Thursday, October 30, 2008

ABBEY - Livesley Powell

The ABBEY pattern is one of those patterns that has endured the test of time and been used by several companies along the way. George Jones used it for many years and it has its collectors just like the Willow pattern. This 10 sided plate (decahedron) by the firm of Livesley Powell & Co (L.P&Co) is printed in a puce/pink transfer on an Ironstone body and dates from the mid 19th century.
Powell Bishop & Stonier continued to use the Abbey transfer print design and produced this lovely hexagonal platter in a blue & white colourway.


These beautiful pieces by P.B&S recently came up for auction on Ebay from the USA. Whilst I didn't make a bid on them, i just had to blog about them. They cannot claim to be stunning in their craftsmenship as they are simply handcoloured transferprint designs, but the overall balance of the design is delightful and each piece displays well in its own right. I would, however, have loved to see them being sold as one lot - which may have tempted me to dig deeper into my pockets - but I understand the logic of selling each piece indivually. If the postage cost puts people off for just one piece, it may be a total killer for a complete set and it would be a shame to see the auction end at a unjustly low amount simply because of P&P costs.

More thanks - for Birthday prezzies

More thanks are due to some very lovely friends in Emsworth who spotted this Abelmarle patterned part set at auction and knew I would love to have them for my collection. Michael and Hilary, Cheers!

Many Thanks

I am very grateful to a kind man who sent me this cup and saucer after we conversed about a set left to him in a family member's estate. Many thanks Mike.


I am happy to announce that my flow-blue candlestick pair have had babies - beautiful bonny identical twins, only a few centimetres shorter than their mummy and daddy.

Wedgwood tradition

I recently added the above Aesthetic Movement coffepot to my collection and was struck by how thoroughly "of it's period" it is, and yet, how the look of white silhouetted designs are classic. The look was first seen in British pottery at the Wedgwood factory where they introuduced Jasperware. White moulded designs were applied to the solid colour background of the jasperware body and were most often in a neo-classical style. Powell Bishop & Stonier did not, to my knowledge, produce any Jasperware, or even anything of a similar technique. They did however, use moulded relief forms and coloured background to replicate the look of Wedgwood, but gave a more "modern" Aesthetic interpretation to their designs.
The Minton factory took on the idea of the white silhouetted design and used a new technique called Pate-sur-Pate (paste-on-paste). This technique applied thin layers of porcelain paste which gave a translucence not available to the Jasperware designers.
Wedgwood Jasperware Teapot

Lost in the Orient

I recently purchased the first of these two vases after falling in love with the pattern, known as Fuji-yama and has a very different makers mark to other Bisto ware - a chinese style circle mark with the words:
The second vase, a flo-blue version of the same pattern, was given to me on my birthday by my partner - and i love it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Gilding the Lily - again.

I used this phrase a few times on my blog to describe how the various partnerships of Powell/Bishop/Stonier piled on the trademarks and pattern marks etc on the bottoms of plates etc - perhaps in a state of paranoia of being copied, or perhaps in pride at their creations!? I happened across this image of two tazzas made by one incarnation of the factory ( i don't know who exactly) and was struck by the very literal example of the phrase.


Here is a little coffee set with a really weird design, that i can only assume is a stylized lily pad and lotus flower. It is easy to see how Clarice Cliff and Susie Cooper had so much influence over ceramic design of the early 20th century and how Staffordshire potteries where desperate not to miss the boat on their brightly coloured, simple designs. It's weird, but i love it. You might be able to make out that the mould shapes for the set are the same as that used for my 1920s Egyptian deco coffee set which can be found elsewhere on my blog.


These two vases are decorated in such a beautiful chinoiserie design of oriental figures, carnations and prunus trees, all on a stippled black background. The rim is simply gilded but it sets off the design perfectly. They date from around the 1920s and the body shape used is the same as a Bisto Aztec ware vase that is in my collection. Maddenly, i have no info about how much these beauties sold for at auction as i am not registered to Artnet. To a collector like me, or even just for their decorative appeal, i would estimate them at £80-120, perhaps more on a good day. They are just so glamourous and stunning. Drool.
Aztec ware by Bisto

Green is the new Purple

chinoiserie BISTO ENGLAND coffee can
Today seems to be a day for revisiting posts and adding to them. This art deco chamber pot was a fairly recent aquisition and came as part of a set. I have to admit to really not liking the colour combination and therefore going against my collecting rule of "only buy stuff you like" - i seem to now be verging on the "buy anything and everything i see, as long as it's Bisto." Well, i came across the teaset below, on ebay, with the same pattern but in a much more appealing colourway. It was a shame that the set was incomplete, or I may have bought them. A more canny seller might have ditched one of the cups and saucers and tried to sell it as a set of four. Foxy.

Stand Corrected

Some time ago, I blogged about the above covered bowl and was under the assumption that it was a sucrier (sugar bowl). Well, now I know the difficulty of attributing usage when you don't have the whole set! Below is a picture of a breakfast set that sold in auction a few years ago; the bowl is exactly the same in shape. There was no descripton of the purpose for the covered bowl, but it is clear that it was not intended for sugar, but perhaps something more savoury, like porridge. The rest of the set comprises of a toast rack, pepper pot and salt bowl.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A Deep Shade of Green

ok, i'm jealous. Green. Saw these and wanted them - but no available funds at present. The ribbon jug above is a design i had seen previously with a pint bow, at an antiques shop in Lewes. Their one was unmarked, but I just knew it had to be by Powell & Bishop because of the ivory colouring. Then I saw this one for sale with the factory attribution so I was pleased to have been proved right. This amazing chamber pot has to be the most wonderful expression of Victorian taste - they even decorated their pots for peeing in! How decandent is that.

A Rose by any other name

just had to share with you this wonderful set of backstamps! how gloriously overindulgent

Nock off Nigels

If you search for images of Aesthetic Movement pottery on the internet, some trends and motifs quickly become familiar. I have previously blogged about how the Victorians used motif ideas for their Aesthetic Movement designs which predominantly drew inspiration from Japan. Well, the similarity between the bowl below and contemporary designs by P.B&S is pretty clear. Not only are they using the same motifs of organic branches, fans, wheels and landscape vinettes, even the pattern name and backstamp is a bit of a nock off: Oriental. This bowl by Dunn Bennett and Co is so like some Oriental Ivory wares that i did a double take and then had a bit of a chuckle wondering who came up with it first - D.B & co or P.B & S ? D.B & co

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.