Martin Brothers stoneware collection offered at Heritage

A collection of 11 pieces of rare Martin Brothers stoneware will star in a decorative arts sale at Heritage Auctions.

The sale indicates a growing interest in the brothers' work, following on from a dedicated auction at Phillips last year that set a $190,000 record for one of their celebrated grotesques.

Martin Brothers birds
This piece from 1898 is the top lot in the sale

The Martin Brothers (there were four of them) opened their pottery business in Fulham, London in 1873 and continued working up until the outbreak of the first world war.

They continued to produce pieces in smaller numbers after the war, until 1923.

The brothers primarily used the salt-glaze technique, a traditional method that creates a distinctive colour and texture.

Martin bros
The grotesques display an enormous level of skill (this one is valued at up to $35,000)

While they worked in a broad range of styles, they are best known for their bird grotesques, eight of which are offered in this sale.

This spoon warmer is estimated to make $1,000-1,500

A particularly fine example from 1898 will headline the auction with an estimate of $30,000-40,000.

Nick Dawes, vice-president of Heritage Auctions, told Paul Fraser Collectibles: "This is by far the largest selection of pieces by the Martin Brothers to come to auction at Heritage.

"These are very rare items and enormously important pieces of ceramic art.

"They are not often seen at auction and tend to attract a lot of attention.

"While they are something of an acquired taste, they are beautiful objects that were produced with a tremendous amount of skill.

"They inspire a great degree of passion in those collectors who are drawn to them."

The auction will take place in Dallas on November 18.

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