Contact us today +44 (0)1782 638100

Who was Colin Melbourne? Plus Upcoming Pieces in Our Special Two-Day Beswick & Royal Doulton Auction

Debbie Porter

Potteries Auctions has sold many Colin Melbourne pieces over the past few years, and this month our special Beswick and Royal Doulton sale features some lovely little items. Check them out throughout this article!

Colin Melbourne (1928-2009) was a prolific artist and designer throughout his career, with some of his most famous work being from his time designing for Beswick. Find out more about his history, plus check out some of the wonderful Colin Melbourne Beswick pieces we have coming through our Silverdale saleroom as part of our special two-day Beswick and Royal Doulton auction this month below.

A Beswick Colin Melbourne bison figure and rare lion figure

This Beswick Colin Melbourne bison and rare lion design are both set to sell for £100-£200 each

Colin got his start in the pottery world when he trained as a modeller at the Burslem School of Art and went on to work as an assistant modeller at Wedgwood. However, he soon then won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art, and once he graduated he went on to work for many local potteries. During the 1950s, he put his name and designs to many items, ranging from dinnerware to stylised figures of animals for big names such as BeswickCrown DevonRoyal NorfolkW H BossonsW R Midwinter LtdWadeWedgwood, and more.

Colin visited the Beswick factory in 1955, where Ewart Beswick, the Managing Director at the time, commissioned him to produce a modern range of ceramics. The following year, his range was released and included everything from animals and birds to dishes and vases in many different colours and designs.

A Beswick Colin Melbourne brown slinking fox figure and black slinking fox figure

These rare Beswick Colin Melbourne slinking fox design pieces come with an estimate of £75-£150 each

In the later part of the 1960s, he began to teach art and later went on to become the Dean of the Faculty of Art and Design at North Staffordshire Polytechnic. Colin was known for championing the role that art and design could and should play in ordinary people’s lives and the difference it made to society, becoming an influential figure in art education as well as in pottery circles.

He sculptured his “fighting Steelman” for the failed campaign to save the Shelton Bar Steelworks, which became so popular that the Steelworks ordered these in miniature size, which he gladly produced. He also sculptured Sir Stanley Matthews statue “The Wizard of Dribble”, that stands in Parliament Row in Hanley, as well as other famous locals such as Sir Henry Doulton and James Brindley.

A rare Beswick Colin Melbourne clown on horse figure and rare cream and black seated cat figure

This rare Beswick Colin Melbourne design of a clown on a horse is set to sell for £300-£600, while this rare cream and black seated cat comes with an estimate of £150-£300

Today, many of the animal designs that Colin produced for the Beswick factory from 1956-1971 are the most popular of his pieces. Avid collectors are willing to pay several hundred pounds for some of the designs!

If you have Colin Melbourne Beswick items for auction, get in touch and we can help you with a valuation. Talk to our team of experts who will be able to give you an accurate auction estimate on a range of pottery and ceramic pieces. You can join us at one of our valuation days, email us for an appointment or call us on +44 (0)1782 638100 Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm. 

Email Valuations

If you can’t come in and see us in person but would like to submit items for auction or valuation, send us an email to with details and a photograph (eg make, model, model number, measurements, condition) and one of our experts will provide information and auction estimates. Alternatively, give us a call on 01782 638100 to arrange an appointment.