Go with Noakes for the best in Dutch Art Nouveau from Rozenburg17 March 2020 John Noakes (1934-2017) is best remembered for his tenure as the longest running presenter on BBC’s Blue Peter. Together with co-presenters Valerie Singleton, Leslie Judd and Peter Purves, and his valiant sidekick Shep, an entire generation remembers his action man style with great affection.
However, few were aware that Noakes was also an avid collector with a particular affection for Art Nouveau design. After finding a piece of Rozenburg pottery in a Kensington Church Street shop, he made trips to the Netherlands in search of more information on a factory that was little known outside its native Holland.
Noake’s collection of Rozenburg, to be offered by Duke’s as part of an Art & Design auction in Dorchester on March 19, provides a good cross-section of the factory that operated in the centre of The Hague from 1883-1917.
This includes the early tin-glazed wares made in the 1880s when the owner Wilhelm Wolff Freiherr von Gudenberg still aspired to create traditional Delft pottery and the striking range of earthenware dishes, bowls, vases and garnitures with exotic designs and whimsical decoration that are associated with the eccentric designer Theodoor Colenbrander (1841-1930).
Perhaps the factory’s best known (and typically most desirable) pieces are the range of eggshell porcelain wares created around the turn of the 20th century after the arrival of director Jurriaan Kok (1861-1919). So delicate it was almost unusable, the organic forms decorated by master painters such as Samuel Schellink, were an instant hit when first unveiled at the Paris Expo in 1900. A highlight from the collection is an egg-shell porcelain two handled vase decorated with a stylised lizard nestled among scrolling leafy mauve tendrils. It is pitched at £400-600.
Tiles were also an important part of Rozenburg factory output and a favourite of John Noakes. When after leaving Blue Peter and the spin-off show Go With Noakes, he and his wife Vicky chose to love on a boat for several years, some painted plaques came with him, securely fixed to the wooden bulkheads of their yacht. Shipwrecked off the coast of Morocco, when finally reunited with the remains of the boat, the couple were amazed to find all four tiles had survived in perfect condition.
Duke’s describes the collection, offered in 29 lots (some of them multiples) as the most significant of its type to come to auction in recent years.
View the full catalogue entry for a Den Haag earthenware glazed charger
View the full catalogue entry for a large oviform Den Haag earthenware glazed vase
View the full catalogue entry for a Den Haag earthenware tin glazed charger, the centre decorated with butterfies
View the full catalogue entry for a Den Haag earthenware porcelain plaque, decorated with a cityscape with canal and vessels