Shropshire Star

Late Shropshire hotelier’s Coalport collection sells for £51,000

An important collection of Coalport China which belonged to a late Shropshire hotelier has sold for £51,000 over two sales by a leading regional fine art auction house.

The Russian Imperial Porcelain Manufactory dinner plate from the Raphael Service commissioned for Alexander III which sold for £9,500.

The Ivor Southorn Coalport Collection was consigned by his family to Halls Fine Art in Shrewsbury where the 192 lots were sold in October and on December 6.

“We are delighted for Ivor’s family that his important collection of Coalport has sold so well and fittingly in the county where the pottery was founded,” said Caroline Dennard, Halls Fine Art’s ceramics, glass and militaria specialist.

“Out of 67 lots entered in the second part of the sale, only two were unsold and there were some outstanding results in this unique collection which has such a great back story.”

An important Coalport dessert centre dish, from the Nicholas 1 Service, which sold for £3,800.

The top selling lot was a porcelain dinner plate from the Russian Imperial Porcelain Manufactory, St Petersburg, from the Raphael Service, commissioned for Alexander III in 1891, which sold for £9,500.

The Raphael Service, the decoration of which was inspired by artist Raphael’s frescoes, adorning the Loggia of the Vatican, reflects the opulence and grandeur of the Russian Royal family in the latter part of the 19th century.

The commission was the largest, most expensive and most imposing the Imperial Porcelain factory had undertaken. It was destined for use in the prestigious Tsarskoye Selo and its ceremonial service encompassed an astounding 50-place settings.

Lot 200: A pair of Coalport ornithological vases and covers painted by John Randall which sold for £3,400.

The meticulous work on this extraordinary service spanned two decades, culminating in its completion in the year 1903. The following year, the service was granted a place of honour in the Anichkov Palace, following the request of Tsarina Maria.

Another highlight was a pair of Coalport ornithological vases and covers painted by John Randall, circa 1871, which sold for £3,400. The pair was similar to a vase shown at Annual International Exhibition in London in 1871 and Ivor loaned them to the Ironbridge Museum’s Bicentenary Coalport Exhibition in 1996.

An important Coalport dessert centre dish, from the Nicholas 1 Service, circa 1845, sold for £3,800.

“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.”

Born and bred in Broseley, Ivor came from a multi-generational 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 visited Coalport artist Ted Ball as a young boy to watch him work and later added a number of his 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 decided to sell the collection to allow others to enjoy the Coalport pieces.

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