• Galleries & Displays

An ever-changing array of fascinating art and antiques

Tennants Auctioneers is privileged to handle a diverse range of art, antiques and rare and beautiful objects with a rich history. From large private Country House collections to exquisite 18th century costume, colourful Moorcroft pottery to vintage toys and train sets, we have the opportunity to display many fascinating objects for visitors to enjoy before they once more return to a private collection and away from public sight.

Open seven days a week, the Galleries are free for all to enjoy.

Your Collection

A unique facility

Our state of the art display galleries allow us to showcase your items and collections ahead of sale and to promote the many fascinating, rare and beautiful objects we are privileged to handle.  

To discuss exhibiting your collection ahead of sale at Tennants, please speak to your valuer or specialist.

Display Highlight

20th Century Design

29th February 2020

Dame Lucie Rie DBE (1902-1995)

A Stoneware Cylindrical Vase, covered with an all over white glaze, impressed seal mark to base, 15.5cm high

Provenance: Provenance: From the collection of the late Elizabeth Gwendolen Ann Mullins OBE. Elizabeth was a weaver of rugs in natural dyes, and crafted from her centre Graffham Weavers, West Sussex.

The vase is one of a number of lots of fine ceramics by Lucie Rie in the sale.

Lucie Rie (1902-1995) is one of the most accomplished and celebrated studio potters. Known for her extraordinarily fine hand-thrown porcelain pots, bottles and bowls, Rie has become one of the most sought-after ceramicists of the 20th century.

Rie was born in Austria at the turn of the century. Having trained in pottery at the School of Art and Design in Vienna, she was beginning to build a reputation in the city as an accomplished potter during the 1930s. However, aged 36, Rie found herself in London, a Jewish émigré who fled from the Nazi’s rise to power in her homeland. Under difficult circumstances, Rie began making hand-made ceramic buttons for the couture industry. With rationing for traditional button materials and the requisitioning of button factories, Rie spotted a gap in the market and found a way of making a living.

Fellow potter and émigré Hans Coper began working for her, and together they produced tableware, such as tea and coffee services. Elegant, angular and modern, their wares soon found a following and began to be stocked in fashionable outlets such as Heals. Coper was to share a studio with Rie until 1958, and they remained friends until Coper’s death in 1981.

As her commercial success in domestic wares grew, Rie was able to return to making art pottery. Using porcelain (the most difficult of materials to throw), Rie created delicate, almost gravity defying pieces, experimenting with synthetic colours and glazes. Her work was not initially admired in Great Britain, being very different to the heavy earthen and stoneware studio pottery being produced in the country by the likes of Bernard Leach. She was told her walls were too thin and her pot ‘feet’ were too small – the very features so admired in her work today. However, her more European, minimalist style was appreciated on the Continent and her reputation began to grow. Soon she began to be appreciated at home too and would go on to achieve great success and acclaim during her long career.

Today, her wafer-thin pottery attracts a devoted following; large bowls and pieces with her distinctive yellow and blue glazes are particularly sought-after. Rie’s work commanded high prices in her lifetime, and today prices at auction have remained extremely buoyant.

Display Highlights

  • Clocks & Watches

    Clocks & Watches

    Table clocks, bracket clocks, pocket watches and collectable and luxury watches are on display for the forthcoming Fine Art Sale and Fine Jewellery, Watches & Silver Sale (both on 21st March) and the next Jewellery, Watches & Silver Sale on 25th April. Highlights on display include a Cartier 'Crash' Watch.

  • The History of Stamps

    The History of Stamps

    A short guide to the history of the postal system, displayed alongside past stamp highlights and original engravings from the Illustrated London News.

  • 20th Century Design

    20th Century Design

    Highlights of the 20th Century Design Sale on 29th February are now on view, including Yorkshire oak furniture.

  • Modern & Contemporary Art

    Modern & Contemporary Art

    Select highlights from the Modern and Contemporary Art Sale on 29th February are on view, including a works by Eliot Hodgkin, Anthony Gormley, Philip Naviasky, Geoffrey Key, Roger Hilton and Peter Brook.

  • Modern & Contemporary Art and 20th Century Design

    Modern & Contemporary Art and 20th Century Design

    Design is celebrated in this cabinet, with iconic 1960s design chairs and a collection of textile designs made by the likes of Henry Moore, John Piper, and William Gear for David Whitehead and Sons of Lancashire.