Sunday, November 14, 2010


This tray is currently being sold on Ebay and I am reminded to show you some pictures of other pieces by Powell Bishop & Stonier partnerships that are decorated with handpainted landscape scenes. They were primarily Scottish and Lake district scenes, often labelled on the reverse (like this one of Loch Katrine near Stirling), but there were sometimes made up, generic looking landscapes like the vase below which had a more European feel.

the big fish that was never mine

if anyone has seen my twitter page over the last month, they will have read that I have had a major case of annoyed jealousy, mainly directed at my twin brother. I went round to visit him a while back and saw on entering his house, tucked behind his front door and containing umbrellas, a beautiful piece of Studio pottery. I recognised the style immediately and picked it up with a lump in my throat. The mark underneath was for the emminent potter, Hans Coper who famously worked with Dame Lucie Rie. I was gobsmacked. My brother had picked it up in a charity shop I had to put on my most serious face when i advised him that it could be worth thousands. After sending pictures and emails to several auction houses, he's now consigned it to a web-based auction and it is up for sale at the end of November in their contemporary ceramics sale. Take a look for yourself to see the details. The only thing i can add is "the jammy bugger" and "don't forget my cut".

Saturday, October 09, 2010

technophobe joins the human race

i'm on Twitter! you can follow me, if you've got nothing better to do, @bistoboy1

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


A lovely lady called Anne has been in touch to say that she is wanting to sell her Hong Kong patterned teaset and I said that I would publicise it for her. The set consists of : tea pot, cream jug, sugar pot, 8 tea cups, 12 saucers, 11 dessert plates and 2 other serving plates. So quite a sizeable amount for your money. If any one is interested in purchasing this set from Anne, you can get intouch with her via me, and will pass on your details. If i weren't a bit strapped for cash at the moment, I'd be biting her arm off to get them myself, so I envy who ever gets them.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Before & After

I have added several pieces to my collection over the last few weeks, and strangely enough a couple of them presented an opportunity to discuss the manufacturing processes that go into making a 'before and after'. My first example is a traditional looking jug by the Livesley Powell & Co partnership from the 1860s. The jug on the left shows what the jug looks like with two processes complete: a puce botanical transfer print and green enamel highlighting the raised moulding of oak leaves. When I first saw this jug for sale, I naturally assumed that was the final design, but on inspection of the jug on the right, one can see that another two processes have been added on top to further enhance the design: coloured enamels filling in the transfer print and a copper lustre applied over the green colour of the oak leaves. Now, I suppose one could argue that both are indeed two similar, but in themselves, complete renderings of the designs. It may be that LP&Co did release the jug on the left as a finished product. But my hunch is that it left the factory before all the intended processes were complete, perhaps with a light-fingered decorator.
This next example shows the plain white wares of an aesthetic teaset, and then on the right, complete with its transfer printed design. Curiously and perhaps understandly, the seller of the plain set thought they were from the Art Deco period - probably due to their angular form. It was obvious to me, however, because I already had the transfer printed set, that this was made around 30 years prior to the Art Deco movement's beginnings. What is apparent from the white set is that they have been well used, for despite having no chips or cracks, most of the pieces are tea stained. The transfer set is as clean as a whistle and would undoubtedly have sat in someone's cabinet for much of its life, unused, but much admired (as it is today in my collection).

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday 13th - could i really be this lucky?

One of the most unusual pieces to join my collection has been this Aesthetic Movement trough which Mr Postie delivered today. It is decorated with a transfer print of what looks like a cross between brambles and apple blossom and then handcoloured with enamels. The handle and framework pieces are moulded to resemble lengths of bamboo - this was a very typical feature of this period and you will find many examples from factories like Worcester, Brown Moore & Westhead and Minton all using the same ideas. The shape is trough-like and would probably have sat on a dining table with nuts, fruit or sweat meats. I love it, and even better, it came through the post in fabulous condition. Let's hope the curse of Friday 13th doesn't strike and jinx it for me.
This teapot was another fairly recent acquisiton. It's unusual in its lack of colour, and the sepia toned transfer printing is not something I have seen on any other B&S pieces. The image is pre-raphaelite in style with a beautiful lady smelling a lily.
Despite not yet finding a satisfactory way of displaying all the comports / tazzas in my collection, I couldn't resist this Conwy patterned piece of Oriental Ivory, by Powell Bishop & Stonier. The shape is nothing new to me as i have several pieces with eagle talon and chain relief form. I do find the pattern extremely attractive though and very typically Victorian of the 1880s period. In a way i guess it's a bit kitsch and schmultzy (if that's a word?), but i like the twee-ness of the sugary colours and sacharine landscape image. I just need to bake some cup cakes to put on it now.

Deco divine

One of my best buys of recent weeks was this great Art Deco set (there are more plates, cups, saucers) with the Bisto backstamp from the early 1930s. The design is handpainted with fun squiggly lines and blobby leaves. It's not my usual taste, but for only two pounds at a car boot sale i couldn't resist.

Clifton Suspension Bridge

This is a great example of tourist wares produced by Bishop & Stonier (the most famous is their London series). Transfer printed on their green earthenware body, is an image of the Clifton Suspension Bridge at Bristol. Designed by Isambard Brunel, the bridge was complete in 1864, five years after Brunel himself had died. This piece dates from around 15-20years after the bridge's completion and celebrates on of the most beautiful (IMO) bridge structures in the UK. I'm a big fan of the city of Bristol and love the view of the bridge over the gorge.

great sadness

There have thankfully only been a couple of occasions where my Bisto buying purchases haven't quite gone to plan. To date, my ebay and auction purchases have usually gone without a hitch, but in recent months I have had the misfortune of receiving several items in many bits and pieces. On such tragedy was the above pink bowl, decorated witha shagreen (shark skin) type pattern. Whilst the seller had done a reasonable job of wrapping bubble wrap and paper etc, the box just didn't stand up to the rigors of the Royal Mail postal system. One has to wonder whether FRAGILE tape on parcels isn't just red rags to a bull as it seems to have little effect on whether parcels are treated with care whilst travelling to their destination. I made an attempt to glue the pieces (those i could find) back together, but my restoration skills are extremely lacking. I made an excellent first join which was almost seamless, but as i worked my way around the bowl,the gaps got bigger and bigger and became impossible to get it properly lined up - resulting in one final piece of the puzzle that just wouldn't lie flush with the rest. Sadly, i think i shall have to give up on this one and look for another. Thankfully, the seller had already refunded my money before my botched cosmetic surgery job.

the way to cheer me up

Gosh! has it really be over three months since i last put anything on my blog? Shame on me.
Well, to put that right, i have been avidly adding to my collection over the last few months and here is just a sample of things i have been buying. The greatest of BIG BIG thanks goes to the lovely people at Victoriana, Southsea, for getting the first items for me - a putto pillared comport and fluted dish in the Lawrence pattern by P.B&S I had passed by the shop a few weeks ago during my lunch break and saw these great items in the window. It's fairly unusual for them to have china in stock as they mainly deal in glorious antique and repro funiture. I felt sure that i could go back the next week and it would still be there for me (after i'd managed to convince my hubby that i really NEEDED them and that he should stump up the cash for me). However, a crippling viral thingamee saw me off work for almost a whole week and when i got a chance to go back to the shop, i found that it had already been reserved for another customer. In desperation, I almost pleaded with the owner to sell it to me instead. She told me that she was the one who had recommended the pieces to her other customer as he tended to buy what ever she suggested (the perfect kind of customer!) but that she would speak to him again and explain my situation - manic Bishop & Stonier collector, very very poorly, needed cheering up, would he possibly resist buying on this occasion so that he could make my day? Well, her charm worked a trick and he graciously gave up the rights to the comport and dish. I was delighted. Finally, i have a cherub / putto comport that is complete.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

my latest acquisition

bought from an auction house in Manchester and expertly shipped to me by Mailboxes etc, a truly delightful teaset for 4. This P&B pattern is quite restrained in its colour scheme but because of that is eminently classic and useable even today. The only sadness i had was that the tray does not fit in my new Ikea cabinets. Doh!


Heroes, no not the sci-fi tv series (much as i adore it), but Heroes of the historic kind. These three graduated jugs, made of a jasperware type of earthenware, were produced by the Livesley Powell & Co company and commemorate some of the heroes/luminaries of the day. Sadly, that was the only description I could get from the auction listing! Who the heroes are is anyone's guess but i wouldn't be surprised to see Nelson on one of them, even 60 years after his heroics at Trafalgar.

to it's full potential

A while ago now, the 1990s phenomenon that is IKEA, opened a store in Southampton, just down the road from us here in Portmouth, Hampshire. I've tended to go off their products after having loved them with a passion back in the late 90s and now tend to buy vintage/antique furniture and decor. But i had found that my 1950s Herbert Gibbs display cabinet just wasn't up to the job of showing off my Bisto collection to it's best. I felt it needed to be shown off with just light and glass around it, so i persuaded my hubby to take me to Ikea to purchase some of their Detolf units - a bargain price of under £40 each. I think they look great and i'll be going back to buy more some time soon.

a long silence..........

you may have wondered why there has been SUCH a long silence on this blog. The dustballs have really been rolling haven't they. Well, i have been rather busy with all sorts of ceramic interests, not least, setting up my own stall in an antiques centre. I am dealing in all sorts of ceramics, glass, treen etc, but mainly focussing on vintage (1950s/60s/70s) types of collectibles and studio pottery. However, i put on my stall anything that generally takes my fancy. So far, so good and people seem to like my taste. Never fear though, i shan't be selling off ANY of my Bishop & Stonier collection!!!!

Livesley Powell mystery object

A gentleman named Terry has contacted me regarding this mystery object. It was made by the Livesley Powell partnership in the pattern, Delhi. It is a curious object and between us we can't decide what it was for. Terry thought it was a teapot stand and I'm more inclined to think it's some kind of strainer (strawberries or asparagus perhaps?). Anyhow, whatever it is, Terry has asked that I publicise the fact that he would like to sell it - and if you can tell us what it is, we'd both be grateful!
to make an offer on this thingy-me-whatsit, you can contact the owner direct at

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.