Collection of ceramic cats and tea wares sell for £27,000 at auction - The Leamington Observer

Collection of ceramic cats and tea wares sell for £27,000 at auction

Leamington Editorial 25th Oct, 2023   0

A COLLECTION of ceramic cats and tea wares designed by the celebrated British artist Louis Wain totalled £27,000 at a recent auction.

The 30 Lot collection had been amassed over many years by a Cotswold-based private collector.

Comprising numerous tea wares predominantly by Paragon China and cat models by Wilkinson and Max Emanuel & Co potteries, every Lot sold with record prices for the more desirable pieces.

Interest in all things Louis Wain (1860-1939) has been ignited in recent years thanks to the 2021 Film ‘The Electrical Life of Louis Wain’ starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the cat-obsessed artist.




Wain found a niche in depicting cats in humorous human form. Although successful in his heyday his popularity waned and through poor business acumen, he never made his fortune. He died certified insane in 1939.

In addition to works on paper, Wain designed a series of ceramic cubist ‘Lucky’ cats in the early 20th century and these are the most sought-after legacy of his oeuvre.


The collection offered by Cotswold auctioneers Kinghams in October was the largest single-owner collection of Wain ceramics to come on the market in recent years. All sold to UK-based buyers.

Pre-auction publicity and extensive online coverage garnered worldwide interest from connoisseurs with online, telephone, and room bidders on the day. As expected, it was the eight cubist cats produced by Max Emanuel & Co in 1914 that yielded the highest individual prices.

In order of appearance in the catalogue, Lot 749, a Lucky Haw Haw cat vase sold for £2,210, Lot 750, a Lucky Pig vase at £1,300 and Lot 751, a Lucky Black Cat vase at £2,470. Lot 752, a Lucky Futurist Cat vase totalled £3,380 and Lot 753, a Lucky Bully Bulldog vase made £1,560. Lot 754, a Lucky Sphinx cat vase sold for £2,860 and Lot 756, a Lucky Knight Errant vase made £3,900.

The highest single price for a cubist cat vase was for Lot 755, a rare Lucky Egyptian cat vase selling to a UK private collector for £4,680, the record price for a Max Emanuel cat vase.

Kinghams Auctioneers are now sourcing entries for future auctions of Louis Wain memorabilia, from cat vases and tea wares to books and illustrations.

The next valuation day at Dorridge, Solihull is at The Meeting Room, Dorridge Village Hall, Grange Road, Dorridge, B93 8QA on November 9, 11am to 2pm. Home visits can be arranged for large collections, contact Carol Joneson 07802 839915.

For further information or advice, please contact Adrian Rathbone at [email protected] or call 01608 695695.

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