Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Beautiful Jugs, and not a silicone implant in sight!

You will know how on occasion I like to show you some of the different pattern designs that Powell Bishop & Stonier used on the same mould shapes; how in using different patterns and surface treatments they could re-invent a shape and extent it's longevity, especially useful if there was a large stock of blank pieces in storage. Well, here are some examples of jugs and their accompanying wash sets dating from around the mid 1880s.

 One of mine
 tragically undersold on Ebay and I MISSED IT!  DOH!!
Sold at auction in 2006 for £450

found for sale in Hungerford

Making Connections

Here are two jugs that will look familiar to regular visitors to this blog.  They belong to a Dutch collector called Bart who has graciously agreed that I can share pics with you.  The image, designed by Louis Rhead, is a contentious one as neither I, nor Bart, are sure if it indicates that Rhead worked as a designer for Bishop & Stonier, whether the image was licensed for use by them, or even whether the image was used by the retailer (in this case, the jug is marked as being retailed by Goodyer) who perhaps applied them to B&S blanks.  The tall, thin jug is a regular shape used by Bishop & Stonier and can be found with other coloured examples of this Pre-Raphaelite maiden, dragons, holly hock flowers, rainbow ware stripes and no doubt,   several other patterns that I have yet to come across.  The shape of the smaller jug seems familiar, but I don't have any in my collection, nor in my store of photos from my internet browsing.  I can't be sure then if it was a design that was sold by Bishop & Stonier, or whether it was commissioned specially for Goodyers.  But at the end of the day, it's academic, and what is most interesting to me is that this one designed was re-used in various colourways and on different body shapes.  It is possible that it appears on plates, vases and bowls too.  IF  you have one, PLEASE get in touch!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

A proper brew

 There is nothing in life that a good brew can't put right!  And what better way to enjoy my Earl Grey (yes, i'm a heathen, i take it with milk), than in an Abbey patterned mug by Bishop & Stonier.  There are many precious antiques out there, but i think they're so much more satisfying to collect when you can actually use them as well.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Time for Teddy bears

It may be a chilly late November outside, but Bonhams auction house is selling three picnic sets all kitted out with Bisto china. take a look and plan ahead to next Summer.
all one needs now is an Alfa Romeo, a long winding road, a luxurious cashmere blanket and a bottle of fizz.

Late Entry!

Oh how i wish i'd seen this a bit earlier!!!! This stunning tea set by Powell Bishop & Stonier is being sold at Gildings auction house in Market Harbourer (they have been on Bargain Hunt many times so may be familiar to you). I have 'borrowed' their pic with no malice intent, but to show you this wonderful item and direct you to their catalogue. The estimate seems like a come and buy me, but it's hard to tell about condition without having seen it.


In this festive season, I got to thinking about ribbons and bows (as you do), and thought i'd share these pics of jugs with moulded ribbon decoration. Very kitsch and smultzy perhaps, but of their period. I've also seen a version with a pink ribbon.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

it's all a load of Bull*

I've already blogged images of the Turkey plates and fish plates produced by Bishop & Stonier, but I don't think i've ever seen this wonderful design of a bull. So, if you're not all that keen on turkey for Christmas, how about serving up your roast beef on this corker! You'll have to be quick as the ebay auction ends soon and is already over £70. I think this is a rare and wonderful thing.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Unusual subject and Unusual mark

This piece came to my attention some time ago and i've been meaning to share it with you. It's highly unusual for two reasons; the first is the mark of Powell & Bishop in this oval format. I have never seen this mark before and it's not listed in any of the pottery factory mark books I own or even Goddens; the second reason is the plate's subject matter: the matyrdom of Thomas Thomkins, a Protestant, at the hands of Catholic Bishop Bonner. What a peculiar thing and I suspect, really quite rare.

sweet as nectar

not one of mine, but this Powell & Bishop dish and cover is simply divine. The motifs of bees would suggest that it's for honey, but how? I suppose you could be raw honey comb inside, but anything liquid would not be contained under a dome like this. I would therefore suggest that this would have been part of a table setting which continued the motifs of bees on other pieces, so in this example, they are just decorative and not indicative of its function. So, perhaps it's for butter, muffins, or cheese? It's hard to tell as i don't have its dimensions and to be perfectly honest, i can't remember where i got the picture from (probably an auction catalogue from somewhere) . If you've got a suggestion... answers on a postcard please.

Wilton wash set - SNAP IT UP AMERICA!

AMERICA, I am so jealous! This wonderful jug and bowl wash set, in a pattern called Wilton, has come up for sale on Ebay, but sadly it is not available to UK bidders. I can only suggest that if you are a Bisto collector, snap it up because apart from a couple of minor condition issues, it's a stunning piece. I have in my collection a couple of jugs of this shape, and a wash basin in the same rectangular trough shape, but not a set and nothing in this pattern. I'm not normally a fan of the 'cloud' type of gilding but i really love this design. In spite of not being able to bid, I shall be following this auction with interest to see how much it sells for. If the winning bidder happens to follow this blog, please do send me a pic of this piece when you receive it as I'd love to see how you end up displaying it, or even using it????? I'm GREEEEEEEEEENNNNN

Thursday, August 11, 2011

more Aztec ware

A lady called Gail has contacted me with pics of her Bisto Aztec ware vase and she has kindly said that i can post her pics on the blog to show you. If any other collectors out there want me to post this Powell Bishop & Stonier related pics, do get in touch.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Coming soon at Christies in London, a pair of fabulous Bishop & Stonier vases fitted out as a lamps. The low end of the estimate is £500, so unfortunately i'm out of the running. But what a wonderful buy for who ever bags them!

like buses

Just like buses it seems, when you never thought you'd see one, low and behold two come along one after the other. Only recently I blogged my joy at having finally found a dome shaped cheese dish and cover - even though i had to make do with a "mixed marriage" of an unrelated top and bottom. Then, it just so happened that i was viewing an upcoming sale at my local auctioneers, Nesbits of Southsea, when i spied a complete set. My heart missed a beat and jumped into my throat. Ok, ok, so a bit melodramatic. I was delighted at my good luck find and decided that the I MUST be the owner of the Precious. I discussed with my partner how much I should be willing to pay to secure the winning bid, but then found out to my consternation that the cheese dome was only one part of a 'lot'. It came with a very large Portugese jardiniere which I didn't have high hopes for and which really doesn't fit with my other collecting interests. However, on further investigation, it turns out that the jardiniere is also rather special - being made by the Vista Alegre factory, a quality firm . Whilst i shan't be keeping it, i'll enjoy it while it's here.
p.s It's HUGE! and VERY HEAVY!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Palawan and other Far East influences

Palawan, an island of the Philippines was the pattern name chosen for pics 3&4. One gets the feeling that although there are clear eastern influences in the choice of birds, flora, fauna, fans etc, the pattern name is often arbitrary. 'Tokio', 'Mandalay', 'Peking', 'Miako', 'Paragon' (pic 2) 'Mikado' (pic 1), are just a few of the pattern names used by Powell Bishop & Stonier and later partnerships for their oriental inspired wares. As the West was gripped by Aesthetic Movement fever in the 1870/80s, more and more home grown versions of Eastern designs flooded the market. The wealthy could afford the "real" thing, ie Japanese Arita porcelain and laquered furniture etc. The less well-to-do had to make-do with Staffordshire pottery versions.
If you are at all interested in the wonderful designs of the Aesthetic period you simply must try to get to London to the V&A where they have an exhibition called the Cult of Beauty. That's were i'll be heading very soon.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


I was delighted with this pair of vases that I purchased a few months ago - deco period Bisto chintz. The undoubted masters of Chintz ware of this period was Royal Winton, but Bisto were making a good attempt at it too and I think they now sit very well with the current trend for all things vintage and floral.


Back in 2009, I posted some picture of Cheese covers in the form of wedges and I said that I had yet to find a dome shaped one from the Powell Bishop & Stonier factories. Well, the wait is over! here are my two latest finds, joined together for the time being in a mixed marriage. The dome is Oriental Ivory, decorated with high Victorian motifs of Acanthus leaves, laurels and a Greek Key band. The base plate is a white earthenware body, decorated with a cross-reeded pattern and a gothic text motto: "MAY GOOD DIGESTION WAIT ON APPETITE", a quote from Shakespeare's Macbeth.

OMG! you must be having a laugh

saw this today and nearly fell off my chair laughing! You wouldn't pay that kind of money for a Moorcroft cup and saucer or hand painted Minton come to that. It's nice to know that Bisto is on the Up, but i think it's got a way to go yet before I'd consider paying that kind of price for a transferprinted cup&saucer.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Princess Beatrice Millinery

the horror and wonder!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Dog breath

There's nothing worse than waking up in the morning next to the One that your love, going in for a kiss and then having to screw your nose up at their morning Dog Breath! If that is the case in your household, what better present than one of these fab Bishop & Stonier toothbrush holder/soap dish combinations.

if only i were an American...

i don't often bother to look at auctions being held outside of the UK because a) the cost of postage of goods usually outways the intrinsic value of the item purchase b) the risks of sending ceramics in the post has been brought home to me on too many occasions. But when i saw this ebay listing for a sale in the USA, i thought i'd give it some deserved publicity. This set is stunning and i envy the winning bidder. This is definitely a lot for a serious Bisto collector and I would be seriously disappointed for the seller if it goes for anything under $200 (my estimate would be $250-350). Also in the US, this time at Sothebys a part dinner service in the Pembroke pattern. You get a lot of pieces for your money in this auction, but even so, I'm keen to see if this auction reaches its estimate of USD 1000 - 1500 If it does, it would be a good result in a depressed market and a positive sign that Victorian Staffordshire ceramics are back on the 'Up'. I've read in several places of late, that Victoriana is coming back with a BANG as Antiques buyers are looking for real quality of make and design and are no longer put off by pattern and ornamentation. And if there's one thing the Victorian's did well, it's ornamentation.

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.