A magnificent collection of tiles made for Minton – Europe’s leading ceramic factory during the Victorian era - is the pick of items on offer at Greenslade Taylor Hunt’s first antiques sale of 2020.

The seven intricately decorated tiles by Henry Stacy Marks RA (13 September 1829 – 9 January 1898) depict Shakespeare’s Seven Ages Of Man. During his early career Marks took a particular interest in Shakespearean and medieval themes.

"All the world's a stage" is the phrase that begins a monologue from William Shakespeare's comedy As You Like It, spoken by the melancholy Jaques in Act II Scene VII Line 138. The speech compares the world to a stage and life to a play and catalogues the seven stages of a man's life, sometimes referred to as the seven ages of man. It is one of Shakespeare's most frequently quoted passages.

The well-preserved tiles have come from a local source and appropriately will go under the hammer on Thursday, January 9 – exactly 122 years after the artist’s death. The tiles have a pre-sale guide of £8,000-£12,000 for the set.

Henry Stacy Marks was one of a number of freelance designers who became associated with the Minton firm. He supplied designs for use at their Art Pottery Studio in London, established by Colin Minton Campbell in 1871. Here, wares brought from Stoke-on-Trent were decorated by professional painters, and fired in a specially constructed kiln.

The sale will be on view on Saturday, January 4, at The Octagon Salerooms, East Reach, Taunton, between 9am-12.30pm.

There will be further opportunities to view the lots, which also include a section devoted to 20th Century design, on Tuesday, January 7, and Wednesday, January 8, from 9am-5.30pm.

For more information please call the salerooms on 01823 332525.