Auctions | December 11, 2015

The Late Tim Clarke’s Ceramics Reference Library To Be Offered at Bloomsbury Auctions

LONDON, Maddox Street—Over 100 lots of books from the reference library of Ceramic expert Tim Clarke will be offered in the Bibliophile Sale at Bloomsbury Auctions on Thursday 14th January. The collection focuses on continental ceramics following Clarke’s particular interest in Meissen and other German makers, alongside other European ceramics such as Sèvres and Italian maiolica. Prices range from £100 for group lots of books, to £2,000 for an account of the “Etruscan” porcelain service commissioned from the Royal Factory at Capodimonte in 1785 by Ferdinand IV, King of Naples, as a gift for George III.

Only a few copies of Interprétation des Peintures dessinées sur un Service de Table…, a rare account of the "Etruscan" porcelain service commissioned by Ferdinand IV, survive in British libraries. Four recorded copies have appeared at auction (including this one in 1978) one being defective and the most recent in 1989 [est. £1,500-2,000 Lot 54].

From the large opening section of works on Meissen, is a rare and handsome catalogue of the finest private collection of Meissen porcelain, assembled by the German banker Gustav von Klemperer (1852-1926), 1928, one of 150 copies, inscribed by Victor von Klemperer on limitation leaf [est. £600-800 Lot 5]. The collection was confiscated by the Nazis and believed to have been destroyed by the Allied bombing of Dresden in 1945. It was rediscovered in 1951 when a workman found pieces of porcelain amongst the rubble. The pieces were finally excavated and restored in 1991 and returned to the family. Some of the restored figures, although battered and defective, were sold at auction in London in 2010, achieving immense prices.

Four early English essays by Aaron Hill include a paper that describes a curious method for making china by mixing ground up Oriental china with lime from oyster shells and gum water, and moulding it. This edition is scarce, one of only 4 known copies [est. £500-700 Lot 23]

Leading the books on Russian ceramics is Imperatorskii Farforovyi Zavod 1744-1904 (La Manufacture Impériale de Porcelaine à St.Petersbourg), 1906, in Russian with abridged French translation [est. £1,200-1,800, Lot 58].

Under the topic of French ceramics is Monographie de l'Oeuvre de Bernard Palissy, by Henri Delange and A. Sauzay. Bernard Palissy (c.1510-c.1590) was a French Huguenot potter, craftsman and engineer who spent sixteen years attempting to master the secrets of manufacturing Chinese porcelain, driving his family into poverty as a result of his obsession, Paris, 1862 [est. £400-600, Lot 40].

The library also includes runs of periodicals Cahiers de la Ceramique et des Arts du Feu [est. £200-300 Lot 66] and Keramos [est. £300-500, Lot 70] and continental sale catalogues of late 19th & early 20th collections. The library concludes with a small section on glass and glass paperweights, an area in which Clarke was highly regarded and credited for defining much of the established terminology.

Auction Information

The Bibliophile Sale

Thursday 14th January 2016

Bloomsbury Auctions, 24 Maddox Street, London W1S 1PP