Published 17th July 2023
By Nic Saintey View profile
Born and bred in the West Country, Nic Saintey initially served as a paramedic in the Army, before making a bold career shift to pursue his passion for pottery. Following a period of study with the Open University and experience as a Somerset based auctioneer, he is now director and head of the ceramics and glass department at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood.
Now, with infectious enthusiasm, Nic revels in the diverse nature of his work. Knowing that ceramics and glass are an integral part of every household ensures that there is never a dull day! His field is vast, there is not a continent on this earth (except for Australia) that has not had a ceramic culture for at least three millennia or more, but he embraces the constant learning opportunities it presents. When he joined the auction world, ceramics were perhaps seen as something of a ‘Cinderella’ department, rarely achieving remarkable prices, that didn’t always reflect their true worth.
However, with the growing demand for Oriental ceramics, Nic frequently finds himself on the rostrum selling Chinese lots for significant sums to bidders around the world. One notable sale was a Chinese blue and white vase consigned from Okehampton, which fetched an impressive £460,000. It is worth noting that this particular sale originated from an online valuation request, reinforcing the unpredictability of the next surprising discovery.
Describing his job as a pursuit of rainbows, Nic is always searching for that pot of gold in the most unexpected places. Whether you possess Roman pottery and glass, 18th century delftware, Regency porcelain, Sevres pieces, or studio pottery, Nic is always happy to advise you.
Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood offer a range of free valuation services, both online via their website or in-person at their Exeter saleroom. Home visits can also be arranged by appointment. Alternatively you can bring items along to one of their valuation days held regularly across the West Country.
As for his personal collection, Nic’s passion lies in pottery rather than porcelain. His collection is an eclectic mix, featuring thousand-year-old pieces juxtaposed with contemporary works by local West Country potters. With each auction, Nic continues to celebrate the beauty and cultural significance of ceramics and glass from around the world.