FALLS CHURCH, VA.-
In 1759, Josiah Wedgwood and Sons founded a family-owned and operated company whose distinctive wares became synonymous with fine English pottery and decorative accessories. On April 14, an important representation of 18th- to 20th-century Wedgwood blue jasperware will be offered on American shores, at Quinns Auction Galleries
in Falls Church, Virginia. It is the collection of Wedgwood specialist and founder/past president of Washington, D.C.s Wedgwood Society, Adele Barnett.
Barnetts interest in Wedgwood began in 1969 when her employer presented her with a birthday gift, a Wedgwood dish emblazoned with her zodiac sign. She liked it so much she decided to start a collection. She later became an active member of regional Wedgwood societies, starting with the Boston chapter, where she would serve as president. Her enviable collection ultimately grew to around 3,200 pieces, a third of which will be offered at the April 14 sale. Larger or scarcer items will be sold individually, while others have been cataloged in affinity groupings, e.g., three to six jugs in one lot.
The Barnett collection encompasses Wedgwood productions from 1780 to present day. Ive always viewed myself as a completist, Barnett said. People may think of Wedgwood wares as just the companys blue and white Jasperware, but theres so much more creamware, pearlware and black basalt, for example. Within the blue and white range alone, there are more than a dozen shades. I have a wide range of objects in the blue jasper vases, candlesticks, bowls, tea sets, plaques and medallions, and even a one-of-a-kind kitchen sink that was made as a prototype.
The circa-1980 sink has the potential of being functional, as it contains all of the plumbing required for installation in a kitchen, but it would be better served as a decorative item, Barnett said, as it is porous as opposed to glazed. The faucet handles were production items, but not the sink. It was made purely for use in the ad, which explains why its the only known example, Barnett said.
Two of the auctions most desirable dark blue and white jasperware entries are a circa-1865 jug with a Portland Vase motif and silver lid; and a circa-1895, 9-inch imperial footed bowl with a fern motif. Another Victorian production is a 10-inch pale blue and white bulbous jasperware lamp base with acanthus decoration.
Twentieth-century jasperware highlights in pale blue and white include a graceful 1967 urn with lid and stand, encircled by muses and other classical figures; and a handsomely framed 1997 rectangular plaque depicting Selene visiting Endymion. Visually arresting and impressively sized, it measures 20 by 11 inches.
A framed grouping of richly gilded black basalt Wedgwood Egyptian plaques produced in the 1970s incorporates three scenes: The Great Enchantress, the Lord of Diadem, and the Lord of Two Lands.
One of Wedgwoods most appealing and colorful lines is Fairyland Lustre, designed by Daisy Makeig-Jones (1881-1945). The fanciful series brightened the post-World War I landscape in Britain and went on to become a favorite in the United States during the Roaring Twenties. It was a solid income generator for Wedgwood until the Great Depression of 1929 put a damper on luxury purchases. A top example of Fairyland Lustre Lily in the Barnett collection is a tray or bowl, shape #2483, in the Gondola Fairy #Z4968 pattern. Its interior is a medley of gorgeous colors and fantasy figures, while its exterior is decorated with hummingbirds. It measures 13 inches in diameter and dates to around 1920.
Collectors will also have the opportunity to bid on decorative pieces collected over many years by Adeles husband, Alan Barnett. Within the selection are high-end artists pieces such as tobacciana items, mugs, shell-shape objects, animal figurines and statues.
The beauty of Wedgwood beyond the obvious aesthetics is its accessibility to buyers at all levels, Barnett said. A collector can be as diverse or as focused as they wish to be. You can spend less than five dollars or go all the way to the top. And its not just teapots and plates. In my collection you can see just how diverse their production lines have been over the last two-and-a-half centuries.
Were very honored that we were chosen to auction the Adele and Alan Barnett collection, said Quinns Senior Vice President Matthew Quinn. Adele is greatly respected not only for her encyclopedic knowledge of Wedgwood which is documented in her many papers, lectures and catalogs on the subject but also her service to Wedgwood Societies internationally. She has served on the board of directors for the Wedgwood Society of New York and on the board of governors of Wedgwood International Seminar. She also guest-curated several important exhibitions and co-chaired the Wedgwood-250 Exhibition USA project together with her dear friend, the late Lord [Piers] Wedgwood.
The Saturday, April 14, 2018 gallery auction of the Adele and Alan Barnett Wedgwood collection will commence at 11 a.m. Eastern Time. All remote forms of bidding will also be available, including absentee, phone and live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com or Invaluable.com.