Posted on 7th October 2016

Local history buffs will be interested to hear that we have a rare model cat in our Gallery Sale on 11 October that represents a key part of our region’s heritage. 

The 27cm-high ‘treacle glazed’ cat is from the former Canney Hill Pottery near Bishop Auckland, which was founded in the mid-1840s at a time when County Durham was becoming heavily industrialised. It flourished in Queen Victoria’s reign but in the early 20th century gradually became unprofitable and finally closed in 1913. 

Today, any surviving pieces are keenly sought after and a few examples can be found in the Beamish Museum, including a large teapot and a couple of bowls. A similar example to the cat model that we are offering for sale currently forms part of the Bowes Museum Collection, Barnard Castle. 

Although the Canney Hill Pottery never achieved national importance, during its life of over 70 years, it had a great impact on the local community. It produced decorative and table wares for the rapidly expanding mining towns and villages in the area, including plant pots for the Bishop’s glasshouses. This local following and the distinctive thick, lustrous glaze that was so popular at the time may account for its survival until 1913, despite the severe competition from the Staffordshire Potteries. 

Today no trace of the original site exists so the remaining pieces that were produced at Canney Hill are amongst its only legacies. 

The model cat carries an estimate of £100-£200 but similar examples that have come up in regional auction houses over the years have reached much higher prices due to their local popularity.  

The sale itself starts at 10.00am on Tuesday 11 October and bidding can be made in person, online or via the telephone.

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