Mystery potter #50: Unmarked

Lidded barrel

This lidded stoneware barrel with lilac glaze, and white slip brushwork decoration to each side is, annoyingly, unmarked. We bought it from Davidson Auctions in 2010, assuming that it would have some identifying insignia, but alas, no! I really like it. The juncture between the domed lid and body is nicely done, with the looped sgraffito line binding the notched edges like string. I’m hoping someone will recognise its distinctive style.

We often buy pots from auction houses. Most provide online absentee bidding forms and many, like Davidson, now also use ecommerce services to provide a live auction facility, allowing customers to take part in the bidding process over the Internet. This can be fraught with excitement, particularly if the line drops out at the wrong moment, but can also deliver bargains if there are no other bidders.

Our auction dollars tend to go to houses that:

  •  provide informative catalogue descriptions;
  • can be trusted to indicate in the description when an item is ‘as found’;
  • provide images with the listing or willingly on request;
  • allow bids to be placed on the day of the auction;
  • are willing to wrap smaller collectibles up and send them through the post.

Although we liked the look of this piece, we bid on it only because we knew Davidson would post it if we won. Getting it home via a service like Pack and Send would have pushed the cost well beyond its market value.

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