Monday, March 30, 2009

what do you call a gathering of dragons?

Here is my collection of Bisto ware that have decorated with Dragons. This led me to thinking what one might call a group of Dragons: a pride, a party, a swarm, a school, a herd? I have heard the term, "a nest of dragons", but that suggests the place a mother hatches her young, but doesn't really work in this situation. Maybe there is no word for a group of them, perhaps they've always been regarded as solitary creatures. No matter, they look fabulous grouped together here.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

being drawn to the Dark Side

i recently mentioned how i'd found the pottery and glass forum, via Mark Hill's blog. Well, from what i can gather, most, if not all of its regular contributers are mad keen on West German Pottery (WGP) and rate it highly as a collectible that is going places (particularly in terms of value). Mark Hill has written on the subject and there has been an exhibition to showcase the out put of West German pottery manufacturers - predominantly of the 50s, 60s, 70s. Well, i swore to myself that i would not be drawn in any further than the one WGP vase i already owned. But i'm afraid i have succumbed. Above is my collection of 4 WGP pieces, but i "promise", that's it now... no more... ...... ............ ........ err....

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

things that go bump in the night

I have a number of candlesticks and chambersticks in my collection and was happy this week to be able to add another pair to my shelves. This set of Oriental Ivory, Aesthetic movement candlesticks was made in the 1880s. They have a strange confection of aesthetic period motifs transfer printed and hand enamelled on the surface. Here also are a few close-ups of the insects and flowers depicted on them. I have to admit, of all the animal kingdom, insects are my least favourite, and mosquitos alongside wasps have to be the most loathsome creatures made by God (he must've been having an "off" day).

Sunday, March 15, 2009

spreading my ceramic wings

I've been away from my blog for a few days and surfing around various pottery and collectors' sites. After visiting Mark Hill's blog, i found a link to the amazing pottery and glass forum. Some of you may have already found it and will have been chatting on there for ages, but for newbies like me it has been a revelation... Yes, i REALLY am, not the only ceramics geek/freak in the village! Another link for you is the blog of one collector/dealer in Reading. His specialism is Mid 20th century design (so a bit late for any Bisto collectors) and he looks really cool! .

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Emsworth Auction

Yesterday, my partner and I visited the Emsworth Church Path Auction which is run by friends of ours, the delightfully eccentric Hilary and Michael. Whilst there, I made an unsuccessful bid on a W H Earp landscape painting - my maximum bid was £42 which on later internet research proved to be well under its deserved price. I had heard of the artist, but wasn't sure enough about it's profitability to make any more of a concerted effort to win it. I also hadn't bargained on someone else in the room also taking a shine to it as most of the other "art" in the auction was raising pretty paltry sums of money. Anyhow, the better man/woman won and I left empty handed. However, also whilst there, I spied a truly fantastic wash bowl by MASONS which had a huge green dragon and enameled black and orange border decoration. It reminded me of some wash sets I'd seen at the equally fantastic Stansted House near Rowlands Castle (Hampshire). If this lot hadn't been quite so disastrously damaged and poorly re-assembled, I may not have been able to stop my bidding hand from rising. On returning home and after a surf on the internet, I came across the above plate by Bishop & Stonier for sale in the USA in an auction of other Blue & White china. This stunning Dragon plate would look amazing displayed on a wall or as the centre piece to a Bisto collection and strangely, I think it would work better as a single piece and not as part of a set.


Many thanks are owed to a gentleman and his daughter, called Lesley and Leslie respectively, who sent me pictures of two pieces of Aztec ware that they have at home. This range dates from the 1920s and was produced in a few colour variations and some with lustre glazes (as evidenced here). So, here for your delectation are the two Lesley/Leslie's pots. If anyone reading has other examples that you'd like to share with me and other readers of this blog, please do get in touch.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

What exactly DID happen in 1883?????

You may recall, a few months ago I was reeling from the fact that I missed out on a fantastic armourial, handpainted bowl that was being sold on Ebay. I have a tazza which had obviously been painted by the same artist, to commemorate the same occasion, but the price just went too high for my budget at that time. Well, another piece from the same commision (?), or at least, by the same artist, came up for sale so I dug a little deeper to secure it for my own collection. This fabulous plate, handpainted on an oriental ivory blank, has a crest, monogram (or joining of two initials) and a family motto, "Virtute non armis fido" which means something like "I trust in Virtue not arms". Well, on doing a bit of internet googling, ie. Wikipedia, I found that this is the family motto of Lord Gray de Wilton. Whether there is a connection to this historic family i can't say for sure. From what I can tell, 1882/83 was the year when one Earl died and another was created - so it could have been a commission for this event. Alternatively, it may be a commemorative piece for a wedding? What i find most intriguing on this piece, is the handpainted musical notes, A, and F, on the back which surely refer to someone's initials? Anyone got any thoughts on the matter, please do get in touch! particularly if you know something of the de Gray family.

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.