Phillips de Pury & Co. Announces Ceramic Highlights For September London Design Auction

Phillips de Pury & Company has announced the ceramics highlights from its London Design auction. The sale will offer the most important group of Modernist ceramics ever to appear at auction. Approximately forty works have been selected from the renowned Berkeley Collection. Formed during a period of nearly thirty years of close friendship between the collectors Harley Carpenter and Geof Walker and the Viennese born potter Lucie Rie. This auction is a unique opportunity to acquire some major works with an extraordinary exhibition history and well documented provenance by these most revered of ceramic artists. The ceramic works and wall will be displayed in the Phillips de Pury gallery in an innovative setting designed to enhance the viewers’ experience of the exhibition.’

Hans Coper, Line of Pots. Photo: Phillips de Pury & Company

Lucie Riegave Harley Carpenter and Geof Walker access to some of her best pieces and encouraged them to also collect those of her friend and collaborator Hans Coper. The collection grew steadily and soon became the first port of call for Museum curators looking for willing lenders. Many of the works on offer are recently returned from a ground breaking tour of Japan, the first retrospective of Hans Coper’s work in that country. Some pieces have also been shown at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Issey Miyake’s Design Foundation in Tokyo, The Barbican in London, The Museum Angewandte Kunst in Vienna and The Gardiner Museumin Toronto amongst others.

“The Berkeley Collection is legendary amongst Museum curators and collectors alike. Geof Walker and Harley Carpenter were always willing to lend their cherished collection and shared with many an aim to bring this important work to a larger audience. Almost accidentally, many of the pieces which we now have the pleasure of offering have become some of the artist’s most iconic works, representative of a uniquely creative period in the development of British ceramics and a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire a piece that represents what are widely regarded as being the pinnacle of these two artist’s distinguished careers.” Ben Williams, Contemporary Ceramics Specialist, Design Phillips de Pury & Company.

Highlights of the ceramics section include:

Hans Coper, The Swinton School Mural, 1962 £50,000­ £70,000

Hans Coper, The Swinton School Mural, 1962,estimated at £50,000 ­ £70,000

Hans Coper, Black bud pot with grey base, estimated at £30,000 ­ £40,000

Lucie Rie, Monumental blue vase, estimated at £30,000 ­ £40,000

Lucie Rie, Bowl with pink inlaid design, £5,000­ £7,000

Lucie Rie, Vase with golden glaze, terra­cotta on the shoulder, £6,000­ £9,000

Lucie Rie, Large pale yellow bowl with inlay and golden lip £8,000­ £12,000

Lucie Rie, Large oval bowl with blue and pink pitted glaze £12,000­ £16,000

The Swinton School Wall is the only lot in the section that comes from a source other than The Berkeley Collection. Designed and installed in 1962 the Swinton School Wall commission was initiated by Sir Alec Clegg, the innovative Chief Education Officer of the West Riding of Yorkshire County Council. It sat largely unnoticed for four decades in the school entrance hall until it was rediscovered by Maya Nishi, Japanese curator of a major Hans Coper retrospective and Ben Williams, Ceramics Specialist at Phillips de Pury. An offer of a loan to the exhibition was quickly agreed as the school was due to be demolished and there was a real risk that the piece may have been bulldozed.

A team of art handlers visited the school, and removed the 18 discs from the wall before having them cleaned and re­installed at Phillips de Pury. The wall has since been on loan to the exhibition that has toured Japan and has been a centerpiece of the show. The school is now selling the wall, the planned demolition of the old school building has been put on hold but they will benefit from the proceeds of the auction and intend to commission a replica for the new building once it is completed.

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