Sunday, July 29, 2012

man's best friend

It's often been said that dogs are man's best friend (personally i'm more of a cat fan) and here is one example of how people cherish their canine companions.  I can't say for certain if this piece was a commission and therefore has a portrait of an actual dog in the center, or whether it's a generic doggy themed plate.  Either way, the subject matter is charming and rather unusual for Bishop & Stonier - circa 1890s/turn of the 20thC.  I think the dog here is a kind of Collie, but am happy to stand corrected.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Children's Hour

BBC Radio was once the entertainment of choice for the British public back-in-the-day.  As it is today, long before the Tweenies and In the Night Garden, part of the BBC's output was directed at the nation's children in an hour long programme entitled, creatively, "Children's Hour".  Bishop & Stonier produced nursery ware to tap into the affection for the programme and these pieces are now very collectible for Bisto and nursery ware fans.  I have not found any other factories making baby plates which commemorate this radio programme so  perhaps Bisto were specially commissioned by the BBC to produce the range? Who knows.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Queen's Jubilee

On this weekend commemorating Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee, I thought i'd bring out a picture of a fantabuloso jug which was made for Golden jubilee of Queen Victoria ( heavily restored handle as you can see).  Long may she reign!

trade press

I'm interested to see any documentation of the Livesley / Powell / Bishop & Stonier factories, whether that be invoices from retailers, design registers, newspaper articles or advertising such as the one above.  If you have any, i'd love to see it and share your pics with visitors to this blog.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Arts & Crafts

Woolley & Wallis Arts & Crafts sales - some totes amaze things

ebay activity of late

There have been several really nice PB&S related items on ebay recently which sold at good, or very good prices so I thought I'd share them with you.  Apologies if you find this posting months after it was written as the link won't work.  The early bird etc....

1. one
2. two
3. three
5. five

all were really lovely pieces that i would've wanted in my own collection - so, to the winning bidder. you lucky thing!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Emma-Rose Dade: About Emma

Emma-Rose Dade: About Emma: Emma-Rose Dade is a model maker, animator and photographer. Her background in fine art has given her a strong interest in working with mat...

just came across this artist's blog and like her work

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Fake Bisto ALERT!!!

Well, well, well... I never thought i'd see the day, but it had to happen.  Here, for sale, is a bird shaped jug which claims to be by the Bisto factory.  Apart from having a Caduceus type mark, everything else is wrong.  Which is a shame, because I actually rather like it and am even tempted to buy it as an oddity for my collection.  My worry is that 1) someone will buy it and think it is by Bisto and 2) that this is the tip of a titanic sized iceberg of more "fakes" ready to come on to the market.  This piece has a caduceus mark with the letters "E F" so can't really be called a fake, but there may still be the intention to deceive.  Certainly, the seller of this piece has been led into thinking it was by Bisto.  I'll have to do some homework to try and find out more about who did actually make this rather charming bird (is it a Puffin??)

Monday, April 09, 2012

Birds of a Feather

 Here are some truly stunning examples of Arts & Crafts period handpainted porcelain / china, from circa the 1880s.  These recently came up for sale (31st March) in the US at Elite Decorative Arts auctions with a pre-sale estimate of $200-300 each.  They're painted on Bishop & Stonier chargers and  I have two chargers of this type in my own collection, but their subject matter is very different - traditional flower designs.  If anyone has access to Liveauctioneers and can tell me if these chargers sold, i'd be very grateful as the auction house's own website doesn't give a hammer price for them.    I'm parting with my own chargers this summer when they'll be under the hammer at Woolley & Wallis in Salisbury.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Baby blues

I have an absolute love of Bisto baby plates and this is a stunning example of Blue  & White design - sailing galleons.  Absolutely charming.

Presentation cups

Powell Bishop & Stonier sold commemorative presentation items, mainly cups and mugs which could be personalized with gild lettering to mark a special occasion or person.  One such example is above and there is currently another for sale on a certain internet auction site.  In one sense, it's sad that they no longer hold sentimental attachment for people and many owners may not have the first clue who the person commemorated was, but they are great for collectors because they are often clearly dated and give a window directly on to a time and place in history.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Dragons that flew too high

 I recently had these two dragon patterned Bisto items on my watchlist.  I had a go at bidding on the ginger jar, but was outbid.  I stupidly forgot to place a bid on the chamber pot, and looking at the final price, probably would have won it if i had bid.  Both pieces are really lovely examples of Bisto's dragon ware designs and shout out 1920s.  I just wish i'd been a bit braver with my bidding and stretched a bit higher - i may have been burnt by the sun, or i might just have caught the dragon's tail.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Latest Additions to my Powell / Bishop & Stonier family

 Here are some pics of the most recent additions to my collection.  Above: two examples of the Fujiyama pattern, given different colour treatments (Bishop & Stonier, circa 1920s).  The jug has the added interest that unlike every other example i've come across, it doesn't bear the Bisto Korea Vases mark, just a caduceus.  Below: An Aesthetic P.B&S vase (1880s), decorated in moulded relief with birds, insects and flowers on a tiled texture background.  Not everyone's cup of tea i'm sure, but i'm a sucker for this style of design.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Bishop of Leeds

Forgive the awful pictures, i've 'borrowed' them from an ebay listing to show you something I have never seen before, at least I don't think so.  The reason I say this is that if I saw one in an antiques shop I would probably walk straight by it for two reasons: I really don't like it, it's treacly coloured and ugly; secondly, I would never in   a month of Sundays have thought this was by the Bishop factory.  I know they produced lots of commemorative wares, but this it appears, have something to do the city of Leeds????  The hanging sheep appears in the city's coat of arms, but what this jug is commemorating I don't really know.  Any ideas readers?

John Mcinnis Auctioneers,

John Mcinnis  (Amesbury, USA) have for sale in their March sale, a ten piece dessert service by Powell & Bishop, decorated with beautiful floral centres and pink borders, reminiscent of Sevres.  Take a look.  Even better, take a punt!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Woolley & Wallis

Back in the summer last year, at Woolley & Wallis' (Salisbury) Glass, English & European Ceramics sale, they had for sale, an Aesthetic charger by Powell & Bishop. If you have one in your own collection, do send me a pic.  Well, why the mention?  This is just a little plug really to say that i have consigned three arts & crafts period chargers  to their sale rooms for June this year.  Two of them are chargers which have handpainted designs on P&B chargers (one on a green pottery body, the other on a white).  The third charger is not by P&B, but was retailed by William Mortlock.  I don't know the maker of the charger but it is signed by the artist.  Keep and eye on their forthcoming catalogues to take a look.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Valued on the Strength of Design

The above pair of Aesthetic vases are currently being sold by an online dealership in the USA.  They are a really lovely example of the wares of Powell & Bishop.  The dealer certainly thinks so because they have a hefty price tag of $2200 !  My heart would skip a beat if i thought they really might sell for that kind of money because as you will see in the picture below, I have a pair in a the same shape by this factory, but not the same pattern.  The pattern on the ones above are, i believe, the Mikado pattern, executed in a very lovely gilt and pink coloration on a pale green base with pink legs and bottom - exquisite to my Aesthetic loving mind.. My own pair is decorated with floral sprays in a much more European style with fashionable turquoise and a blush ivory effect.  What is thrilling about finding a pair for sale with such an enthusiastic price tag is that the dealer rates the design so highly that they think it deserves that kind of price, even though they have no idea who made them - or at least, without feeling the need to mention the maker.  Now, I would agree that in this instance, the Mikado pattern is far superior to mine and deserves to sell for a higher price.   But there's hope.
Whilst researching for this blog post, i came across a single vase that sold last year in Australia.  Unfortunately, i don't know if it sold for a good price.  Of course, you always get more for a pair!

Fancy tinny Down Under

If you happen to be in the land Down Under, you could pick up a delight in this Saturday's auction at Elder Fine Art in Adelaide: a pair of Bishop & Stonier wine flagons, or early tinnies.  They are listed as by the Staffordshire factory but I have never seen a pair like them, so perhaps a real rarity.  The oriental style bamboo and flower type design is very of it's period, and much replicated by many Staffordshire makers from the high quality to the very basic.  A quick Google search turned up examples by Brownhill and also Pinder Bourne , used on teapots; i have seen similar designs on plates, vases and bowls.  Hardly a rare pattern, I admit.  But for Bishop & Stonier this is a very unusual shape and they are listed also as Stoneware; again, unusual for this factory.  The auction catalogue description is very sparse and there is no picture of the base markings.  One can't be sure if the auctioneers have done their homework properly so it may turn out that the marking refers to another factory.   So, if you're in the Adelaide area, go and take a look at them in person - you may get a rare bargain.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Autumn, in February?

For the purpose of illustrating this ebay auction, I have 'borrowed' the sellers photo of this wonderful Powell & Bishop jug, decorated with a design called "Autumn".  The seller is in the USA so I shan't be making a bid myself, but good luck to anyone who does.  It's a lovely jug, and I imagine it would perhaps have been part of a set, perhaps of 4 different seasons.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Some while ago, I posted pics of a Hong Kong pattern teaset by Bishop & Stonier which a lady named Anne was selling.  She apparently got an enquiry as a result of the blog posting - great result.  Here are some more pieces she's selling - you'll need to contact her for more details of condition and makers etc.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Jill Fenichell

Jill Fenichell  Inc , a porcelain dealer in New York, sells some truly delicious things.  check out the link to see more, including this lush Powell Bishop & Stonier service.

Monday, February 06, 2012


It seems P&B weren't the only ones who were recycling their wares by using different transfer designs on the same mould shapes.  It appears that P.B&Co  (yes, "Co") were at it too.  Pinder Bourne and Company used the same tactic as their contemporaries at Powell & Bishop.  The common mistake of mis-attributing the two factories just got even more complicated.

Friday, February 03, 2012


I hope this ebay seller will forgive me using their photo, but i hope also they will appreciate me directing you readers to their auction.  This seller in America is selling off a rather large set of Powell Bishop & Stonier (P.B&S) wares in a pattern called Chelsea.  It should do well in the American market as brown transfer printed wares seem to be very collectible on that side of the Atlantic.  Good luck to seller and bidders alike!  there are some lovely pieces on this collection.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Bisto vs Losol - even i sometimes get caught out.

 These similar wash sets caught my eye whilst browsing The-saleroom website.  One is by Bisto, the other is Losol ware (by Keeling & Co - a contemporary factory of Bishop & Stonier).  Both fetched £75 at auction.  I'll let you guess which is which... perhaps a search through previous blog posts on this site will help identify the Bisto pattern.
What this illustrates most to me as how easy it can be to misattribute pieces to one factory or another.  That's why knowing marks and patterns can help so much.  Luckily for Bisto collectors, they were usually very good at marking their wares.  It also shows us how styles and fashions were completely pervasive among the best brands of their day.

my home town    Coming up for auction soon is this little vase depicting a football player from my home town team, Portsmouth.  Why am I showing you this? Is it by Bishop & Stonier or one of the other associated partnerships?  No, well, not really.  It's actually by the Grays pottery.  This factory has two connections with Bishop & Stonier: the first is that they often bought B&S blanks which were then decorated with their own designs.  You can, on occasion, find Grays pieces which have their own factory mark applied over a Bisto mark.  The second connection between the two factories is that George Buttle, a designer for Grays, also worked at the Bishop & Stonier company as Art Director.  This piece of Grays pottery is known to be designed by Buttle in 1911.

Lastly, the subject of this vase gives me a very loose excuse to link to a youtube clip of the wonderful Adele singing Hometown Glory

About Me

My photo
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.