A PORCELAIN collection started by a milkman in the 1970s is set to fetch thousands of pounds at auction in Dorchester.

The collection, including work by renowned painters from the Coalpart and Royal Worcester factories, is the fruits of the labours of passionate collector Bernie Wood.

He ensured all his pieces were of the highest quality and condition and created handmade fitted boxes to keep them in pristine condition.

The collection, which was amassed over 40 years, is now going on sale for the first time at Duke’s auctioneers in Dorchester tomorrow and has a combined estimated value of more than £10,000.

The works include pieces by noted porcelain painters John Stinton and Frederick Herbert Chivers.

Amy Brenan, a valuer at Duke’s, said: “This stunning collection includes examples of the very best output of the Coalport and Royal Worcester porcelain factories in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

“The overall condition and scope of the selection on sale reflects the diligence and discernment of Bernie Wood in ensuring that only the finest pieces gained entry into this excellent collection.

“The sale of the collection provides an unmissable opportunity to secure some of the best examples of painted British porcelain on the market today.”

Bernie’s passion for painted porcelain evolved from an early interest in commemorative ceramics, which he discovered whilst working as a milkman in 1976. As his career progressed, so too did his taste for finer porcelain.

He has spent many hours and miles travelling across the country to secure pieces of the best quality and condition to add to his collection, and even created hand-made fitted boxes for many of the pieces now on sale.

One of the outstanding pieces in the collection is a superb Royal Worcester porcelain vase and cover painted with a beautiful highland cattle by John Sinton, which is expected to fetch between £1,500 and £2,000.

Another lot expected to attract plenty of bidding is a pair of Royal Worcester porcelain ewers painted by Charles Dean that have an estimated value of between £600 and £1,200.