Shropshire Star

Late hotelier’s China collection to be sold at auction with value at £35,000

An important collection of Coalport China which belonged to a late Shropshire hotelier is to be sold at auction.

Pieces from the Ivor Southorn collection that will be sold in October.

Ivor Southorn's Coalport Collection, valued between £30,000 and £35,000, has been consigned by his family to Halls Fine Art in Shrewsbury where the 192 lots will be sold on October 4 and December 6.

“We are delighted that Ivor’s family has chosen Halls Fine Art to sell this important collection of Coalport in the county where the pottery was founded,” said Caroline Dennard, Halls Fine Art’s ceramics, glass and militaria specialist. “We anticipate international interest in this unique collection which has such a great backstory.”

Born and bred in Broseley, Ivor came from a family of clay pipe makers.

His interest in Coalport began in 1935 when, aged nine, he and his father rescued a collection of plaster moulds from the old Coalport China works.

The site, which had closed in 1926 when the company moved to Stoke-on-Trent, was being cleared to prepare for another business.

Ivor often related a story of sitting in the hired lorry with his father and making the journey to collect the moulds, which were beginning of his collection.

His father was a friend of Coalport artist Ted Ball, whom Ivor visited often as a young boy to watch him work. He would later add a number of Ball’s pieces to his collection.

Purchases were made both locally and abroad, including the United States, and a large number of pieces came from late Ironbridge dealer Bill Dickenson.

An active member of local history societies, Ivor was proprietor of Broseley’s Cumberland Hotel, where he proudly displayed some of his collection and sometimes even used expensive pieces to serve dinner guests.

The hotel’s lounge and dining room were both adorned with special carpets featuring Coalport vases. Sadly, Ivor died in 2006 and now his family has decided to sell the collection to allow others to enjoy the Coalport pieces.

The collection includes a limited edition Coalport vase and cover, valued at up to £2,000, commemorating Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, which was made specifically for export to the United States, where Ivor purchased it.

Another highlight is a pair of Coalport ornithological vases and covers painted by John Randall, circa 1871, similar to a vase shown at Annual International Exhibition in London in 1871, which is also expected to fetch up to £2,000. Ivor loaned the vases to the Ironbridge Museum’s Bicentenary Coalport Exhibition in 1996.

Also expected to attract great interest is an important Coalport dessert centre dish, from the Nicholas 1 Service, circa 1845, which is valued at up to £900.

“This dish was part of the service made by the command of Queen Victoria for presentation to Tsar Nicholas I during his royal visit to England in 1844,” Caroline added.

“The service was presented the following year in St. Petersburg. The Tsar liked the service so much that he ordered an additional 124 plates in the same pattern from the Imperial Porcelain Factory and a further co-ordinating dinner service from Coalport in 1849.

“In 1934, a selection of plates from the original service was sold by the Narkomat for Foreign Trade. A substantial number of the surviving pieces can be found in the State Hermitage Museum.”