‘Once-in-a-lifetime’ Bernard Leach pottery collection sells for £13,000

A “once-in-a-lifetime” collection of Bernard Leach pottery which had been destined for a charity shop after being found gathering dust in a cupboard has sold for £13,000 at auction.

Born in Hong Kong, Leach founded Leach Pottery in Cornwall in 1920 after spending a decade in Japan developing his interest in ceramics.

Potters from all over the world were apprenticed at Leach Pottery and learned from his utilitarian style and belief in functional forms.

Ten of his vases and pots were found covered in dust in a cupboard after being collected by one family during 50 years.

Amanda Butler, director of operations at auction house Hanson Ross, said: “There was a huge amount of interest in this lot as it’s rare to see so many of Leach’s pieces in one auction.

“The owner’s intention was to gift them to a charity shop or sell them at a car boot sale, but they thought they’d just check with us before letting them go. It’s a good job they did!

“This is life-changing money for the owner and I’m so glad that they have gone to new homes where they can be displayed.”

The collection was sold at Hanson Ross in Hertfordshire, with one unsigned piece selling for £2,000 to a US collector, while a vase by Shoji Hamada, Leach’s partner at the St Ives pottery, sold for £1,700.

The auction house said additional pieces by Hamada will be auctioned on July 12.