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Mintons hare and duck head game-pie dish and cover, $62,225

Majolica expert’s personal collection leaped to $544K at Doyle

Mintons hare and duck head game-pie dish and cover, $62,225
Mintons hare and duck head game-pie dish and cover, $62,225

NEW YORK – On April 4, Doyle held the landmark auction of The Joan Stacke Graham Majolica Collection: Part II. Showcased was exceptional examples from the extensive collection assembled by the majolica expert and author of Majolica: A Complete History and Illustrated Survey. This remarkable sale soared past its estimate with a total of more than $544,000. The top lot, an iconic Mintons majolica hare and duck head game-pie dish and cover, achieved $62,225.

Joan Stacke Graham (1934-2020) was a preeminent expert in the field of majolica – the brilliantly hued ceramics that filled the hearts and homes of Victorian collectors. Graham began collecting majolica in the 1980s with her friend Marilyn Karmason. Together, they amassed more than 2,000 pieces and authored the first major book on the field, Majolica: A Complete History and Illustrated Survey (Abrams, 1989). Graham was a generous collector and scholar, serving as past president of the Majolica International Society.

T.C. Brown Westhead, Moore & Co Egyptian Revival garden seat, $50,400
T.C. Brown Westhead, Moore & Co. Egyptian Revival garden seat, $50,400

In 2020 through early 2023, Graham and her family loaned significant parts of her collection to the long-anticipated Majolica Mania exhibition at the Bard Graduate Center and the Walters Art Gallery in the U.S. and the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent, U.K.

Minton beehive cheese dome and stand, $25,200
Mintons beehive cheese dome and stand, $25,200

The Joan Stacke Graham majolica collection features garden seats and garden pots, life-sized animals, soup tureens, game pie dishes, sardine boxes, oyster and strawberry plates, humidors and myriad other forms that originally filled the conservatories, dining rooms and parlors of Victorian collectors.

George Jones Full Nest game-pie dish, liner and cover, $25,200
George Jones Full Nest game-pie dish, liner and cover, $25,200

This encyclopedic collection includes many works by Mintons, the firm that introduced majolica to great acclaim at London’s 1851 Great Exhibition. There were also pieces in the Part II sale from Wedgwood and George Jones, whose majolica works are known for their great wit and whimsy. The Continental pieces in the collection include a number of trompe l’oeil Palissy wares featuring naturalistically modeled snakes, frogs and other marine creatures. The collection is rounded out by American majolica by Griffen, Smith & Hill, George Morley & Co., and Shorter & Boulton.

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