Wemyss Ware pottery is always a major feature in our annual Scottish Silver & Applied Arts auction.
Taking place on 15 August this year there is a plenty to tempt both the established Wemyss collector and for those looking for a new collecting area to explore.
The brainchild of Robert Methven Heron, Wemyss Ware was first fashioned in his factory in Gallatown, Kirkcaldy, between 1882 and 1930. Heron particularly admired hand decoration and recruited highly trained European painters for his family business. One of the original designers, Karel Nekola, collaborated with his employer to produce the vibrant designs that quickly became popular in high-society circles.
It was named after the wealthy Wemyss family, living at nearby Wemyss Castle, who were generous patrons. The business thrived but after WWI began to struggle and eventually closed in 1930. The rights were bought by the Bovey Tracey Pottery in Devon where it continued until 1957.
Wemyss Ware, famously collected by the late Queen Mother, has always attracted a large fan base. In 2004, a rare Wemyss cat figure, from The Drambuie Collection sold in these rooms for £20,000. John Mackie, Decorative Arts & Design specialist, commented that rare Wemyss pieces bring healthy competition. "Wemyss Ware is the perfect collectors’ field, with so many charming patterns and shapes." he said. "It remains very popular and there is a wide selection for buyers in this sale. Rarities, such as the yellow cat really catches people’s imagination and therefore attract premium prices however there are a wide range of prices for this pottery.”
Highlights from the forthcoming auction include a rare yellow Wemyss Cat, circa 1900, a sweet sleeping piglet decorated with thistles and a three handled loving cup decorated with monkeys. As our most distinctive Scottish pottery, Wemyss Ware attracts an international market, with serious collectors in North America and Australia.