Pinxton Pottery and Derby wares collected for more than 50 years go up for auction

Derbyshire’s ceramics heritage is celebrated in a collection of Pinxton Pottery and Derby wares which is going up for auction.

Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 11:00 am
Updated Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 7:23 pm

More than 60 items – some dating back to 1765 – are expected to attract keen bidding from collectors worldwide when they are offered for sale on June 30.

Retired brewery estate manager Barry Michael Wheatcroft spent more than half a century building his collection, mainly buying items at antiques fairs and through his membership of the Pinxton Porcelain Society.

His finds took pride of place in his small Nottinghamshire bungalow, dominating glass cabinets in four rooms. His two daughters recall they were never allowed to dust the objects inside!

This example of Pinxton pottery, circa 1799, is estimated to make £200 to £300 at auction.

Due to ill health, Barry is reluctantly bidding farewell to the pieces he gathered with his wife Jean.

Barry said: “My interest in local history initially emerged thanks to my home village of Farndon. I visited book fairs in search of old postcards and started to meet interesting porcelain dealers such as Nick Gent, a consultant valuer at Hansons. I was persuaded to join Pinxton Porcelain Society and attended meetings in Pinxton Village Hall for many years, learning all the time.”

Pinxton’s popularity with collectors is down to its rarity and quality – a rarity caused by the fact that the factory had a short lifespan. Pinxton Porcelain manufactured wares for 17 years from 1796 to 1813.

It was founded in 1795 by John Coke and porcelain painter William Billingsley in Pinxton. Billingsley had worked as a senior flower painter at Derby Porcelain Factory and was renowned for his floral art. His name and artwork designs crop up time and again in Barry’s collection.

Derby puce mark plate is anticipated to raise between £200-£300 at auction.

Pinxton has been described as the ‘most distinctive and distinguished of all English porcelain’ thanks to its beautiful shapes and patterns.

Important lots in Hansons fine art auction on Thursday, June 20, include a Pinxton pattern 218 landscape decorated tea cup and saucer, polychrome landscape in the style of William Billingsley, circa 1796- 1799, £200-£300.

Other examples include a Pinxton tea cup and saucer, pattern no.2 blue sprig, 1796-1799, together with a spiral fluted Pinxton pattern no.1 tea bowl and saucer, decorated in the red sprig pattern, £100-£200 and a Pinxton tea cup, saucer and coffee can, pattern no.1 red spring, 1796-1799, £100-£150.

Numerous examples of Derby porcelain include a puce mark pattern no. 80 plate, decorated by William Billingsley with three flower groups, £200-£300, and a Chelsea/Derby gold anchor feather.

Barry Michael Wheatcroft is selling his collection of Pinxton Pottery and Derby ware.

Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said: “Barry’s eye for quality early porcelain has led to a collection which delivers a ceramics history lesson on a plate. These wares demonstrate the artistry and techniques involved in the manufacture of porcelain in England from the mid-1750s onwards.

“Derby and Derbyshire have much to be proud of in terms of their involvement in early porcelain production in England. In the mid-1700s Derby became renowned for producing exceptional quality porcelain. That proof of quality was evidenced by the fact that William Duesbury, then an enameller in London, paid considerably more for pieces manufactured in Derby than for figurines made by rival factories in Bow and Chelsea."

The Derbyshire fine art and collectables auction will run at Hansons salesroom in Etwall on July 30 from 9.30am to 6pm. For more details, visit