London-based Maak is the market-leading auction house and art consultancy that specialises in the foremost ceramic art of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Maak’s forthcoming sales – 'The Art of Sake' on 21 November and 'Past and Present Masters | Modern + Contemporary Ceramics' on 22 November – are no exception to this ‘foremost’ rule: the ceramic masters that are brought together are unlike any other. Let’s dive in.

Hans Coper (1920-81) was an influential German-born British studio potter. He is known for his abstract but functional pieces which are largely sculptural. This sculptural aspect is due, in part, to the way Coper would throw his work on the potter’s wheel and then alter and assemble pieces by hand to achieve its finished form.

From Maak's sale on 22 November, this particular piece comes from a private collection in Japan. It comprises T-Material, layered white porcelain slips and dark manganese engobes over a textured body, the oval body squeezed to an oval lip with a strong vertical indent front and back. It is raised on a cylindrical foot with spiralling shadows beneath the glaze, impressed with an HC seal. It measures 17.9 cm in height, 10.8 cm in width, and 9.7 cm in depth.

Coper is often coupled with Austrian-born British studio potter Lucie Rie DBE (1902-95) due to their association (in 1946, Coper was hired as Rie’s studio assistant). However, where Coper is sculptural and abstract, Rie is cosmopolitan perfection. Her work is known for its smooth surfaces, sleek edges, and precise form.

This is certainly true for this piece, a porcelain bowl on foot from 1980 with golden bronze glaze, two terracotta bands crossed with sgraffito and a turquoise ring in the well and around the foot. It hails from a private collection in South Africa.

Alison Britton OBE (b. 1948) is a British ceramic artist known for her large sculptural, slab built vessels. Her work can be found in a number of collections, including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the British Council Collection, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

This early work, from c. 1978, features a pale yellow glaze with blue and yellow painted figures to each side with incised detailing, strong yellow glaze to the interior, and an incised signature. It measures 34.9 cm in height, 27.8 cm in width, and 14.9 cm in depth. Its provenance is from a private collection in London, and it comes in perfect condition with no damage or restoration.

Jennifer Lee is another prominent British sculptor. She was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, in 1956.

From 1975 to 1979 she studied ceramics and tapestry at Edinburgh College of Art. She then spent eight months on a travelling scholarship to the USA where she researched South-West Indian prehistoric ceramics and visited contemporary West Coast potters.

In June of this year, Lee won the prestigious Loewe Craft Prize with her hand-built ceramic vessel, Pale, Shadowed Speckled Traces, Fading Ellipse, Bronze Specks, Tilted Shelf (2017).

Here is a large stoneware bowl from 1989, featuring a mottled dark green body with three integral olive green bands around the body. This piece also comes from a private collection in London, and it measures 20.2 cm in height and 31.9 cm in depth.

Finally, Maak's parallel auction, 'The Art of Sake' comprises a single-owner sale of Sake Ware from a highly regarded Parisian Collection of Japanese Ceramics, including this Oribe Guinomi Stoneware by Kouchi Hidetoshi.

Other highlights of Maak’s forthcoming sales includes works by Elizabeth Fritsch, Bernard Leach, Edmund de Waal, Gordon Baldwin, John Ward, Ewen Henderson, and many, many more.

Discover all ceramic works up sale at Maak on Barnebys