The Anthony & Marietta Coleridge Collection | Worcester Ceramics & Works of Art

30 August 2022


Bellmans is delighted to announce Works of Art and Ceramics from The Anthony & Marietta Coleridge Collection will be offered in the auctions on 7th and 8th September 2022.

Anthony Coleridge was well-known in auction circles, a Director of Christie's as well as Chairman and later President of Christie’s South Kensington. Tony was a leading member of Christie's furniture department and principal auctioneer in their House Sales team for over 20 years. In 1968 Tony published his seminal book Chippendale Furniture, the work of Thomas Chippendale and his Contemporaries in the Rococo Style, quickly establishing his reputation as a leading Furniture Historian with many articles on English 18th century Cabinet-Makers for the Apollo, Connoisseur & Burlington magazines.

Anthony's memoirs mention the moment when his interest in furniture was sparked while he was at Eton in 1948 where his House Master, George Tait, “a rather bohemian character“, walked into the library one day with the three large and heavy folio volumes of the 1927/28 Edition of the History of English Furniture. "He plonked them down in front of me and said the unforgettable words ‘Coleridge - you told me you were interested in English Furniture: get stuck into them!' I did and I have never looked back!"

It is no surprise that he was a keen collector, not just of furniture, but in particular of works of art and ceramics, and that he looked after his collection meticulously and recorded it in considerable detail. It is important, however, to stress that it was always the Marietta and Anthony Coleridge Collection - a heartfelt acknowledgement that the process of choosing and enriching the "things" at home was a shared journey that started in 1967, when they married.

In 1962 when Marietta (née Gordillo Martin) first came to England from Spain, she met Mel Russell-Cooke, the daughter of the captain of the Titanic, and a close bond and deep friendship was soon formed. In 1963, whilst Mel and Marietta were staying with the Burnhams at Hall Barn, she first met Anthony. Mel became a 'second mother' to Marietta and following her sudden death in 1973, Marietta and Anthony inherited her house, Pratt’s at Leafield near Burford. Anthony wrote in his memoirs: “Its contents form a major portion of our collection. She had great taste and we shall forever be in her debt. She was a remarkable lady and a great beauty.”

The pieces in this sale are testimony to the discerning eye that he shared with Marietta and the joy that each and every acquisition gave them both. The highlight among the European ceramics is a group of about 45 lots of Worcester black and white printed wares after engravings by Robert Hancock ranging in dates from circa 1758-1775. Rarely do so many pieces of this come onto the market from one collection.

A Worcester small cylindrical tankard from circa 1760 with Robert Hancock's 'The Minuet' on front and 'The Garland Makers' on the reverse was exhibited in an exhibition on Hancock in 1991 and had been part of The John Williams Collection in the USA. It is now estimated at £250 - £350. A teabowl and saucer printed with birds from circa 1758-60 carries an estimate of £200 - £300, as does a small cylindrical mug from circa 1760 with fishermen, while a pair of small fluted plates from around 1765, both with Dutch scenes, are expected to sell for £150 - £250.

Among the Works of Art is a George III shell-encrusted tea-caddy of hexagonal shape which carries an estimate of £300 - £500, complimented by various group lots of silver mounted tiger Cowrie shell snuff-boxes from the 18th and 19th century included with estimates ranging from £100 - £200 to £400 - £600. A Continental silver mounted relief carved mother-of-pearl snuff-box from the 18th century depicting a satyr and a sleeping nymph is estimated at £180 - £220, while a gilt-metal sphinx from the 19th Century modelled after a Bow figure is expected to fetch £80 - £120.

Intricate and curious works of art feature throughout the Anthony and Marietta Coleridge Collection, including treasures bought from luxury shopping in the era of the Palais-Royale. Lot 702, two delicate aide-memoires epitomise this point, typifying the luxury goods sold at the Palais Royal. These notebooks are richly & intricately ormolu mounted on contrasting veneers of mother-of-pearl, the covers concealing silk pages inside. They are each complete with a stylus for marking, contained neatly within a coiled closing mechanism.

During the period known at the Restauration, the Palais Royal was the social and retail hub of Paris; a bustling space of arcaded shops, coffee houses, gambling dens & restaurants set around formal gardens, originally a palace built for Cardinal Richelieu. It was the place to acquire all manner of extraordinary and extravagant luxury – described at the time by a visiting British journalist, John Scott as: ‘The shops of the Palais Royal are brilliant: they are all devoted to toys, ornaments, or luxuries of some sort’.

Other Palais Royal treasures from the collection include: Lot 696, a Charles X Palais Royal ormolu mounted and cut glass casket, Lot 700, a Palais Royal gilt-metal mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell pill box, Lot 701, a Louis-Philippe Palais Royal mother-of-pearl and gilt-metal monocular and Lot 703, a Charles X Palais Royal gilt metal spill holder modelled as a winged cherub bearing a sheaf of wheat.

This unique collection of lots will feature within Bellmans' Works of Art auction, 7th September and in the European Ceramics & Glass auction, 8th September at the West Sussex Auction Room and online.

Open for Viewing:
Friday 2 September | 9am-5pm
Saturday 3 September | 9am-12.30pm
Monday 5 September | 9am-5pm
Tuesday 6 September | 9am-5pm

Browse and bid the whole auction here.


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