Of Renowned 20th-Century Studio Potters

Decorative Arts and Contemporary Ceramics
20 Jun 2018
London, Knightsbridge

An early Vienna-Period Vase, circa 1935, by Dame Lucie Rie (1902-1995), leads Bonhams Decorative Arts and Contemporary Ceramics sale on Wednesday 20 June in the Knightsbridge saleroom. The vase, with an estimate of £30,000-50,000, is offered in a sale that features world-famous 20th-century studio potters – such as Hans Coper, John Ward and Bernard Leach – and contemporary ceramists, including the 2018 Loewe Craft Prize Winner Jennifer Lee.

Head of 20th Century Decorative Arts and Design, Mark Oliver, said 'Lucie Rie and her peers, Hans Coper and John Ward, are astonishingly strong in the market at the moment. The new generation's interest for modern pottery has increased values for pieces by these visionary artists. We are pleased that all three are represented in our upcoming sale.'

'We are also finding that the contemporary ceramics are increasingly popular. This area of the market has grown in recent years, amongst both established collectors and younger enthusiasts.'

There are 18 examples of Lucie Rie's work in the Bonhams sale. Long sought-after by collectors, the pieces trace the evolution of her career from the 1930s to the 1980s. The earliest work – Rie's rustic Vienna-Period Vase – is glazed on unfired red clay to give a volcanic, pitted surface, while her 1980 porcelain Footed Bowl, thin with precise sgraffito design and a golden manganese rim, is characteristic of her more delicate later work. Rie's close friends, Hans Coper, (b. 1920) and Bernard Leach, (b. 1887) are also represented in the sale. Coper started his career working for Rie and later became a partner in her studio while Leach, who merged craft traditions of east with west, is also regarded as a leading figure in British studio pottery in the mid-20th century.

Some of UK's rising stars in contemporary ceramics are also part of the sale. To highlight this work, Bonhams specially commissions works to be offered. For June's auction, Nichola Theakston (b.1967) has created a single-edition model of a Silverback Gorilla in terracotta paperclay, (estimated £5,000-7,000); while a vase by Jennifer Lee, winner of the 2018 Loewe Foundation Craft Prize and known for utilising traditional techniques through her method of colouring – mixing metallic oxides into clay - has an estimate of £3,000-5,000.

Highlights in the sale include:

- Dame Lucie Rie (British, Austrian 1902-1995), A Footed Bowl, circa 1975, estimated at £25,000-30,000
- Magdalene Odundo, OBE (Kenyan/British, 1950-) A Sculptural Vessel, 1984, estimated at £20,000-25,000
- Hans Coper (German, 1920-1981) A Footed Cup, circa 1974, estimated at £10,000-15,000
- Bernard Leach (British, 1887-1979) A Bottle Vase, circa 1952, estimated £5,000-8,000.
- John Ward, (British, 1938), A geometric pattern vase, circa 1990, estimated at £3,000-5,000


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest and most renowned auctioneers, offering fine art and antiques, motor cars and jewellery. The main salerooms are in London, New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong, with auctions also held in Knightsbridge, Edinburgh, Paris, San Francisco and Sydney. With a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 22 countries, Bonhams offers advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full list of forthcoming auctions, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit

  1. Mark Oliver
    Montpelier Street
    London, United Kingdom SW7 1HH
    Work +44 20 7393 3856
    FaxFax: +44 20 7493 0759

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