Peter Wilson Auctioneers To Sell The Harry Sheldon Collection Of Wedgwood Wedgwood ceramics collected by a man who started work at the Etruria factory straight from school are to be sold by Nantwich, Cheshire, England, auctioneers Peter Wilson on September 7-8.
forgot that back in 1930, a Mrs Warrilow worked in the department where black basalt was sorted after firing. Visitors were never allowed in, because the pieces came from the oven looking dull and grey. After a rub with sandpaper, a paste of polish and turpentine was brushed on and left to dry. It was then rubbed with a smooth duster to produce what Harry called a "bloom". As a junior, it was Harry's job to go to a shop in the village to purchase three dozen tins of boot polish at a time, for Mrs Warrilow's secret process. Years later, all of Harry's basalt was given a beautiful 18th century finish, including the smashed Homer vase, now restored to its former glory. The vase is estimated at £300-500.
The sale comprises approximately 100 lots. From Harry senior's collection is an unusual tricolour on black basalt plaque, circa 1800, depicting a goddess riding a chariot (estimate £100-150); a Wedgwood majolica 'Corinthian' stick stand (£600-800); a pair of lidded twin-handled vases painted with a lake scene (£80-120); and among a number of ceramic pieces by the French Artist Emile Lessore (1805-1876) a self portrait etching. It will be sold along with a naive oil on canvas 'Birthplace of Josiah Wedgwood, Churchyard House, Burslem', and nine watercolours of the Wedgwood factory by B.J Hodgkiss, a porcelain painter there (£100-200).
For Harry Jnr, the sale is full of memories. When the Etruria works were demolished in 1965, Harry Snr was able to salvage a few mementos. They included three potting wheels, a potter's stool, the factory's bell wheel and six 1930s grinding balls used for mixing pigment. They are estimated at £100-150.
Said Harry Jnr: "There are two books in the sale, one is a Wedgwood library book from Etruria, and the other was a gift from Kathleen Farrier, the famous singer, to the Harrison's at Maer Hall, the former seat of Josiah Wedgwood II, thanking them for a lovely time spent there. These two books were purchased by my father from a sale at Maer Hall, while the large book 'The Imperial Russian Dinner Service 1909', illustrates every item in the service (£120-160). This fantastic book was very special to my father, as were the two-volume first edition set of 'The Life of Josiah Wedgwood'" (£100-150).
A blue Jasper dip version of the famous Portland Vase, the base applied with the head of Paris in white, is estimated at £500-800, as is an early 19th century black basalt Bacchus wine ewer, modelled with a satyr gripping the horns of a ram's mask and a mid 20th century pair of black Jasper dip lidded vases, decorated with the dancing hours. A pair of mid 20th century lidded black Jasper dip vases with twin satyr mask handles decorated with ribbon swags between engine turned fields is estimated at £300-500.
Away from Wedgwood, one of the choicest pieces in the sale is from Harry Jnr's collection: an early example of Royal Doulton's magnificent figurine Princess