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Royal Worcester vase and cover decorated with polar bears by Harry Davis, estimated at $10,000-$20,000 at Nadeau’s Auction Gallery.

Harry Davis-decorated Royal Worcester ‘polar bear’ vases prowl into Nadeau May 18

WINDSOR, CT — A trio of Royal Worcester ‘polar bear’ vases decorated by Harry Davis will be offered in the Saturday, May 18 Annual Outdoor Mid-Century Auction at Nadeau’s Auction Gallery. Bidding for these vases, consigned as part of a New Jersey private collection, is available via LiveAuctioneers.

Of all the many subjects painted by Harry Davis during his long and celebrated tenure at the Royal Worcester factory, among the rarest and most desirable are his polar bears in Arctic landscapes.

A visit to London Zoo inspired this select range, which repurposed the matte-blue ground that Royal Worcester had long used for vases decorated with swans in flight by fellow artist-decorator Charles Baldwyn. In an interview late in life, Davis recalled painting ‘about 50’ polar bear vases, with most surviving examples dated to the years 1903 to 1905.

All three of the vases at Nadeau’s assume the same 16in form, the elaborate two-handled vase and cover known simply as model number 240989. Depicting subtlely different variations on the theme of polars bears on an ice floe, they carry estimates of $10,000-$20,000 each.

Harry Davis (1885-1970) is perhaps the most prominent of the artist-decorators who worked at Royal Worcester in its early 20th century peak. Worcester born and bred, he entered his local porcelain factory as an apprentice at the age of 13. He proved a remarkably versatile decorator, although he is best known as a painter of landscapes populated by sheep and highland cattle.