The biggest of bids for the biggest of Staite Murray pots

The monumental vase by William Staite Murray, pictured together with Woolley & Wallis specialist Michael Jeffery.

The recent sale of Clarice Cliff, Art Deco & Design at Woolley & Wallis in Salisbury included 27 works by the studio potter William Staite Murray (1881-1962).

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Roland Arkell

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Few pieces made a greater physical or financial statement than Persian Bird, a monumental stoneware vase standing 2ft 1in (63cm) high.

Thrown in two sections, the body incised and painted with two large peacocks, it was one of two huge vases exhibited at the Lefevre Galleries in 1931 (when it failed to sell) and then again at the Staite Murray retrospective in 1958 at the Leicester Galleries. It came for sale from the 40-year collection of Daryl Fromm.

The Martin Brothers were his first love (40 pieces fetched £203,000 when sold in November) but he collected the works of several other potters including Charles Vyse, Bill Marshall, Janet Leach and Richard Batterham.

The estimate for the massive Staite Murray vase was a relatively modest £1500-2000 at the auction on March 18 but it found favour with multiple bidders before selling to a private collector at £28,000 (plus 25% buyer’s premium).

The price is thought be an auction record for Staite Murray. The same UK buyer bought several pieces from the Fromm collection that totalled £102,150.