The White Glove Sale

2nd March 2015

A 345 lot private collection of British Art Pottery was, in auction terms, ‘a white glove sale’ with 100% of The Nick Rocke Collection sold.

Nick Rocke (b.1942-2014) was formerly a pupil at Bryanston School in Dorset, where he developed his passion for music and the arts.  In 1995 he donated his single manual harpsichord and the Jennings organ to the new music school and his musical affinity also lead him to run Bournemouth Classical Compact on Poole Road, specialising in classical and jazz cds.

The saleroom at Woolley & Wallis in Salisbury had standing room only when the first lot went under the hammer on Wednesday 25th February.  Online bidders brought an international audience driving prices well above their estimates. Collectors, unseen at the salerooms for over ten years, together with friends and acquaintances of Nick’s were keen to add to their collections, proving the British Art pottery market and in particular Pilkington’s, which provided the top two lots in the sale, are still very strong.

A large Pilkington’s Lancastrian ginger jar and cover by Richard Joyce, dated 1911 made the top price.  The quality of the paintwork depicting scaly fish swimming in turbulent waters had a London buyer on the internet secure the lot for £4,640.  Another Pilkington’s Lancastrian vase by William S. Mycock, dated 1930 sold for the next best price of £4,150.

The 103 lot Ruskin pottery section was equally strong. Lot 130 a large high-fired vase by William Howson Taylor, the founder of The Ruskin Pottery in Smethwick, established in 1898, selling for £3,900.  This vase is also believed to be the first Ruskin piece bought by Nick and thus started the collection. 

A 'white glove' auction is a rare event. This nomencluature relates back to the 19th century when the auctioneer was presented with a pair of white silk gloves at the end of an auction where every lot sold.

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