A fine Leeds Pottery horse dating back to around 1825, estimated at £8,000 to £12,000, is to be sold at Bonhams Auctioneers in their Fine British Pottery and Porcelain sale in Bond Street, London on Wednesday 8th September.
The horse a rare example of white pearlware with a black mane, tail and hooves with an ornate orange bridle decorated with blue florets stands on a green base majestically poised with ears pricked. The horses were originally made for veterinary surgeons, saddlers and druggists as a sign that they traded in products for horses. Used to decorate shop windows to advertise equestrian wares, very few have survived and most examples are now in public collections including York Museum and Leeds City Museum.
This rare example has been in a single family’s ownership since it was made in the Leeds Pottery. The Leeds Pottery situated on Jack Lane in the Hunslett area of Leeds became known as ‘The Leeds Pottery Company’ in 1834 after a string of owners and different names and was managed by Stephen Chappel who went on to become in 1840 the sole owner of the business, when he was also joined by his brother James. An employee John Charlesworth Porritt married Hannah Chappel who was most probably a relative of either Stephen or James in 1824 and the Leeds Horse was passed through the generations of the Porritt/Chappel family to the present owner.
The horse known by the family as ‘Clarence’ lived in a wardrobe for many years until it was decided it was too valuable to languish unloved and unseen. It is thought to be an early or prototype example indicated by the shallow plinth. Later models had deeper plinths after it was discovered that the shallow bases tended to warp and distort. Standing 43cms high it is expected to romp home on an estimate of £8,000-12,000. Alison Gillatt, Bonhams Leeds’s Ceramic and Glass specialist said she was “delighted to find such a rare example of Leeds Pottery with such a pedigree provenance.”
The Leeds Pottery reached the height of its popularity in the 1780s, producing an elaborate book of designs and exporting its products to Germany, Holland, France, Spain and Russia. By 1847 the Company was bankrupt and although it was revived in 1850, it limped on until 1878. Sadly for Leeds, the pottery was finally closed and demolished in 1881. Despite the demise of the Leeds Pottery, Bonhams are certain the odds on Clarence are a winning cert.