Most 19th century collectable pottery and porcelain came from kilns in Staffordshire’s Five Towns. Coalport was one of a small number of exceptions, founded in 1795 by John Rose at the eponymous village in Shropshire. He was entrepreneurial enough to attract gifted workers, notably William Billingsley as chief painter and his chemist, both of whom had revitalised the Nantgarw factory in South Wales. Magnificent, showoff pieces like this slender, urn-shaped lidded vase were a speciality, made for the crowned heads of Europe and the few others who could afford them. Dating from 1891-95, the vase was painted with a lakeside scene against a mountainous backdrop and extensive gilded decoration of butterflies and leaves, all on Coalport’s signature cobalt blue ground. It sold for £320 at Gerrards auctioneers in Lytham St Annes.