Brilliant British studio pottery to buy on

Learn about six leading figures in British studio pottery from examples in the collection of dealer Peter Dingley.

Has Coper

This Hans Coper pot is estimated at £10,000-15,000 at Mallams' auction on December 5.

Peter Dingley (1923-2018), who died last year aged 95, is a name synonymous with British studio pottery.

One of a small band of pioneering gallerists who supported the cutting edge of British ceramics in the 1960s, his shop in Stratford-upon-Avon (open from 1966 to 1991) championed key potters such as Bernard Leach, Lucie Rie, Hans Coper and John Ward. Today studio or contemporary ceramics are an increasingly popular collecting area and a market that has grown in recent years, among both established collectors and younger enthusiasts.

Although Dingley did not consider himself a ‘collector’, he acquired many good pieces that will be sold to benefit two charities for living potters and artists by Oxford auctioneer Mallams on December 5. The 56 lots are expected to bring in excess of £100,000.

Pictured here are six of the most watched lots from the Peter Dingley collection. Lots sold for more than €1000 may be subject to Artist’s Resale Right charges.

John Ward (b.1938)

john ward

John Ward matte white glaze pot with green lines estimated at £2000-3000 at Mallams on December 5.

Once the preserve of a small number of devotees, pots by a coterie of blue-chip makers have reached new heights in recent years. Work by Pembrokeshire-based potter John Ward, in particular, has proved a spectacular investment. Most popular are black-and-white panelled ovoid vases which Ward began producing in the 1990s: one sold for £18,000 (plus 20% premium) at London specialist Maak in May 2016.

A little more affordable are Ward’s series of pots made in a matte white glaze with green lines such as this 25cm high vase of asymmetrical form.

Estimate £2000-3000.

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Joanna Constantinidis (1927-2000)


Joanna Constantinidis 15cm high raku (lead-glazed Japanese earthenware) vessel estimated at £200-300 at Mallams on December 5.

Demand for studio pottery is coming from three types of buyers: the high-end collectors; a broad customer base of knowledgeable enthusiasts buying in two and three figures; and decorators looking simply for conversation pieces which complement modern interiors.

This 15cm high raku (lead-glazed Japanese earthenware) vessel is by Joanna Constantinidis – an international name whose work appeals to all three categories. A lecturer in ceramics at Chelmsford Technical College and School of Art where she taught for nearly 40 years, she dedicated the last decades of her life to her craft.

Estimate £200-300. 

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Hans Coper (1920-81)

Has Coper

This Hans Coper pot is estimated at £10,000-15,000 at Mallams' auction on December 5.

Demand for the works of the first, second and third generation of British post-war ceramicists, now runs parallel to that of Modern British painting. Among the superstar names is the German émigré Hans Coper whose sculptural, often non-functional stonewares, can be found today in the collections of major museums worldwide. A record for his work was established via in February 2018 when an internet bidder purchased a 1970s arrow vessel inspired by ancient Cycladic scuptures for £305,000 at Exeter saleroom Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood.

This 15cm high stoneware pot with textured glaze, also from Coper’s 'Cycladic' oeuvre, is among the highlights of the Dingley collection. Estimate £10,000-15,000.

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Lucie Rie (1902-1995)

Lucie Rie

This Lucie Rie bowl is estimate at £2000-4000 at Mallams on December 5.

It is only recently that prices for Lucie Rie (1902-95) have come to resemble those of other museum quality ‘Modern British’ works of art. Between 2014 and 2016 her works reached new heights, the record broken on a number of occasions before a 9in (22cm) footed porcelain bowl took $170,000 (then about £140,000) at Phillips New York. The series of colourful footed bowls made from the 1970s are Rie’s most desirable pieces. This 12.5cm diameter bowl in turquoise with dripped manganese rim is among them.

Estimate £2000-4000.

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Betty Blandino (1927-2011)


Betty Blandino's coiled vase with a green band has an estimate of £100-200.

It is not just about record prices for Rie and Coper. There is much available from recognised names at under £500.

This 18.5cm high coiled vase with green band is by Betty Blandino who worked in Wales from 1973-88 and then in Oxford. Many of her signature pots were left unglazed and simply rubbed down with oxides or slips.

Estimate £100-200.

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Chris Carter (b.1945)

Chris Carter

Chris Carter's green footed bowl is offered at Mallams on December 5 with an estimate of £50-80.

Warwickshire potter Chris Carter is part of the third generation of British studio potters. He began to make one-off pieces in the late 1970s, holding his first exhibition at Peter Dingley's gallery in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1985. Bronze Age and other ancient vessels are an inspiration as seen in this 9.5cm high footed bowl with a green oxidised glaze.

Estimate £50-80. 

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