Sold on A Bristol orphanage sampler, a poster from the 1970 Bath Festival and a rare pair of English porcelain shepherds

The sale at Lawrences of Crewkerne on July 23 produced an unexpected result when this pair of early English porcelain figures of shepherds left ‘in the white’ leapt past hopes of £100-200 to bring £10,000.

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A pair of English porcelain figures of The Dresden Shepherd attributed to Samuel Gilbody - £10,000 at Lawrences.

English porcelain figures attributed to Samuel Gilbody

The sale at Lawrences of Crewkerne on July 23 produced an unexpected result when this pair of early English porcelain figures of shepherds left ‘in the white’ leapt past hopes of £100-200 to bring £10,000.

Although catalogued as late 18th century these 9in (23cm) high models known as the 'Dresden Shepherd' are earlier – probably made c.1755.

The most obvious candidate for their manufacture was the Duesbury Derby factory. A similar coloured ‘dry edge’ model is illustrated by Peter Bradshaw in his book Derby Porcelain Figures (1990) while a single undecorated figure of this model catalogued as Derby sold for £750 at Bonhams Knightsbridge in 2016.

In fact, the collector and a dealer who competed for the figures told Lawrences specialist Neil Grenyer that they were by Samuel Gilbody, the short-lived, 1754-61 Liverpool factory whose wares are the rarest of any from the city.

“By all accounts only two other Gilbody versions exist, one in the Liverpool museum” said Grenyer. “The model was only confirmed as Liverpool because a curator happened to see some shards in the ground when the road outside the Liverpool museum was being dug up – or so the story goes.”

They were won by a collector bidding via


An Ashley Down Orphanage sampler

Estimated at just £30-50 this late 19th century sampler sold via for £1850 at Wotton Auction Rooms in Gloucestershire on July 21. A clue to the appeal is the beautifully sewn inscription M Mountain, 5 Orphan House, Ashley Down, Bristol, 1879.

The New Orphan Houses in the Ashley Down district in the north of Bristol were once the largest orphanage in the UK. Built between 1849-70 by the Prussian evangelist George Müller (1805-98) the five houses held 2050 children at any one time. Some 17,000 passed through the doors before the buildings were sold to Bristol City Council in 1958.

Skill with a needle was a key part of an education that also included scripture, arithmetic, grammar, history, geography, drill and singing. The fabric samplers stitched by the girls closely followed a set pattern: all have shared alphabets, motifs, and are worked in red thread on cream linen. Kept as keepsakes, they were also useful when showing potential employers their abilities.

The price for this example was not excessive. It now joins eight other Ashley Down Orphanage samplers listed in’s price guide database. The prices paid for these range from between £1000 and £3400.


Poster for the 1970 Bath Festival of Blues

Although a smaller affair than the much better-known Isle of Wight festival of the same year, the Bath Festival of Blue and Progressive Music, held on June 27-28, 1970 at the Shepton Mallet showground, boasted perhaps the greatest UK music festival line-up of all time.

Headlined by Led Zeppelin (who were paid £20,000 for their performance) and Canned Heat, the bill also included, among many others, Pink Floyd (debuting Atom Heart Mother), Jefferson Airplane (rained off halfway through their set), The Byrds (playing an acoustic set), Santana, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention plus as set from John Mayall playing with Peter Green.

Bath was the brainchild of promoters Freddy and Wendy Bannister who had held the smaller Bath Festival of Blues within Bath itself in 1969. Among its many innovations was the decision to project film footage of the bands on screens on the side of the stage.

A rare and well-preserved poster for the event emerged for sale at Wessex Auction Rooms in Chippenham on July 24. Estimated at £100-150, it sold via at £2200.

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