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Made in Britain totals £2.5 million as Century of Ceramics fire up saleroom
Ivon Hitchens, Disused Lock, oil on canvas, circa 1960. Estimate: £25,000 - 35,000. Sold for: £68,750 ($91,506). Courtesy Sotheby’s.

LONDON.- Sotheby’s Made in Britain sale in London today once again soared past pre-sale expectations to realise a total of £2,480,155 (est. £1.3-2 million), with 90% of the lots finding a buyer and 71% these exceeding their high-estimates. The auction showcased a curated selection charting the journey of ceramics in Britain, with all but two of the forty-six ceramics sold, achieving a grand total of £512,628 more than doubling the pre-sale estimate of £166,400-250,600.

The auction was led by Dame Lucie Rie’s striking mustard Yellow Footed Bowl from the collection the late Emmanuel Cooper, which sparked a three-way bidding battle to sell for nearly thirteen times its pre-sale estimate at £125,000 (est. £8,000-12,000). Cooper, himself a talented potter and the editor of Ceramic Review magazine, was Rie’s biographer – pronouncing her work “timeless and majestic”. Testament to the enduring appeal and lasting legacy of one of Britain’s most eminent potters, a further ten works by Rie – and two collaborations with her former studio assistant Hans Coper – brought £295,375 (est. £69,600-105,400). Grayson Perry’s Men Have Lost Their Spirits, which appeared at auction for the first time since it was acquired directly from the artist in the 1980s, also soared above expectations bringing £52,000 (est. £20,000-30,000). An auction records was achieved for pioneering potter Ewen Henderson, whose expressive and textural hand-built form sold for £8,125 (est. £3,000-5,000).

Spanning a plethora of different art forms, the auction saw strong results for an array of diverse yet quintessentially British works by Ivon Hitchens, William Scott, Mary Fedden and Richard Hamilton.

Robin Cawdron-Stewart, Head of Sale, said: “The passion for uniquely British art remains undimmed among collectors from across the globe. Our focus for this season was presenting a selection of the very best in British studio ceramics, and our exhibition celebrated the enormously rich history behind these exquisite pieces. The results seen today in the saleroom reflect how these beloved British ceramicists are increasingly recognised as some of the most important, and covetable, names of the British art scene.”

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