Pieces By Charles-Jean Avisseau And George Jones Lead The Way

Part One Sale Of The Ed And Marilyn Flower Majolica Collection Held By Strawser Auction Group

September 15, 2023

Two majolica creations by the French artist Charles-Jean Avisseau sold for a combined $71,340, and a pair of majolica pieces by George Jones together brought $57,455 at the part one sale of the majolica collection of Ed Flower (1929-2022) and his wife, Marilyn (1930-2017), held Aug. 23 in Kulpsville, Pa., by Strawser Auction Group. It was the first of three auctions dedicated to the Flower collection; the dates of part two and three are to be determined. The collection in its entirety comprises over 600 pieces by many of the finest names in all of majolica: Minton, George Jones, Holdcroft, Wedgwood, Hugo Lonitz, Palissy, Massier, T.C. Brown-Westhead Moore & Co., Copelands and others. "The August 23rd auction was well attended both in-person and online," said Michael Strawser of Strawser Auction Group, adding, "Many new buyers and collectors bid, and others participated who we hadn't heard from in a long time." The Flowers purchased many pieces at Strawser sales over the years. The surprise lot of the sale was most certainly the "Art of the Earth" Palissy rustic basin by Charles-Jean Avisseau, dated 1856. The piece blasted through its $2,000-$3,000 estimate to finish at $49,200. Avisseau created a microcosm teeming with life on the surface of the ceramic basin, with shells interspersed alongside a snake, a salamander, and a lizard, each colored with a different ceramic glaze. Avisseau exhibited at the Great Exhibition 1851. The other piece by Avisseau was also an "Art of the Earth" example, this one a Palissy grotto, ca. 1856, polychrome, modeled as a naturalistic forest floor scene depicting a snake, lizard and frog climbing on rocks around a watery hole with lilies, ferns and grasses, a gnarled branch and oak leaves to the rear and a tablet to the front inscribed "Avisseau a tours 1856." The grotto represented the finest quality of 19th century Palissyware. It realized $22,140. The rare George Jones majolica "Drum" cabaret set from around 1875, one of only two known complete sets, went for $31,625 to take runner-up top lot honors. The set was all designed as cobalt blue drums, with yellow skin tightening string, the teapot with drumsticks forming the spout, and a military drummer boys' hat. The circular tray was bound by a leather strap. Also from George Jones was the only known pair of Tulip and Butterfly candlesticks, ca. 1875, each modeled as an upright tulip and large green leaves forming the body, with a blossom forming the candle holders, a butterfly below on a circular earthy ground. These formed part of a dressing table set, all designed around blossoms and butterflies, and they sold for $25,830. All prices quoted include a 23-percent buyer's premium. Internet bidding was facilitated by LiveAuctioneers.com. A rare and monumental Hugo Lonitz majolica model of a hawk, created around 1875, with glass eyes, perched on a rocky ground with ferns and branches on an entwined branch base, 24 inches in height, changed hands for $49,200. Also, a Minton majolica cobalt teapot, modeled as a flat iron with a frieze of mice to the sides and a large white cat wrapped around the handle looking down at a mouse holding a carrot, 7.5 inches in height, brought $46,125. A Minton majolica menu holder, ca. 1865, modeled as a heron beside a bottle peering down at a fox, a fish between them, based on the classic Aesop's Fable "The Fox and The Heron" and the only known majolica example, rang up $5,843. Also, a Minton majolica Aesthetic Movement peacock posy vase, ca. 1875, the brightly glazed peacock with openings for posy around the top of the fanned tail, all on a rectangular pedestal base, changed hands for 7,995. Several pieces in the Flower collection were recently part of a large Majolica Mania exhibition that was launched in New York City in the fall of 2021, traveled to the Walters Museum in Baltimore, Md., in early 2022 and finished at Stoke on Trent in the UK in fall 2022. To learn more about the Strawser Auction Group, visit www.strawserauctions.com.


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