Beswick and Border Fine Arts figures at auction on

The sale of antiques and interiors at Tennants in Leyburn, North Yorkshire on January 4 includes a large selection of Beswick and Border Fine Arts figures.


Striking a Deal at Appleby Fair by Border Fine Arts, £500-700 at Tennants on January 4.

Admired for the lifelike modelling and attention to detail, the wares of both factories (both now closed) are keenly collected in the farming and countryside communities. As ever with collectable ceramics, rarity, colour variations and condition are key to pricing.

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Striking a Deal at Appleby Fair 

Founded by John Hammond in Langholm, Scotland in 1974, Border Fine Arts produced its ‘cold cast’ ceramic figures of a bygone era until 2016. A constant for much of that time was Ray Ayres, a graduate from the Winchester School of Art, who sculpted more than 500 models for the factory. This figure titled Striking a Deal at Appleby Fair (model B0664) is one of several large-scale groups that are among the most desirable of all Border Fine Art Productions. Made in an edition of 600 (this one numbered 506) it comes with its box and certificate. Estimate £500-700.

Duchess with Flowers 


Beswick Beatrix Potter figure Duchess with Flowers (Style One), £700-900 at Tennants on January 4.

The most desirable of all Beswick storybook figures is the Beatrix Potter figurine known as Duchess with Flowers. Modelled by Graham Orwell and issued from 1955-67 it depicts the character (a Pomeranian) holding a bouquet. Only a few have survived and sums of over £1500 were not unusual at the height of the market 15-20 years ago, As a general rule prices have slipped since then: this example carries an estimate of £700-900. It has the gold back-stamps BP-2. The figure of Duchess, this time holding a pie, was relaunched in a second style in 1979. This figure, with a brown factory mark, is more common with one in the sale estimated at £50-80.

Shorthorn cow


Beswick Dairy Shorthorn cow Eaton Wild Eyes 91st, £100-150 at Tennants on January 4.

Of all Beswick animals it is the naturalistic farm animals that are the most popular collecting area. Most were modelled by the prolific Arthur Gredington, whose reproductions of champion stock were particularly admired in the farming community. Some were in production for many years. Lesser known breeds had shorter runs and consequently rank higher on the most-wanted list as do figures produced in 'trial' colours. Pictured here is Gredington’s hard-to-find model of the champion Dairy Shorthorn cow Eaton Wild Eyes 91st issued between 1957-73. Estimate £100-150.

Norwegian Fjord Horse 


Beswick Norwegian Fjord Horse, £100-150 at Tennants on January 4.

Beswick created more than 130 different equine models in a multitude of colour variations from rocking horse grey to palamino. Among the less commonly seen models (modelled by Albert Hallam) is this one of a Norwegian Fjord Horse (model No. 2282) coloured in gloss dun produced from 1970-75. Estimate £100-150.

Flying bird plaques 


Beswick Kingfisher and Swallow wall plaques, £60-100 at Tennants on January 4.

The 1930s wall plaques of flying mallards are among the best known of all Beswick productions. However, the factory also produced similar models in a range of different birds including partridges, seagulls and (rarest of all) flamingos. This lot comprising graduated trios of kingfishers (model 729), and swallows (model 757) carries an estimate of £60-100. 

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