Thursday, April 23, 2009

Antiques Roadshow - Bath, 23rd April 2009

What a beautiful day out in Bath! Today, my better-half and I took ourselves off to Bath and another Antiques Roadshow valuation day. With all good intentions I set my alarm for 7am, hoping to leave by 7.30am, but we only just got out of Portsmouth at around 8.15am and straight into the rush hour traffic. Still, once we were onto the M27 it was quite a smooth journey along the A36 to wonderful Georgian Bath under a cloudless blue sky. So far we have been exceptionally lucky with the weather during our AR visits. After a minor mishap on arriving at the city - i mistakenly thought the roadshow was being held at the Bath Pump Rooms, but no, it was at the Assembly Rooms which was a bit of a climb up a hill - we joined the queue for the reception desk. People snaked around the building, all waiting for their first glimpse of the joys inside. The sun was beginning to beat quite hard by the time we actually got inside the building and my balding pate was glad of the respite undercover. All in all, it took just over 2 hours to get to the reception desk, the longest we've had to queue at a roadshow so far. But gladly, the individual queues to see specialists inside, weren't as bad as they could have been. It seemed that every major hitter expert from the show was there: Rupert Maas (art), Lars Tharp (ceramics), Eric Knowles (ceramics & glass), Hillary Kay (miscellaneous), David Battie (ceramics & orientalist works), Paul Atterbury (miscellaneous), Geoffrey Munn (jewellery), Christopher Payne (furniture)... Maybe it was because they live fairly local and all opted for Bath because it was easy to get to, or it was because they had anticipated great finds coming from the city's wealthy inhabitants? What ever the reason for the great turn out, it was fantastic to see them all there in the flesh - i had goose bumps and a massive grin when we were told to go and see David Battie at the ceramics table to show him what we'd brought along. My partner and I had in fact, taken along not just ceramics, but also some Chinese hand painted scenes on very fine paper and wood (which looks sheeny like silk). They weren't worth a fortune (£10 each), but were a good result for a £5 for-the-lot investment.
As for the ceramics, I took along a small hard-paste porcelain cup that I was curious about; it is not by any of the Powell Bishop and Stonier factories, but was made around 1810-20ish and possibly by Masons or Mayhew according to Mr Battie. As for my Bisto collection, I took along my India patterned vases, my framed Ogdens cigarette card of a Bisto pot and some bowls. One of which, he commented looked like the designs of Charles Voysey. If you search for an earlier post on this blog, I mentioned that it reminded me of the work of 'the four' - that is, Rennie Mackintosh and his group from the Glasgow school - there are similarities indeed with their work. With his suggestion in mind, I have contacted a society who study/celebrate Voysey's work with the hope that they may have some info as to whether he did any ceramics design. Who knows, he may have sent designs to Bishop & Stonier?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Credit Crunch? what Credit Crunch?

A retailer in the USA has been trying to sell this lidded jar by PB&S and retailed by Hendersons on Ebay. From the dimensions given, it's a pretty large piece and I have no idea what its intended use was, perhaps biscuits?. The 'buy it now' price is over a $1000us - could it be that the seller should stick to their guns and when the economy looks a little brighter, some eager collector may just dig deep in their pockets, or are they in cloud cuckoo land like Mr Brown thinking we can all spend our way out of this recession?

Home to roost

Conway patterned dish
Just lately, there has been a slew of beautiful Bisto pieces for sale on Ebay, and sadly i have missed out on all of them for one reason or another. On checking on the feedback of the winning bidders, it seems none of them has a history of buying Bishop & Stonier pieces so either they're new Bisto collectors, or they simply bought the pieces because they liked them for what they were and not who made them. I can't argue with that now, can I? But I am starting to get a bit anxious and tetchy that I'm being out bid on more and more auction delights. It could simply be a sign of global economics and my Pound isn't worth what it used to be, or, there truly are more and more Bisto buyers out there of late. Is my proseletysing finally paying off? Indeed, are my chickens coming home to roost? Will all my blogging and shouting about Bisto actually mean that I end up sleeping in a Bisto-less bed because I've been priced out of the market by the Bisto-Collecting-Monsters that I have created - made irrelevant and killed off by my own Bisto kids? AAaarrrggghh
1930s Bisto teapot a beautiful miniatre vase from the Edwardian period
A handpainted plate from a set of similar plates with views, this one being Derwentwater.
Athena patterned two-handled cup (possibly a chocolate cup) and saucer.

Monday, April 06, 2009

West German Pottery vs Kilrush

Well, the plot thickens! On flicking through the April 2009 edition of the BBC Homes & Antiques Magazine I found a most intriguing development to the WGP vs Kilrush question. In their readers letters section, a Mr Gordon Morley had sent in a query about a vase in his collection, numbered on the base 105/24. The expert, Will Farmer, told him in reply that it was by E. S. Keramik, a Post War German piece, and valued around £30-40. If i hadn't only just posted a blog entry about a very similar pot, i wouldn't have paid much attention. But the vase from the magazine is clearly by the same designer and company as the Kilrush jug i mentioned only the other day. Now, how do i know that the jug was by Kilrush and not E.S.Keramik? Well, it was sold on Ebay recently and the seller said that it had a stamp underneath that said it was by Kilrush. So, Mr Farmer, we have an impass it seems. Unless, one or other of these factories imported each other's work and sold it as their own? Does anyone have any more light to shed on this mystery?

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Dare I wander from the path of righteousness?

Regular visitors to my blog will know that i have recently been tempted by the Dark Side, that is, to start a collection of pottery that is not by Bishop & Stonier et al. I admit to having picked up the odd piece of pottery here and there that just takes my fancy, from various factories, but until now i have resisted the temptation of starting a secondary collection of ceramics - mainly due to the fact that there are so many great potteries and ceramic artists works out there that i like. Well, after mistaking a piece of Kilrush ceramic for West German Pottery, I decided to investigate the pottery further. Wouldn't you know it, there really is very little on the net about it and only a handful of pieces for sale on sites like Ebay. But here for your consideration are a few pieces by Kilrush which I'm sure you will agree, do bear a striking similarity to the wares coming out of contemporary West German factories. I must say, i like the simplicity and colours of these pots far more than the WGP though.
This is such a stylish piece - i love it.

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.