Slipware owl rivals "Ozzy"

17th June 2021

The twin of a slipware owl made famous on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow has sold at auction for nearly £30,000.

Ozzy the Owl (now in the collection at the Potteries Museum in Stoke on Trent) came to the public’s attention in March 1990 when Henry Sandon gave its shocked owner a valuation of £20,000. It sold later that year for £22,000 when it was acquired by the museum.

The owl sold at Woolley and Wallis in Salisbury on 16th June was a near identical example, dating from the late 17th century. Unlike its better-known counterpart, the head of this owl had been broken into several pieces and restuck, but that didn’t deter one private collector pursuing it well above its top estimate of £8,000 to a premium inclusive price of £28,750.

“The market for English pottery has dipped considerably since the early 1990s and so we had no expectation that the owl sold on the 16th June would reach anywhere near the price achieved for Ozzy just over 30 years ago, let alone exceed it” said ceramics specialist at Woolley and Wallis, Clare Durham. “We had several private collectors bidding against the trade and it’s really encouraging to see that buyers are once again recognising quality and rarity in the pottery market and are prepared to pay accordingly.”

The owl had been consigned from the collection of the late Peter MacTaggart, an author and furniture restorer from Somerset. Mr MacTaggart had inherited the owl from his parents who ran an antiques business in Hertfordshire. From the same collection was consigned an early delftware blue dash charger painted with tulips, which sold for £20,000.

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