Aynsley coffee set decorated by Joseph A Bailey – £7600 at Keys.

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And for much the same reasons, the lion’s share of its output languishes among the also-rans of 20th century ceramic collecting.

But there are exceptions.

The best known of the decorators who worked at Aynsley in the 20th century is the flower painter Joseph A Bailey.

Employed by the Longton factory for most of his life, from 1937-74, he put his signature to many of firm’s better quality ‘cabinet’ wares. Anachronistic bouquets of English garden flowers, particularly large pink cabbage roses, were his typical stock in trade and they can bring surprisingly high prices – typically from Far Eastern buyers.

In March 2019 a 21-piece tea service for six sold for £4600 at Arthur Johnson in Nottingham, followed in November 2019 by a bid of £3200 for a similar part set at Special Auction Services of Newbury. In April this year Bushey Auctions in Hertfordshire sold a set c.1950 decorated in the Regency style with bouquets of flowers for £8600.

More spectacular evidence of the commercial appeal of Bailey’s work was provided by Keys (20% buyer’s premium) of Aylsham, Norfolk, on November 24.

This coffee set (pictured top) comprising six cups and saucers, coffee pot, sugar bowl and milk jug, all with floral designs of cabbage rose and other flowers (pattern number C804) sold at £7600 (estimate £300-500) to a bidder on


Aynsley’s most covered design from the 1930s is the tulip-shaped teaset with butterfly handles (registration number 785789 for 1933). Single cups and saucers are regular sellers on eBay at between £50-100. This near-complete coffee set (missing the sugar bowl) painted in blue and gilt was offered by Special Auction Services (20% buyer’s premium) of Newbury on December 7. It was estimated in two figures but sold at £1900.