Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Antiques Roadshow - Ascot

Yesterday, my partner and I took ourselves off to an Antiques Roadshow valuation day and I brought along a timeline selection from my collection - a range of wares from Livesley Powell & Co (L.P& co), Powell & Bishop (P&B), Powell Bishop & Stonier (P.B.&S.) and Bishop & Stonier (B&S). Some of the pieces I have already written about on this blog and I was delighted by the reaction to them.

If you've never been to a Roadshow, let me tell you a bit about the day. You first have to queue to get to the "reception" where you are seen by a group of experts who then give a coloured ticket to say which experts table you are to visit, eg Ceramics, Miscellaneous etc. When I arrived and was asked to show what i had brought so that i could be given a ticket, he asked me a few questions about the piece: where did i get it? how much did i pay for it? etc. I think also they're trying to suss you out as a "character" to best match you to an expert! rather unusually, the reception expert took my piece off to the category tables and came back saying that i should definitely speak to Fergus Gambon, an expert from Bonhams who was "really into this sort of thing". Apparently, Fergus had shown an interest in the tazza I took along.

The tazza in question was the armorial design that I have previously written about. What my earlier pictures didn't show you was that underneath is a palette of tester colours around the stand and that the enamels design on top is not a finished work. It was possibly a commission from the factory for a specific event, or more likely Fergus thought, a blank bought and painted at home. But he was puzzled as to why they put so much effort into the top design only to then do a colour palette underneath which didn't relate to those above and therefore effectively "ruin" the finished work. It is certainly not a finished piece but a trial for something else. He said the artist was very accomplished and was copying similar armorial enamel designs by Limoges.

Another piece i took along for valuation was my Louis Rhead designed jug which Fergus thought was wonderful and which he had never seen before. I happily filled him in on the background to the design - being originally for The Sun magazine. He valued the jug at £300.

I was delighted that Fergus was SO enthusiastic about my collection and that he'd said the Roadshow needed collectors like me who specialise in one thing. He also said that he thought my collection was probably unique (no other Bisto collectors that he knew of) and that I should leave it to the Potteries museum in Stoke-on-Trent when I die! Well, I wasn't planning on doing that just yet, but it's something to consider for the future I guess. Fergus also said that I should consider writing a book about the companies. My partner is perhaps more keen than me - him being quite into libraries and research and me being more into the general business of accumalating stuff. I'm seriously thinking about it, however, as a past trip to the Potteries museum had a similar comment from Julia Knight, one of the ceramics curators. Let me know what you think? Would anyone out there like to see a concise work on this fabulous pottery???


granwen said...

Just composed a long reply which has just floated off into cyber-space!
So, briefly:
Loved your blog.
Found you whilst 'Googling' Bisto.
Have an overcrowded pine dresser.
Proud owner, since yesterday, of 3 Bisto(display, I think) plates.
These will be added to the 'display'
Would love your opinion.
Best wishes.... granwen.

bisto boy said...

hi there,
what a shame your original reply disappeared into the ether! i hate it when that happens - bloody technology, huh? O.M.G !!! another Bisto collector ? or is it ceramics in general with a few Bisto pieces scattered amongst it?
By all means, do send pics of your Bisto to me - i'm not sure i'll be any help in appraising them for you, but i'll do my best. And also, it's great simply to add to my knowledge of all the different things the company produced. As you will have read in my blog, i'm thinking of writing a book and need to start doing some serious research of patterns, model numbers etc.

looking forward to hearing from you again,

seadbed said...

I had the same problem as Granwen anyway here goes again.
About 45 years ago I bought a beautiful BISTO meat platter for 12/6. Originally it was used for the Christmas turkey but now it has pride of place on my sitting room mantelpiece. There is a 'Roadshow' in my village hall this evening so I will attempt to get it valued, although I suspect that that may be a problem as I had quite a difficult job finding some information about Bishop and Stonier. I guess it was made about the turn of the 20th Century. It measures 20" by 16" and is 'heavy' especially with a turkey onboard! I copied the pattern as a frieze round the top of the walls in the kitchen/diner of a house I lived in in the 70's and also in gold paint on a rather dilapidated fridge that I restored.
The pattern is a transfer with handpainted highlights. I could send a photo if I knew how to attach one to a blog!
Cheers! Seadbed

bisto boy said...

hi Seadbed, i don't believe you can leave pictures with messages on Blogspot blogs - pity. But please do feel free to email them to me at as i'd be delighted to see them. Your plate sounds really interesting and it's great that you found creative inspiration from it to do some decorating! i hadn't thought of that before although i have to admit, i did decorate my own living room around one particular Bisto aesthetic jardiniere i have in gorgeous teal blue with pretty flowers. Sadly, the plant inside isn't doing so well so i may have to just diplay the pot on its own!

seadbed said...

Hi Russell,
I have sent you photos of the meat plate and I just saw the pattern on another site ( so it is definitely called Orient.
I missed out on getting it valued as I was busy in the other hall promoting my gluten free beer! I met the vauler but he specialised in stamps, postcards and other paper ephemera.
I love your beautiful tureen that you don't know how to display, could you perhaps get one of those pine shelves that fit on the wall in the corner for a T.V.

bisto boy said...

hi Seadbed,
i'm glad you found - it's a very good site for tracking down odd pieces to complete dinner services etc or replacing family treasures that a pet cat may have knocked of a shelf (don't laugh, happened to me once with a denby plate - the little swine).
I haven't got any thing with the "orient" pattern in my collection as far as i'm aware - i'll check the website myself to take a look at the pattern.
the corner shelf sounds like a good idea - but that would mean coming over all butch and getting a power tool out to assemble it! may have to ask my other half very nicely.
best regards

bisto boy said...

hi again - just looked up the orient pattern on replacements. No, i don't have anything with that pattern, although i have seen it before. The company did a pattern which is very similar with a cockerel in the centre surrounded by oriental flowers - not sure of the pattern name, possibly "Nankin" which was a pattern name that several company's used.

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Sometimes, life doesn't turn out the way you expected. And sometimes, it is exactly as it was 'meant' to be. But whilst i'm not a believer in fate or fatalism, I do believe that life is a both a learning experience and an obstacle course to be climbed and clambered over in the most creative way possible! In doing so, you'll get to where you should be even if it's not where you'd imagined.