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How Well Does Royal Worcester Sell at Auction? Plus An Overview of Some of Their Artists

Hannah Widdop

Royal Worcester pieces consistently perform well in our auctions. Our past few Fine Art sales have featured some fantastic examples decorated by a broad range of artists. Read on to discover a wealth of high-achieving pieces, along with a brief background of some of the notable artists who decorated them.

This pair of two-handled Royal Worcester vases, hand painted with Highland cattle by H Stinton, with puce marks and dated 1912, sold in our 2023 March Fine Art auction for a hammer price of £2,800.

A great place to start is with Harry Stinton, who was born 1883. The Stinton dynasty is inextricably linked with Royal Worcester and collectively they are well-known for the highland cattle and gamebird scenes they produced. The family affiliation with Royal Worcester spanned nearly 160 years, culminating in Harry, who is considered by many as the best of his lineage. Harry carried forth the convention of highland cattle scenes, but trended more towards autumnal and purple hues to distinguish his own work from his father’s. He also produced many watercolours, covering pastoral scenes and landscapes – these would win him a number of medals from the National Art School. He would retire from Royal Worcester in 1963, having worked his entire 67-year career there, passing away five years later.

An example of Edward Townsend’s work, this gilded two-handled Royal Worcester footed dish sold for £2,000 in our July 2022 Fine Art auction.

Following Stinton’s departure, Edward Townsend took up the mantle of producing the highland cattle paintings. He had been employed at the factory since 1918, however, and so too was in the latter years of his career. Earlier, Townsend had been assistant foreman to Harry Davis, then becoming foreman himself upon Davis’ retirement in 1954. He was known for fruit decorated pieces, as well as British birds. He also produced small number of special pieces in the 1960s & 70s, retiring in 1971.

Sold in our March 2023 Fine Art sale for £2,000, this pair of Royal Worcester vases and covers, dated 1871, is exemplary of Josiah Rushton’s work. Each vase is decorated with a farm girl on a gilded cobalt blue ground.

Josiah Rushton was born in 1836. He joined the company in 1852 and in a place of work where many employees stayed for several decades, his career of 19 years at Royal Worcester seems comparatively short. In this time, however, Rushton became notable for the figure subjects and classical scenes he produced.

This pair of fallen fruit design Royal Worcester vases by Frank Roberts sold for a hammer price of £1,400 in our July 2022 Fine Art Auction.

A painter of fruit in the usual Worcester style, Frank Roberts was born in 1857. He joined the company in 1872 and was also known for his work displaying flowers and occasionally produced raised gold decoration. He retired shortly before his death in 1920.

By John Smith, this pair of boat shaped centrepieces was the highest-selling Royal Worcester lot in our November 2022 Fine Art sale. It sold for a hammer price of £3,600!

Born in 1934, John Smith was another fruit painter, but despite one of his pieces performing particularly well in our November 2022 Fine Art auction, not much is known about him. He was employed at the Royal Worcester factory for 21 years, from 1950 to 1971.

This Royal Worcester potpourri vase & covers, decorated with a seated lady, seagulls and coastal scene was sold for £3,100 in our November 2022 Fine Art auction. It’s a lovely example of Walter Sedgley’s artwork.

Walter Sedgley was employed at Royal Worcester from 1889-1929. He was known for his pieces depicting flowers, birds and Italian or Mediterranean scenes.

Decorated by Edwin Salter, this pair of ewer vases depicting Australasian birds sold at Bonhams in November 2022 for £3,570, including the buyer’s premium. [Image credit:]

Edwin Salter was best known for his work on landscape and fish subjects, as well as birds. He worked for the company from 1876, but his career was cut short in shocking fashion in 1902. On his way to work, Edwin was struck by a train as he cycled over a level crossing and was killed instantly from a blow to the head.

A wonderful showing of Harry Davis’ artistry: this twin handled vase & cover, displaying a hand painted panel of figures in landscape sold for a hammer price of £1,600 in our November 2022 Fine Art auction.

Harry Davis, born in 1885, started at Royal Worcester aged 13. He began a 7-year apprenticeship under Edwin Salter, but this was cut short upon Salter’s tragic death. Davis’ interest in fish had been shared and encouraged by Salter and he became particularly adept at accurately depicting them. He could also turn his skilled hand to a variety of subjects, covering landscapes with various animals, including snow scenes and polar bears, as well as scenes of London, palaces and gardens.

To-date, the best-selling piece of Royal Worcester to have sold with us at auction is this two-handled vase & cover decorated by Charles Baldwyn, c1902. Painted with seagulls on a pale blue background, it sold for £8,600 in our July 2022 Fine Art sale.

Charles Baldwyn (1843-1913) joined the company in 1859. He was fascinated by bird life and so his work was dominated by depictions of birds. He became best-known for his paintings of swans in flight, as well as birds in moonlight. These became his signature pieces and no one else was allowed to paint them during his tenure. One of the first allowed to sign his works, his designs were so popular they were prone to lesser-quality imitations, leading to the company registering his designs. Charles was also an accomplished watercolour artist and exhibited his own works, including at the Royal Academy, from 1886.

How to Sell Royal Worcester at Auction

As we’ve shown, Royal Worcester pieces featuring decoration by a wide variety of artists consistently perform well in our auctions. If you have examples of your own you wish to sell, our friendly staff can provide estimates and advise as to which sale is most appropriate to consign to. Valuations can be provided either via WhatsApp, by sending good quality photos of your items to 07864 667940. You can also call 01782 638100 or book an appointment via our website to attend one of our free weekly valuation days. We can even arrange home visits for large collections.