Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I was recently contacted by someone asking about the pattern called Honfleur. Although I don't have any pieces in my own collection, I was able to tell the emailer that this aesthetic style pattern came in different colourways - three of which are illustrated here: blue and white, brown transfer and with handcoloured enamels. The above pattern mark shows that the design was registered by Powell Bishop & Stonier and you can accurately date it if you have a registration reference guide ( i don't, sorry). The name Honfleur was used by several other factories, such as Wedgwood and bizarrely, Noritake. Many of P.B&S 's aesthetic designs were produced in plain brown transfer and mainly exported abroad. They also produced designs with coloured enamels and other colourways such as black/grey and white, pink & white. I do find the Brown & White not so appealling, but i understand it is highly collected in the USA.

Bishop England

You will find elsewhere on my blog a timeline for the factory and some info about maker's marks. The above two examples illustrate the trademark of "Bishop". The first, is an example of when the name 'Stonier' was dropped - when the firm of George Jones bought out the factory. They decided to keep the name of Bishop as it was well known. The second mark illustrated is of "BISHOP MADE IN ENGLAND". It was employed by George Jones, perhaps in an attempt to break away from the name of the original factory ownership, but to retain the name of Bishop and create a new identity for the pottery (in the late 1930s).

Ebay Police

I hate to admit it, I'm one of those terrible people that feels he needs to police Ebay and comment on wrongly listed items (when it suits me, that is). If I come across a listing that is factually incorrect - wrong dates, wrong names, wrong pattern etc, I tend to email the seller to let them know. How sad is that? And how rude! Anyway, this set of bowls (pattern name: Leicester) was advertised as being by Pinder Bourne & Co. I have found this to be a common listing mistake as people will look for P&B in their marks reference books and make the wrong assumption. The evidence that it is not by Pinder Bourne is the accompanying mark of Oriental Ivory. The irony is that I myself have bought items that I knew were incorrectly described because I wanted to grab a bargain and thought it might go for significantly more money if people knew the correct attribution. This canny git side of me has snaffled several bits for my collection that other collectors may not have found because the seller didn't properly do their research. So, why did I interfere with this auction, well, it's not the most exciting pattern is it? ..... but if it had been a whole dinner service, it might've been different...

Sunday, July 20, 2008


The Victorians and Edwardians seemed to love the image of peacocks in design. Many pottery factories used them on their work - one of my favourites is a fantasticly rich design by Thomas Forrester in the Phoenix ware range. They fit so well with the Art Nouveau aesthetic. The toilet set shown here is on an Oriental Ivory body and extremely beautiful in it's extravagently chintzy looking design. Perfect for the time and again in the Laura Ashley decors of the early 1980s, but out of fashion now. Still, someone liked it enough to part with over £400 for it at auction according to one internet site. The problem with sets like these is not many people have the room to either display them, or even to use them. It's sad to say, but sometimes the jugs, bowls, and even the chamber pots alone are more saleable them sets because they can at least be used. Spitoons are perhaps a bit harder to swallow nowadays.

Diversifying your collection

There comes a point in any collector's life that they begin to wonder, should i diversify? The options open to a collector about what and how to collect are many and it can be hard for some people to remain focussed! I know from experience that I have found my eye wandering... I have begun to think about other BISTO (not gravy) connections and how i might introduce them into my collection; one such addition would be the Ogdens cigarettes card set of "Modern" British potteries which was produced in the early years of the 20th Century. It included images of wares from all the major British pottery manufacturers of the time: from Wedgwood, Moorcroft,Carltonware, Poole etc to the now less well known: Forresters, Elton, Clews etc. I say "less well known", of course to collectors of these wares and ceramics enthusiasts, they are not so, but to the general 'Flog It' watching public, they will hardly ever have heard of these great factories. One of the cards in the set is of a BISTO dragon vase. It's a double gourd shape, probably number 27, and has a glorious orange background with stunning dragon image. I have to say, if i ever found one (pref. with the stand shown in the picture) i'd give my eye teeth for it. And how do i know it's number 27 in shape? well, the wonders of Ebay.... I had seen for sale a vase of the same shape, but with the fruit design I have on a ginger jar. Godness, i'm such a ceramics geek.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Royal memorabilia and souvenir wares

It is not uncommon to find Royal memorabilia or souvenir wares produced by various Staffordshire potteries as they were a great money spinner of the day. Collectors of these wares are widespread and they will be able to tell you more accurately than I how much you should expect to pay for wares commemorating different monarchs or events, but generally speaking, the less popular the monarch was in their day, the more rare and valuable the pieces are today. Commemorative wares were not restricted to events such as Royal coronations, birthdays or jubilees but were sometimes made for local events and civic functions. The plate above is a very strange and, i believe, rare example of a plate commemorating the matyrdom of a Protestant believer at the hands of Roman Catholic Bishop Bonner. in Tudor England.
A beaker commemorating a Royal Visit to the town of Leek in 1913 - obviously a very big event for a small town!
the coronation of Edward VII and his wife Mary in 1902
The plate above was produced to commemorate PEACE after World War I and was presented by Samuel Samuel M.P to celebrate "The Great Victory of the British Empire". This interesting piece of social history tells us so much about that time when the "Empire" was still looked on with respect and pride. Mr Samuel was a businessman and conservative MP for Putney at this time. This little trinket box (sadly missing its lid) was given to me as a birthday present by some friends and is a really lovely little thing. It commemorates the coronation of King George V. The mark on the bottom is quite unusual for the company - perhaps they were keen to differentiate their wares from poorer quality commemorative pottery. It also gives us a good bit of historical info that it was produced at their Hanley factory.
This stunning jug was made to celebrate the 1887 Jubilee of Queen Victoria. It has a black transfer print of the royal coat of arms on an ivory body and indeed, is marked as Oriental Ivory. The portrait of her Majesty is rendered in a sepia toned transfer. I was extremely gutted to have lost out on this jug on Ebay recently, sadly finances prevented me from placing a large bid to secure it. I was interested to see that the winning bidder is an avid collector of Royal commemorative wares, so I wish them well in adding this find jug to their collection (sob, sob). The jug was not advertised as being by P.B&S so i found it by searching for Oriental Ivory

About Me

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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.