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???