Works by Lucie Rie (1902-95) and Hans Coper (1921-80), the preeminent figures of the studio pottery movement, highlight a private collection of British post-war arts and crafts to be sold in the Design & Modern Art sale on May 19.
Kenneth ‘Ken’ Mellon (1923-2015) – older brother of the well-known ceramicist Eric James Mellon (1925-2014) – was a commercial architect who worked for the North Western Health Service from the establishment of the NHS in 1948 until his retirement in 1983.
He collected from the 1970s, transforming his traditional Berkshire cottage into a shrine to British modernism, befriending along the way artists such as the St Ives naive school painter Bryan Pierce (1929-2007) with whom he struck up a regular correspondence.
In a currently strong market for the best British studio pottery, two black glazed Hans Coper vessels c.1965 carry hopes of £4000-7000 each while Lucie Rie’s shouldered form vase with impressed circular motifs and a dripped manganese glaze c.1970 is estimated at £3000-6000.
Coper and Rie will be complemented by Mellon’s substantial collection of works by the ceramicist John Maltby (b.1936) including a footed vessel decorated with a moonlit landscape (estimate £400-700).
Many of these were purchased by Mellon from the Bohun Gallery in Henley-on-Thames, a renowned outlet for British contemporary art since it first opened in 1973.
More than 150 lots of studio ceramics from various vendors will be included in the sale.