th Viscount Stormont had been the Ambassador to France in the 1770’s, and this Worcester tea service from the 1780’s reflects this:

“….. the shape of the handle is unusual and the saucer has a well recessed slightly in the centre in which the foot of the cup sits, a feature derived from Sèvres. These features are unusual but occur on the Stormont service which was a special order involving many unusual tea ware forms.” 

A 'Sevres' handle on a Dr Wall Worcester cup
A ‘Sevres’ handle on a Dr Wall Worcester cup, Stormont Service c. 1780

The 7th Viscount Stormont also had a desert service made to Sèvres shapes, also represented in the Zorensky Collection. These Sèvres services are still at Scone house, ancient Royal seat of the Scottish Kings and home of the present Viscount. The Worcester ‘copies’ seem to have been dispersed at some time, and this rarity found its way to a collection in Melbourne, Australia.

Also ‘Fresh’…..

Coming Soon…..

Pottery coming soon
Some early English Pottery @ Moorabool Antiques
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Fresh Stock – Torquay Art Pottery + more…

Toruquay Pottery Devon UK

Welcome to another Moorabool ‘Fresh Stock’.
This one features a collection of English ‘Art Pottery’ from the distinct Devon potters of Torquay. They’re always nicely made pieces, with a rich terracotta-toned body slipped in colours, often scratched-through or finely painted with stylish scenes, but most notable for their inscriptions. This gives rise to a popular nick-name, ‘Mottoware’.

We have some pretty fun ones, and they read like a scroll through some Instagram memes –

There would be no shadows
If the sun were not shining
Empty vessels make the most noise
Don’t worry, it may never happen
To Have a Friend is to Be One …

Some were souvenirs – for example, the mini teapot is inscribed ‘The Oldest Chemist Shoppe in England, Knaresborough Est. 1720 ‘.

Among them are two particularly interesting pieces. One commemorates the friendship between Britain and the USA; the other is commemorating the Boer War.

May They Ever Be United-USA UK Torquay Devon pottery mug
“May They Ever Be United” -unusual commemorative USA & UK Torquay (Devon) art pottery mug c. 1917

This commemorative is a bit of a mystery; the inscription ‘May They Ever Be United’ suggests an event, such as the ‘Great White Fleet’ of 1907-09, where the US sent a group of their battleships around the world on a publicity cruise – including to Australia, where many souvenirs of the event were made. However, they never visited Britain!

Instead, the mug could have been made circa 1917, when America entered WWI on the 6th April. A thankful Britain hosted American ships & troops on their way to the battlefields, and a souvenir like this would have been readily sold to the visitors. They seem to be very scarce.

Aller Vale Torquay Pottery Boer War commemorative Tommy Atkins mug
Rare Torquay pottery Boer War Commemorative ‘Tommy Atkins’ mug, by Aller Vale, c. 1900

This unusual piece was made to commemorate the Boer War. Marked ‘Aller Vale’, it was made at the Aller Vale pottery, Torquay.

The Torquay Potters

A quick history.

Torquay Pottery
Torquay Pottery vase, c. 1910. This is reminiscent of Dresser designs of the 1870’s.

The Devon potters of the Torquay region were active back into pre-history, with a bountiful supply of rich terracotta-toned clay to use. In the late 19th century, the ‘Arts & Crafts’ movement arose, and the region came to support a flourishing industry into the 20th century of Art Potters.

The present industry was started by a Mr Allen, who established the Watcombe Clay Company Ltd on the outskirts of Torquay in 1869, with Mr Charles Brock of Staffordshire as the manager. In 1901 it merged with the Torquay pottery firm of Aller Vale, but continued to make ‘Watcombe’ marked pieces.

The styles of the group of companies in the area are often very similar – they were tapping into the same market, and the Arts & Crafts tradition provided a wonderful stimulus for shapes & decoration. Dr Christopher Dresser was the origin of some incredibly ‘modern’ designs produced at the Watcombe Pottery in the 1870’s, and this simplicity and elegance can be seen in the products of the Torquay potteries for the next few decades.

Another line sometimes seen were terracotta plaques, complete with moulded frames, ready to hang on the wall. Some quite talented artists used these as their ‘canvas’, painting in oils.

An example we have sighted comes with an interesting provenance: it has theme of Beatrice Charlotte Henty (1867-1950) on the back, with her address at ‘Tarring’, Kew. She was the granddaughter of James Henty, who is regarded as the first of the settlers to arrive in what is now Victoria in the 1830’s. The painting, of a shipwreck with survivors struggling ashore, is very well painted, and as there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of Beatrice being such a competent artist, the inscription is probably one of ownership – in fact, pieces like this were brought out to the 1880 Exhibition in Melbourne, and continued to be available in the luxury stores of Melbourne in the late 19th century.

The Torquay Pottery Firms include:

The Torquay Pottery at Heel Cross, Devon, (known as Watcombe after the nearby Country House) commenced production in 1875, making terracotta vessels and plaques as seen above. It was after their merge with nearby Aller Vale that they began to make the ‘Motto Ware’, and used their ‘Royal Torquay Pottery’ mark from 1924.
The introduction of restrictions during WWII stressed the firm to the point of closure before the war finished, in the early 1940’s.

Aller Vale was one of the larger potteries in the Torquay group. Founded near Newton Abbot in 1881 by John Phillips, it was heavily influenced by the Arts & Crafts movement, and absorbed the Watcombe and Longpark potteries in the early 20th century, before being absorbed in turn by the Watcombe Pottery.
It gained a ‘Royal’ addition to its name after visits and purchases of the wares by Queen Victoria’s daughter, Princess Louise, and Alexandra, wife of Edward VII.
Liberty’s of London stocked Aller Vale slipware decorated pieces.
It closed in 1932.

Barton Pottery was founded by four workmen from other Torquay potteries in 1922, and made a variety of ‘typical’ Torquay-style Motto Wares. By 1926 this partnership had broken up, and a Limited Company established – reflected in the mark. It closed in 1935.

Longpark Pottery was founded in 1883, but it was in 1903 when Aller Vale Pottery took them over that they began making the slip-decorated ‘Motto Ware’. As well as ‘LONNGPARK’, they used the name ‘TORMOHUN’. The firm was still running after WWII, but gradually declined, closing in 1957.

There are more firms not mentioned here, but this short list covers the examples you’ll find below. They’re a rather cheerful, even inspirational thing to collect – I mean the advice alone is worth it!

‘All that Glitters is not Gold’…..


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Minton rarities, Australian Pottery, American Ceramics – and more, Fresh to Stock

Welcome to an interesting Moorabool ‘Fresh Stock Release’.

Featured are a small collection of early Victorian ‘Staffordshire Cottages’ – pastille burners that were made as mini houses with working chimneys to allow the smoke out!

Minton Majolica 'Chinaman' teapot, bright majolica colours, 1874
Our latest character to arrive at Moorabool….

There’s a couple of rare British Pottery pieces, the most noticeable being the Minton Majolica ‘Chinaman’ teapot. This remarkable design is a ‘Minton Classic’, chosen in the 20th century as one of their reproduction lines – but ours is original, and very early: the design appears in the early 1870’s, and this example bears the date code for 1874.

He’s an interesting character, dressed in a magnificent flower-decorated pale blue coat and green pants incised with bamboo. His hair is in a thick platt, and loops around as the handle. He’s holding a mask, a ferocious dark character, from whose mouth protrudes the green-glaze spout. His head lifts off as the lid, and his hair is held up with a tall comb that acts as the knob – which brings to mind the possibility that this is in fact a woman!

The other notable item is a pair of ‘Moon Flasks’, the name & shape borrowed from the Chinese. These are painted with cherubs catching butterflies amongst apple blossom – so very Victorian!
They are signed by the artist, and this opens up an interesting background: two sisters, Eliza J. and Rosa J. Strutt, were employed at the London workshop known as ‘Minton’s Art Studio Pottery, South Kensington’. Minton had set this up in 1870 in South Kensington. These flasks are by Eliza J. Strutt.

Pair of Minton Art Studio Moonflasks, painted by Eliza J. Strutt, 1873

This fascinating Art Pottery studio actually owes its origins to the establishment of the Victoria & Albert Museum, South Kensington. When this was being set up, the museum’s interior decorations were planned to include lavish tile panels, and Minton was commissioned to execute them. From this came the idea for a London based decorating studio; land was leased by Minton right next to the Royal Albert Hall – and they shared the smokestack used for their kilns with the heating apparatus for the hall!
The Minton Art Pottery Studio opened in 1871 with the great designer W.J. Coleman as the director. The blank pots were made at Minton, and decorated in the new studio by students from the Government’s ‘National Art Training Schools’. 3/4 of these were women, and a contemporary account stated ‘…it was worthy of notice as the only place in London devoted to the manufacture of high-class pottery’.
Unfortunately, a fire destroyed the complex in 1875 and it was never re-built.

An interesting Minton fact: there’s a change in the name/mark, illustrated perfectly in these two pieces: from 1873, the first mark ‘MINTON’ (as seen on the teapot) is changed to ‘MINTON’S’ (as seen on the vases).

MINTON MINTON'S marks, 1873 1874

British Pottery Rarities

Australian Pottery

Plus more!

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Fresh Stock – Australian Art, Indian Metalwares & Textiles, Studio Pottery, and more…

Welcome to our latest ‘Fresh Stock’ post.

It’s a great variety – Asian, Indian, and Australian!

We have a vast number of exciting English & Continental Ceramics coming in the next few weeks, for those who are looking for something a little ‘finer’ than today’s offerings….


Asian Items

Indian Items

The Dawn of Moorcroft…. a William Moorcroft teapot, Macintyre-made 1898

James Macintyre & Co employed the ceramic artist William Moorcroft in 1897, where he was responsible for the introduction of the slip-decorated designs they called ‘Aurelian Ware’. This was of course to blossom into the famous Moorcroft firm when William left Macintyre in 1913 and set up his own works, with the help of Liberty’s of London.

This piece bears the registration number 311,909.
The British Registration numbers for 1897 ended with 311,657;  the registration of this teapot design was the 252nd for 1898, indicating it was probably prepared in 1897, the first year of William Moorcroft’s employment at Macintyre’s works, and submitted early in 1898. Despite the damage to the spout, it is a desirable rarity illustrating the beginning of the epic Moorcroft art form that continues to this day!

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Fresh Stock – English Watercolours, Sterling Boxes, Corkscrews – and more….

Robert Hollands Walker (1852-1920)

Welcome to the latest Fresh Stock release on

This week, a wide variety of interesting items awaits.

There’s a fine selection of quality English watercolours, including a beautiful landscape by William B. Thomas, and a pair of enticing little gems with a pre-Raphaelite feel by the virtually unknown artist William Took.

English Watercolours

William Took Watercolours
William Took Watercolours

English Watercolours

FRESH to Stock

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Fresh Stock, inc. The Grand Tour, a Wedgwood ‘Egyptian’ jug, Royal Collectables, a Marble Bust & more!

Welcome to our latest ‘Fresh Stock’.
This week, it’s a great variety, with some superb rarities in the ‘Grand Tour’ section, a fascinating selection of brass & bronze items, a marble bust, and a small selection of Royal Commemoratives.


The Grand tour

The ’Grand Tour’ was the Englishman’s experience of travelling through the lands of the Ancient Roman & Greek worlds, and discovering the romance of Antiquity. It was philosophy, art, food, and culture, all very different to what was back in England – so there was naturally a desire to take some culture back as a souvenir. This could be a painting or two, or a piece of antiquity – even if it had just been made the week before….

The Grand Tourist: this fascinating watercolour by William Oliver shows the noted English artist on his ‘Grand Tour’, visiting the ruins of Hadrian’s fantastic Villa at Tivoli – resting amongst the crumbling brickwork, he is seen sketching some locals in their traditional Italian dress.
The bronze ewer below is a fine example of a ‘Grand Tour’ souvenir that was probably sold to an unsuspecting tourist… a familiar situation still confronts a tourist in many places today!

This fantastic Wedgwood rarity is also a mystery: marked ‘EGYPTIAN JUG’, it is clearly a GREEK style vessel!
It was made & marked by Wedgwood, for a Cambridge grocer, Woollard & Hattersley, one of a few examples where Wedgwood put on marks for their clients alongside their own.



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A Rare Wedgwood ‘Egyptian’ jug, 1854

Wedgwood 'Egyptian' Jug, registered 1854, at Moorabool Antiques, Geelong

This rare piece of Wedgwood came to Moorabool recently, and is quite a remarkable piece.

  • Wedgwood 'Egyptian' Jug, registered 1854, at Moorabool Antiques, Geelong
  • Wedgwood 'Egyptian' Jug, registered 1854
  • Wedgwood 'Egyptian' Jug, registered 1854, at Moorabool Antiques, Geelong
  • Wedgwood 'Egyptian' Jug, registered 1854, at Moorabool Antiques, Geelong
  • Wedgwood 'Egyptian' Jug, registered 1854, at Moorabool Antiques, Geelong

Rare Wedgwood ‘Egyptian Jug’, modelled in black basalt after an Ancient Greek oinochoe, with a faithful painted ‘black-figure’ style panel featuring a bird in flight flanked by two facing sphinx, defined by terracotta slip painted ground colour, with bands below to the foot & to the trefoil lip, the figures with white enamel highlights.

Large impressed registration triangle, with circular inscription “THE EGYPTIAN JUG / SOLD ONLY BY º / WOOLLARD & HATTERSLEY / CAMBRIDGE”. , also ‘WEDGWOOD” and modeller’s marks.

Wedgwood Egyptian Jug
Wedgwood Egyptian Jug

This rarity was made for Woollard & Hattersley, who had the design registered in April 1854 as ‘The Egyptian Jug’ (ref. British Museum’s description), and made at Wedgwood. Established in 1761, Woollard & Hattersley were grocers, who also listed themselves as ‘ University Providers’. Their adverts list the various beverages they stocked, no doubt in great demand in the many Cambridge University halls. This jug is sometimes listed as an ‘ale jug’, and would be quite useful as one – perhaps a promotional giveaway of the early Victorian period….

Greek original, Attic, 5th century BC

It is a superb example of the interest in re-imagining the classical world through the ‘revival’ movements – with one glaring mistake: although claiming to belong to the ‘Egyptian’ removal, it is in fact a faithful copy of a Corinthian Greek archaic style oinochoe, dating to the 6th century BC!

There were several versions made. Although apparently not in the literature, there are two examples in auction records that have a clue to the ambiguous ‘Egyptian’ naming: they are impressed-marked “THE CANTERBURY JUG” instead of “THE EGYPTIAN JUG” – but then the decorator of the jug has painted over the top of the impressed mark, with “EGYPTIAN” !

A- example @ Moorabool Antiques, solid black body with red painted background EGYPTIAN JUG
B- solid red ware example, the background painted in black – EGYPTIAN JUG
C- solid black, red printed registration diamond, red painted background CANTERBURY / EGYPTIAN
D- solid black, red printed registration diamond, red painted background CANTERBURY / EGYPTIAN

‘The Canterbury Jug ‘ was perhaps a reference to an example of a Greek oinochoe jug, in the collection of an antiquarian of the region, as yet untraced. The design was registered in 1854, but promptly re-named, as shown by examples with ‘Egyptian’ painted over ‘Canterbury’. The marking stamp was then modified for the following products, creating the inaccurate name ‘Egyptian Jug’. It is a rarity amongst Wedgwood products due to the registration & patron mark.

A curios example sold in America recently (C) bears the registration diamond for 1854, but also a painted inscription for the word ‘Egyptian’. Careful examination reveals a different impressed word beneath – ‘CANTERBURY’ – so originally it was inscribed ‘THE CANTERBURY JUG’. Another example was sold in America with the exact same feature (D), meaning it was not a unique production issue. We can conclude this mark was original, but for some reason, the name of the custom-order by Woollard & Hattersley was changed to ‘EGYPTIAN’. Subsequent productions also differ in the way the registration diamond is shown; one is printed on in red, while the other is impressed.

Wedgwood 'Egyptian' Jug, registered 1854
Based on a Corinthian Greek ‘Black Figure’ jug of the 6th century BC