Spring Fine Art Sale Preview: Looking Bullish

In our Spring Quarterly Fine Art Sale on 9 March, we are pleased to be offering a recently discovered work by one of the most celebrated studio potters of post-war Britain.


William Newland (1919-98), Figure of a Bull circa 1952, estimate £1,000-£1,500

 William Newland, Figure of a Bull circa 1952, stoneware with black glaze and cream slip, estimate £1,000-£1,500


William Newland (1919-98) studied painting at the Chelsea School of Art, before taking up pottery at the Central School of Art and Design. It was there that he met and married fellow student Margaret Hine. Along with their friend, Nicholas Vergette, the young artists shook up the post-war world of British studio pottery, adopting a colourful, painterly approach to their work which saw them dubbed the ‘Picassoetes’, reflecting the obvious influence of Picasso in their ceramics. Youthful and full of fun, their pottery found a ready market in the jazz clubs and coffee bars that were springing up all around central London, brightening the gloom of the post-war city. The passage of time has done little to dull the appeal of their creations which continue to delight just as much as they did seventy years ago.

Newland was a frequent visitor to the British Museum and his sketchbooks reveal a fascination with ancient Mediterranean and Minoan pottery. These influences are clear to see in this proud bull, which is a form Newland would return to and continue to develop throughout the early 1950s whilst its exuberant decoration typifies Newland’s cheerful approach to pottery. Similar Newland bulls are in the collections of the V&A and the Ken Stradling Collection in Bristol.

The circumstances surrounding the discovery of the bull are every bit as extraordinary as the object itself. It was spotted by Clevedon Saleroom’s Valuer and Antiques Roadshow expert Chris Yeo during a routine valuation of the contents of a deceased estate in Weston-super-Mare. The owner had been a greyhound lover – testified by the scores of ornamental dogs that covered every surface – except for the bull, which stood on a dust covered table in a back bedroom surrounded by rows of china mugs and cups. Chris immediately recognised it as an extremely rare piece of studio pottery, much to the surprise and delight of the executors of the estate. How our bull got from 1950s bohemian London to the North Somerset coast, however, remains a mystery.


Auction Details

Thursday 9 March | 10.30am GMT
The Auction Centre, Kenn Road, Clevedon BS21 6TT

Catalogue coming soon!