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.


bisto boy said...

sadly, i must admit defeat on this one! a very knowledgable friend has put me on the right tracks and the manufacturer of this piece was actually BROWN WESTHEAD MOORE & CO. I feel i will have to do a bit of research into their wares to see just how similar their output was to P&B.

decorative arts said...

Trust is the main factor of business. to enhance of trust quality of product should be high.

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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.