Sotheby’s held a single-owner sale of Picasso ceramics, a market that has grown and grown over the last five years. This time the sellers were the Attenboroughs. Presumably the provenance added to the sell-through rate—the sale values surely contained a bonus—which was without a blemish; however, the strength of the Picasso ceramics market should not be discounted in the sale performance. These works have become de rigeur accent pieces for collectors of all kinds. But that’s not how the Attenboroughs bought the works.
Here’s Sotheby’s on their collecting path:
Actively building a colleciton that was uniqu for its time—beginning in 1954 with a souvenir ashtray purchased for £3—Lord and Lady Attenborough spent the next 50 years acquiring many different examples of the ceramic editions. The well-loved and respected late actor, director and producer recounted how every summer, he and Sheila took their children on holiday to a pension in the South of France. A casual visit to the Madoura pottery in the town of Vallauris—where Picass began working in 1949—developed into a joyous annual event when, on or around 29th August they would drive to the studio to choose his birthday present.