Monday, October 26, 2009


This service by the Livesley Powell & Co factory, sold at Sothebys a few years ago for £2000. i'll be keeping an eye out in my local charity shops for that one then. It looks to be a brown transfer ware pattern, and i'm wondering if it went to an American buyer as brown transfer ware has a much larger collectors following on the other side of the pond than in the UK. My personal preference is Blue & White, or even Purple & White.

Oh me, oh my!

This little fairing, apparently by Powell & Bishop, recently sold on Ebay for a whopping £104. No wonder she was blown over!

The Balmoral influence

Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert, took great pleasure in the Scottish countryside. Their influence on popular culture and fashions of the day saw a major rise in the popularity of all things Scottish. Tartan patterns, Mauchlin ware, heather and thistle motifs, even Scotty Dogs were all in vogue during second half of the 19th century. Edwin Landseer encapsulated the nation's love of Caledonia in his majestic painting of a stag in a picture called, the "Monarch of the Glen", 1851.
Powell Bishop & Stonier were not alone in drawing on the Scottish influence and produced wares which used the images of the kilted Scottish piper, highland cattle, Scottish landscapes of mountains and lochs. They used transfer prints in the main, but their factory artists also handpainted some scenes - perhaps not as finely as Royal Worcester, but beautiful nonetheless.

Round, like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel

talk about Psychadelic! This ivory and cobalt blue spiral design teaset is enough to give you a headache. They look like they should be from the Art Deco period but in fact, are late Victorian.

another teapot - divided opinions

I recently bought this teapot on ebay and it has divided opinions in my household. I like it ( of course I do, it's BISTO) but my husband and also my twin brother think it's ugly. In fact, said brother, even went so far as to say that it looked like something you'd buy from the back of a Sunday paper magazine, like Franklin Mint! The cheeky bugger!!
what do you all think?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Pomona ware

In the 1920s, Bishop & Stonier started a new line of wares under the name of Aztec Ware. These wares were notable for their bright, lustrous colours and resembled the work of Clarice Cliff and Susie Cooper. There was even a new mark designed for this range that didn't include the Caduceus wand or the chinaman under a parasol. Similar to the new Aztec ware range, was Bisto's Pomonaware which mixed sponge printed backgrounds in bright colours, handcoloured transfer print fruits and sometimes, lustre glazes. They are very similar to Aztec ware pots, but the main difference as far as i can tell, is that the fruit prints are much smaller.

The Great British Cuppa

The most recent additions to my collection are two similar, but quite different teapots. The first is a miniature example, in a very pretty blue and white transfer print design and manufactured for Harrods circa 1910. I should imagine that it was once part of a complete miniature tea service, perhaps intended for use by children, but more often than not kept as cabinet pieces. The quality of this piece shines through and it is clear why Harrods was keen to stock Bisto wares.
The next teapot, again a globe shape but full size, is about 20 years younger than the blue and white and was made in the 1930s. The stippled brown background and transfer print fruits (hand coloured) are similar to others of the period made by Bishop & Stonier. I don't personally feel its the most attractive of designs, but was keen to add to my collection nevertheless.

the origin of species

Two temple jars, the same shape (no. 3) and the same pattern (fujiyama) but different colour variation (sadly no lid for the one one on the left).
It's only by buying similar items like this that you get an idea of the development of a design and how subtle changes were made to keep it fresh.


The above teapot is NOT by Bisto, but is in fact, by the Wade Heath factory. It is decorated in a paisley design which co-incidentally is exactly the same as a Bisto ginger jar that i have recently added to my collection (below). Rather intriguingly, I also found this design on a condiment set by Avonware so i would imagine that the transfer design was from a pattern book that was circulated to various pottery manufacturers
The 1920s blue ginger jar on the right was added to my collection some time ago and i mused on its asian influence with hints at paisley designs. Well, I have now added a more obvious example of Paisley pattern to my shelves (LEFT) . The transfer print is wrapped around the design in tessalating sections, matching up like wallpaper (some areas are more successful than others). Sadly I don't have the lid for my new ginger jar, so I'll be keeping an eye open for it, along with other examples of Paisley designs.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

To Goodwood and beyond!

August Bank Holiday (31st August 2009) will be a morning spent at Goodwood - not for horseracing, but an antiques & collectables fair run by Arun Fairs. If you're there, please do leave some Powell Bishop & Stonier for me won't you.
Getting very excited about a big event happening in just under two weeks... i'm getting hitched! and going to Venice for a weeks honeymoon. But never fear, I shan't be coming home with any dreadful Murano glass souvenir tat.

one more for the shelf

a deco vase with cranes and flower design, handcoloured with enamels.

Monday, August 17, 2009

by comparison

after falling flat on face with a misattribution of a Brown Westhead Moore & Co comport to Powell & Bishop i set about trying to find any other of their wares that bore a resemblance to dear old P&B. Whilst i'll admit, these two vases are not similar in many ways, the similar shapes are quite obviously both classically inspired. The greco-roman influence is clear with their scrolling handles, but the puce transfer print on Oriental Ivory body of the P&B vase above is more English in it's influence than the formal swags and acanthus border of the B W M & Co version.
apologies for the very pixelly pic - the original was very small indeed.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Cheesey wotsits

The shape of the cheese dish above will be familiar to most people - a big horizontal wedge to accomodate a large hunk of the stinky stuff. But recently up for auction was the splendid example below: under the Oriental Ivory label and with handpainted transfer decoration, this upright wedge is quite unusual. Another shape of cheese dish that you find is a dome shape, but I have yet to see a (Powell) Bishop & Stonier version.

even MORE Fuji Yama!

Bought this vase last week to add to my Fuji Yama patterned wares. Here are some examples of the different colourway treatments.

learn to trust the label

A few weeks ago I bought the tureen below and pondered whether there should've been a lid with it, despite the label when I bought it saying "without lid". Well, above is the proof that yes it should have a lid as the shape is exactly the same, but with a different transfer pattern - this time from a series of London views.

Monday, August 10, 2009

testing the knowledge

I picked up this comport at an antiques/collectables fair in Midhurst last weekend and was drawn to it from across the room like a moth to a flame as I thought it could be by Powell Bishop & Stonier. The stall was being run by two sweet little old ladies who didn't seem to know much about any of their stock, but were very cheery and smiley nonetheless and were having a gay old time of it, chatting away and chewing on their packed lunch tuna sandwiches. Sadly, one didn't have to look too hard to spot that the comport had been severely damaged and stuck back together again with some very bad restoration, but at only £3 i wondered if it was worth taking a risk. I turned it over hoping to see a clear factory mark, but all i got was a diamond registration and some painted pattern numbers. No sign of an impressed caduceus or even a triangle mark so commonly found on the factory's pieces. The style, pattern and colour however screamed at me that it just MUST be by them(?)

I must admit, i am not 100% convinced - mainly because they were usually so prolific with their factory marks, but also because the screw/bolt that goes through the top plate and into the pedestal looks a bit crude. All the other compotes/tazzas i have by the factory are moulded in one piece or with the plate cemented onto a pedestal. This has been a marker point; I think i am now confident enough in my knowledge to take a stab at identifying unmarked pieces. It's a very tricky business and one which i'm sure most collectors will face at some point in their collecting careers. When do you start to trust your instincts and all your knowledge gained so far and make a judgment call? It could be that i will get egg on my face with this one. Do take a look and let me know what you think.

one way of checking would be to see if the diamond registration throws up any designs registered for that date. Sadly i don't have any books that would give me info as to who registered it, but i can tell you from checking on the potteries website that it was registered on 15h February 1870. So, it could only be by the Powell & Bishop partnership which ran for only a short period and not a later partnership.


just had to share this great victorian tea for two set with you that sold at auction some time ago (i've been trawling the site for info about auction prices etc but sadly you have to be a fully paid up member to get that kind of info).

raspberries versus strawberries

After watching Valentine Warner's "What to eat now" programme on tv tonight, i was reminded to post pics of this great piece of Victoriana. Valentine was trying to convince his audience that raspberries are far superior fruit to strawberries and he made a delicious looking tart to prove his point ( i was very hungry afterwards). Well, this handled dish was advertised as a 'strawberry dish'. Quite how one can be sure of that i do not know, but i would imagine that if the description is correct, one would pick up strawberries from the sides and then deposit the stalks in the small circular recesses.

a right royal flush

Bishop & Stonier (BISTO) were not averse to a bit of novelty in their designs and these sandwich plates demonstrate a rather stylish sense of humour. Perhaps they envisaged a game of whist followed by tea and cucumber sarnies. marked for 1929

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

bag a bargain

I have been sent notification of an upcoming auction (Sat 25th July) at Lloyd Cameron's in Warrington: Lloyd Cameron and Partners Antiques Auction Sat 25 July Lot 66 - White Star Line / Titanic - a print depicting the SS Titanic signed personally by Millvina Dean who was the last survivor of the Titanic disaster and, at just nine weeks old, was the youngest individual to come through the sinking alive, and a blue and white dish with White Star Line logo, the backstamp Stonier & Co Lt, Liverpool, Bisto England with impressed marks
The lot is only estimated at £60-80 which seems like a real "come and buy me" estimate; i blogged a while ago about a Bisto White Star line dish that sold for around £300 on ebay, so to my mind there's plenty of room to push the upper limit of this estimate.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Tureens act as both a key functional and aesthetic centre piece to a dinner service. They vary tremendously in shape, volume, decoration and the type of clay used to make them. Ironstone is heavy and durable, perfect for utilitarian/domestic wares which had a lot of use. Earthenware is not so durable and is more porous - particularly if left unglazed. The pieces in a collection that are stained from use with liquids, are invariably earthenware bodies which have been effected by the contents stored in them. For this reason, the best tureens are ironstone or bone china - although bone china doesn't always stand up to the rigours of big ladles and lots of hot heavy veg so is more prone to chips and cracks.
an Art Deco period BISTO example.
a simple and elegant example with a gilded greek key border motif and foliate finial.
a blue and white pattern called Saxony
the classic Willow pattern is still very popular with collectors
french style chinoisirie
Edwardian tastes favoured small sprigs of flowers around the border and more muted colours than the Victorians before them. To today's tastes, it can appear a bit boring and bland and may be found in a many a grandma's kitchen cupboard.
where form and surface decoration just don't match - the combination of geometric patterns and more fluid nouveau body shapes is really unsatisfactory here.
if you can find a tureen with its original ladle in an undamaged state, then you're VERY lucky. Even better is if you find the stand/dish to go with it too!
honfleur pattern
very simple - perhaps even meant for use in a hotel or on board a cruise liner?
ironstone examples, including a tealeaf pattern design - very widely collected in the USA
sunflower design
a very rare shape of a tureen on a pedestal base - presumably so that it was more easily accessible on a crowded dinner table.
khan pattern in flow blue - this example shows how the tureen shaped blends into other familiar forms, for example the casserole dish.

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.