No Pot Left Unsold

28th November 2019

An auction of two important collections of pottery by the pioneering Martin Brothers has left not a single lot unsold.

150 lots from the collections of Daryl Fromm and George Twyman, plus a further 37 lots from other vendors, fetched over £300,000 when they came under the hammer at Woolley and Wallis on 27th November, watched by two descendants of the famous potters.

“We’ve seen market freshness combine with rarity, quality and variety to achieve some strong sale results,” said Design specialist, Michael Jeffery. “Both collections, although different from each other, were a true testament to the quality of the work by these Victorian brothers, who were true pioneers of the studio pottery movement.”

The top lot of the sale was a stoneware bird jar and cover modelled by Robert Wallace Martin, which sold for £35,000 including premium. An unusual ‘Birdman’ jar and cover, also by Robert Wallace, fetched £32,500. Prices elsewhere ranged from the mid hundreds upwards, something else which Michael Jeffery believes helped to attract buyers. “The top prices are always those that hit the headlines, and we’ve been fortunate to have quite a few over the years. However, the Martin Brothers produced such a broad range of items that there is something to draw in collectors at all price points – you don’t have to be a millionaire in order to enjoy their work.”

With the Fromm collection totalling £203,000 and the Twyman collection making £98,000 (both including premium), the total for all 187 lots was £319,000.

The day of the auction saw a packed saleroom with buyers keen to compete in person, while those unable to attend booked up telephone lines or took advantage of Woolley’sLive, the auction house’s free online bidding platform. “The Martin Brothers never knew financial success in their own lifetime,” says Michael. “The fact that 100 years after their deaths they are attracting such keen commercial interest shows how enduring and appealing their pottery is, and to have this witnessed by members of their family created a very special moment.”

To view the results of the sale please click here.

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