If you combine Disney, ENESCO and talented artist Miss Mindy you get a wonderful and unique re-imagining of Disney with The World of Miss Mindy. The collection has definitely struck a chord here at WCN and everybody loves Miss Mindy’s take on Belle, Cogsworth and Lumiere. The launch collection of The World of Miss Mindy comprises of twelve figurines in differing sizes, the larger figurines have diorama scenes within the characters dresses that light up to add to their whimsical charm. Three classic Disney films are represented in the offering, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Beauty and the Beast along with the Cheshire Cat, Mickey & Minnie and Tinker Bell. Miss Mindy works in many mediums and her ‘Cartoon Folk Art’ ranges from fluid ink drawings and paintings, to her fabulously handcrafted sculptures in our launch collection. She plays with the characters’ lines — exaggerating their head shapes and enlarging the expressive eyes, whilst making other features more petite. Miss Mindy has been a prolific professional artist for many years. She paints commissions for her private collectors, and showcase her paintings and sculpture, whilst Character designing for animation studios like Disney, WildBrain, and Warner Brothers. She’s directed her own cartoon with Nickelodeon Animation, and has some treats in store for the future! Aside from Animation, Miss Mindy also creates illustration and ideas for Mattel, Hard Rock café, Zippo, and many others. She has also written and illustrated two books with Baby Tattoo Books Publishing and recently designed her own line of vinyl toys with Disney Vinylmation. For more information visit ENESCO or https://missmindy.com
I first fell in love with USSR porcelain in the late 1960s – 1969, to be precise – when I purchased a small figurine of a badger. I loved it because it was so smooth, so tactile and was so different from the fussy, whimsical ornaments that were around at the time. Slowly, over the years, I added to my collection – birds, lion cubs, rabbits and squirrels. Most of these items bore stamps on their bases, the letters ‘USSR’, plus a mark rather like an ornate letter ‘L’ with three noughts and a backwards ‘3’. This was the mark of the Lomonosov company, which was founded in 1744, in St Petersburg, initially to make fine porcelain for the Russian Royal Family. It supplied other European Royal families too, and underwent several changes of name before settling on its present title. In the eighteenth century, during the reign of Catherine the Great, the institution was known as The Imperial Porcelain Factory. After the Revolution, it became the State Porcelain Works, and later was named Lomonosov after the founder of the Russian Academy of Science. The range of ceramics produced over the past 267 years is tremendous and includes vases, plates, dinner services, snuff boxes and numerous figurines. It wasn’t until the 1990s that I began to research the pieces that I owned, discovering in the process the enormous and exciting range of Russian ceramics. It was then that I found the ‘She-Bear and Cubs’. This vigorous sculpture depicts a seated, rather fierce bear, paws held protectively over a cradle containing twin cubs draped in an orange-red coverlet, and I think it must still be my favourite piece today. Unlike the other various animal pieces that I had, this animal figurine screamed ‘Russia’, from the bear subject through to the colouring. I found this piece at a local antiques centre for around £50, and I learnt that it dated from the 1950s. It now sells for three times as much. It’s a sturdy piece, not so smoothly modelled as the later items, but is full of character. I began to look for other 1950s’ pieces, and soon came across a delightful inkwell featuring two bear cubs eating a bowl of berries. One cub is greedily tipping the berries into his mouth, the other is impatiently waving a spoon as he waits for his turn. Between them is a tree-stump table, with another spoon on top. That spoon forms a handle, enabling the tabletop to be lifted off. Underneath is a small ceramic pot to hold the ink. Many of the 1950s’ USSR pieces are based on Russian folklore, such as the ‘Lion and the Hare’, the ‘Fox and the Beaver’, the ‘Goat with the Little Kids’ and the ‘Crane and the Fox’, and, of course, bears crop up quite a lot, too. Folklore depicts them as clumsy and not very clever; the tales often involving another creature outwitting the bear in the simplest of ways. The Lomonosov ‘Crane and the Fox’ piece is an inkwell; beneath the spoon and dish is hidden a small ceramic container for ink. The tale depicted is that of the fox asking the crane to dine, but providing a shallow plate so that her beak couldn’t take up the food. In return she asked him for a meal and put the food into a tall vessel that he couldn’t get his mouth into. Another story piece, the Lomonosov ‘Lion and the Hare’ is based on a fable in which the hare gets the lion to believe its reflection in a lake is another lion. A series of Lomonosov figurines that I particularly enjoy are the Eskimo or Yakutian children, such as the small boy gazing lovingly at a samoyed dog. The boy has shiny black hair and wears a warm embroidered coat, leggings and mittens. Other Yakut figures include a young girl with a book and a flower, and a girl holding a large sturgeon. Another favourite piece of mine is a Lomonosov figurine of a young Uzbek girl with a large basket. Her face is exquisitely painted, and the original sculpt was by G. S. Stolbova, who was famed in Russia for his sculpting. She wears a bright, striped robe in purple and orange, and is seated cross-legged, with the basket across her lap. Frequently, collectors concentrate on the Lomonosov animals as these are the easiest to obtain, and are still manufactured today. A vast menagerie can be acquired, such as dogs, birds, zebras, rabbits, cats, fish, racoons, squirrels, foxes, badgers, mammoths, chipmunks, giraffes and plenty more besides, all in that smooth, tactile, rounded flowing porcelain with soft, exquisitely-placed, naturalistic colouring. For instance, the tiger cub, five inches tall, is a warm, goldbrown, with the black stripes boldly painted, and excellent detailing of eyes, claws and muzzle spots, while the sleek, shapely wildcat, with flattened ears and narrowed eyes is a masterpiece of design. Painted warm grey, with white, black and ginger markings, he sits upright with his tail curved around his body, tip poised ready to twitch. The standing bear cub is a frequently found piece. Six inches high, he has his paws crossed in front, and his head tilted as though he is slightly apprehensive. This appealing bear is dark brown, with lighter brown highlights, and is finished in a glossy glaze. Sometimes, an older piece in a very similar pose is found. This bear cub has rounder ears, a smaller muzzle, white face and underparts, and though lacking the smooth glossy finish of the later model, has an endearing, innocent expression. Standing bears such as these can still be found for £20 or so. It’s no wonder that so many people collect Russian bears – there are so many different models, both naturalistic and humorous. Although Lomonosov is the largest and, perhaps, best known of the Russian porcelain companies, there are many others. Pieces by Kanakova, Dulevo, Verbilki, Seesert, Kuznetsov, Kiev, Gzhel and Polonye are frequently found, and all these companies […]
The Grimwades Royal Winton Chanticleer series first appeared at the British Industries Fair in February 1936. The range of realistically moulded cockerels and hen, in warm colours, were a popular addition to the breakfast table and was produced for many years. Grimwades described the range as ‘distinctive novelties’ on their advertising leaflets. Chanticleer is French for cockerel and items from the Chanticleer series are sometimes marked on base with Chanticleer while others are marked Rooster. A few examples and smaller pieces such as cruets are unmarked. The range included various teapots, hot water jug, sugar and cream, milk jug, marmalade with cover, sugar sifter, cheese cover and stand, 3 and 4 piece cruet and condiment sets, 3 and 5 bar toast racks, jam, covered butter, mint boat and stand, and dessert plate. Except for the toast rack, the Chanticleer items produced were in the shape of the bird set on a grassy green base. They were also available in different colourways, with the hand painting adding variations to the pieces. The teapot, for example, can be found in streaked and speckled shades of a golden brown, with the tail and lower body feathers highlighted in soft green. Alternatively, a rich, dark blue combination was used with bands of scarlet emphasising the tail feathers. These tail feathers curve down to create the handle of the tea pot, with the spout being formed by the open beak of the bird. Sugar shakers were either golden brown or a pale yellow lightly streaked with red, the wings being a light grey and the breast cream. As mentioned the toast racks differed from the rest of the range by not being designed to be on a grassy mound. The toast racks were main in green and yellow and featured a cockerel decorating either end. Two toast racks were produced: a 3 bar toast rack and 4 bar toast rack. The cruet and condiment sets included: a 3 piece set featuring salt and pepper pots on a base and show the cockerel standing with his head held high, while the hen stares into space; whilst the 4 piece condiment set features salt, pepper and covered mustard pot on a base and has the cockerel in the same proud pose, accompanied by two hens, one as before, the other shown head down, pecking for food. The male bird always sports a large scarlet comb and scarlet wattle, while the hen has only the merest suggestion of a comb. The base resembles a grassy field, the carrying handle depicting a fence. The images below show some of the variations in colour. Grimwades Royal Winton Chanticleer Series Price Guide / Value Guide Prices for pieces with no defects and good colour. We have seen great variations in prices especially in online shops. The prices below Chanticleer Teapot £40-£80 / $60-$120 3 Piece cruet set £40-£80 / $60-$120 4 Piece cruet set £50-£80 / $75-$120
The forms were practical and classical, the lines were clean, and the colours were vibrant.
From their home studio tucked away on the rural coast of northern California, a pair of sisters create works of art that look good enough to eat. Dinah and Patty Hulet have created stunning art glass that you’ll find in museums, galleries, and the finest gift shops in the world. Both went through college and pursued meaningful careers. While working as a librarian for a chemical company, Dinah found inspiration in the creations of the scientific glassblowers and it wasn’t long before both sisters were fully entranced with the captivating medium of glass art. By the mid-1980s, the sisters created Hulet Glass. They sold their works at local art and wine festivals with plenty of success, but they both felt it best to move to a rural portion of northern California to put their sole focus on creating their art and marketing to galleries and high-end gift shops across the country. Looking at their works, it’s amazing to discover that they are both self-taught in the field of glass art. Dinah excels at lampworking torch methods while Patty’s artistic focus involves the kiln with fusing, casting and pate de verre. What started as a hobby for both women became a full-blown career in art glass. Hulet Glass is now known around the world for upstanding quality and impeccable craftsmanship. Dinah’s portrait murrine have been exhibited in places like the Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York. Patty’s pate de verre was represented at SOFA. After years of experience in glass art, they’ve lectured to aspiring glass artists, taught their techniques locally, nationally, and internationally, and Dinah is a past board member of the Glass Art Society. In addition to these accomplishments, the sisters have found the perfect recipe for success in the form of art glass chocolates. Under the name Hulet Glass Confections, Dinah and Patty began creating these delectably-designed art glass treats in 2005. Lavish details make each piece look good enough to eat, perfectly mimicking the look of gourmet chocolates, petit fours, tartlets, cupcakes, chocolate drops, and other delightful treats. The truly astounding embellishments include art glass chocolates topped with nuts that look so real you might attempt to taste them. When they displayed the glass chocolates at the Buyer’s Market of American Crafts in Philadelphia in 2007, buyers responded in a frenzy. Since then, the Hulet sisters have continued to create their art glass chocolates for collectors in the US and around the world. Each piece is crafted by the sisters only. They take great pride in ensuring the precision and quality their glass art brand is known for. A display of gorgeous chocolates adds a touch of class to any room, a symbol of both romance and opulence. As we eat with our eyes, the sight of stunningly-detailed chocolates evokes memories of innocence, love and happy times. Collectors will go out of their way to find a unique piece to add to their Hulet Chocolate collection. Many times when one friend or relative starts collecting, others in their close circle begin to do so as well, creating a partner to assist in tracking down that perfect piece. One look at Hulet Glass Confections and you’ll be amazed these pieces aren’t real gourmet treats. The sisters continue to craft them, coming up with new designs every year to tempt collectors to add to their growing collections. The sisters also devise decorative boxes for their art glass treats, making them the perfect vessel to commemorate special occasions like weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and more. The creations they make are the ideal special gift for anyone that wants to give something unique. The Hulet sisters’ Chocolate Drop is a beautiful piece that can be used as a necklace or ornament and given for holidays like Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, or as a sweet treat for teachers at the end of the year. For more details on these great creations visit Hulet Glass Chocolates
The Wind in the Willows is a classic of children’s literature by Kenneth Grahame, first published in 1908.
We recently featured the Clarice Cliff Teddy Bear Bookends and have been asked about the Clarice Cliff Cottage Bookends. These were created by Clarice Cliff when she was at the A. J. Wilkinson Ltd (one of the Shorter owned factories in Stoke-on-Trent). The bookends are brightly coloured, often with a bright red roof, and show the back and front of a house. They measure about 14cm high. The example Cottage pictured shows the cottage having a bright red roof and blue coloured windows at the front and yellow at the back. The simple use of colours makes a very effective piece. The side of the book present the cottage against a blue sky with clouds to top right and left. The picture below shows the two side views. Below is another example of the Clarice Cliff Cottage Bookends showing the variety of ways the piece can be painted. Clarice Cliff related A look at Clarice Cliff Clarice Cliff Teddy Bear Bookends Clarice Cliff Bizarre Grotesque Masks by Ron Birks
Norah Wellings Dolls – Norah Wellings was a British toymaker and designer, well known for her cloth dolls. We take a brief look at her career and at her unique dolls along with some doll values. Norah was born in Shropshire in 1893 and began her career as a milliner’s assistant before moving to Chad Valley Co Ltd in 1919, where she worked as their main doll designer. It was at Chad Valley that Norah developed her unique dolls styles. She stayed at Chad Valley until 1926 when she left and with her brother Leonard opened their own toy factory, the Victoria Toy Works. The Victoria Toy Works initially comprised just 8 staff including Norah and Leonard. In 1927 the company had two positive pieces of exposure including gifting Queen Mary (the grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II) a Cora doll when she visited Shropshire, and after displaying her designs at the British Industries Fair in London, Norah and her company was mentioned in the Games and Toys magazine: ‘Miss Wellings has not long been manufacturing on her own account, but evidently there is a very big future for her in the trade, for her caricatures, dolls and animals are produced as saleable lines which every high-class store throughout the country will feature’. The company grew rapidly creating a quality line of soft toys which were sold in many high end stores such as Harrods, for which she designed toys for their Christmas displays. Norah remained lead designer and managed all the designs. The company is said to have employed around 250 people at one time exporting dolls to a number of countries including the United States, Canada, Australia and South Africa. The Typical Norah Welling Doll Norah’s dolls were typically made of cloth: felt, plush, velvet and in some instances cotton were used. The dolls were constructed entirely of soft materials including the heads which were moulded buckram over a layer of plastic wood which was then overlaid by a steam pressed layer of felt, stockinet or velveteen. The faces were hand- painted and sealed with a waterproof coating to make them washable. All faces were hand painted in sections, allowing one part to dry before the adjoining portion was painted. Over the years the company produced baby dolls, fashion dolls, dolls dressed in native costumes, storybook characters as well as a range of animals including monkeys and rabbits. All dolls were fully marked with sewn-on labels on the wrist or the foot with the words: ‘Made in England by Norah Wellings’. In 1929 the company once again exhibited at the British Industries Fair and were listed as: Manufacturer of Soft Fabric Toys of Distinction, including “Cora”, “Babimine” and “Cuddly” Dolls, “So-Soft” Nursery Animals, Plush and Velveteen Novelties, Mascots, etc. Discriminating buyers are cordially invited to inspect this exhibit. (Stand No. D.28). The company was also very successful in marketing to the tourist industry and principally to the cruise ship industry. Norah’s range of sailor dolls were sold on many ships. The Norah Wellings novelty line of dolls included the sailor dolls, which were initially released in 1929. They quickly rose to the top of the Wellings catalogue as the most well-liked novelty dolls. The original “Sailor,” model 140, was known as “Jollyboy.” He had glass eyes, a painted smile with teeth visible, and an intensely coloured curly wig. His torso was blue velvet with bare feet, and his head was made of velvet. Only his head was jointed, and he was wearing a white cotton hat. The name of the navy ship or ocean liner was always on the hatband of the “Jollyboys,” which came in a wide range of sizes and almost always had bare feet. The Jollyboy sailor dolls are the most common found and examples can be purchased relatively cheaply. The company managed to continue during World War Two with Wellings making dolls representing characters from the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, including Harry the Hawk, which was sold to raise money for the Royal Air Force Comforts Fund. In 1959 the Victoria Toy Works closed its doors after the death of Nora’s beloved brother Leonard. Nora did not want to sell her designs and burned all her tools, designs and unfinished dolls in a huge bonfire. The finished dolls and toys were donated to various institutions and societies. We will feature Norah’s rabbit and monkey designs in future features. Related Grace’s Guide To British Industrial History Norak Wellings Norah Wellings and her novelty dolls Norah Wellings Rabbits information and price guide .
The first Moomin book was published over 70 years in 1945 and the stories and character have since inspired puppet animations, TV shows, animated series, collectables, collectors items, a museum, Moomin shops, Moomin cafes and even a Moominworld theme park. For collectors of Moomin collectables and merchandise there is especial interest in the Moomin books, Moomin art, vintage Moomon items and the Moomin mug. The Moomin characters and Moominworld were the work Finnish-Swedish writer and artist Tove Jansson. Her stories about the adventures of Moomin family (Moomintroll, Moominpappa, Moominmamma and friends) of white and roundish trolls with large snouts have delighted generations and interest continues today. Tove Jansson was born in Helsinki in 1914 into an artistic family. She studied art from 1930 to 1938 in Stockholm, Helsinki and then Paris and her first Moomin-like character appears in the magazine Garm in 1943. Her first Moomin book was published in 1945 by Söderström & Co – The Moomins and the Great Flood. The first book was a minor success but her next two books Comet in Moominland and Finn Family Moomintroll, published in 1946 and 1948 respectively, saw high sales and assured her fame. Most of the Moomin books were translated into English in the 1950s to the 1970s. The first book Moomins and the Great Flood was only translated into English in 2005 to mark its 60th Anniversary. The character Moomintroll was born out of chance when Tove, on one childhood summer day, discussed literary philosophy with her brother Per Olov Jansson by the outhouse next to their summer cottage in the archipelago. Tove drew the ugliest creature she could imagine on the outhouse wall. That drawing is the first glimpse of the Moomins, although Tove called it a Snork. Source moomin.com The modern interest in Moomins coincided with the release in 1990 by Telecable of a 104 half-hour Moomin animations names Tales From Moominvalley. The series was produced in Japan by Dennis Livson and Lars Jansson and Tales From Moominvalley was eventually sold to over 60 countries. The series was followed by full-length movie Comet in Moominland. The success in Scandinavia and principally in Japan created what has been term The Moomin Boom (muumibuumi in Finnish). The Moomin Books Tove Jansen write 9 books and 5 picture books. The original publication date is given below along with English title. 1945 The Moomins and the Great Flood (Originally: Småtrollen och den stora översvämningen) 1946 Comet in Moominland (Swedish title Kometjakten / Mumintrollet på kometjakt / Kometen kommer) 1948 Finn Family Moomintroll (Original Swedish title Trollkarlens hatt, ‘The Magician’s Hat’), 1950 The Exploits of Moominpappa (Originally: Muminpappans bravader/Muminpappans memoarer) 1952 The Book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My – The first Moomin picture book (Originally: Hur gick det sen?) Some Moomin books – First Edition English book covers 1954 Moominsummer Madness (Swedish title Farlig midsommar, ‘Dangerous Midsummer’) 1957 Moominland Midwinter (Swedish title Trollvinter, Finnish title Taikatalvi) 1960 Who Will Comfort Toffle? – The second Moomin picture book (Originally: Vem ska trösta knyttet?) 1962 Tales from Moominvalley (Originally: Det osynliga barnet) 1965 Moominpappa at Sea (Originally: Pappan och havet) 1970 Moominvalley in November 1977 The Dangerous Journey (Originally: Den farliga resan) 1980 Skurken i Muminhuset (English: Villain in the Moominhouse) 1993 Visor från Mumindalen (English: Songs from Moominvalley) As well as books the Moomins also appeared in comic strip form in a number of papers all over the world originally in 1947 in the children’s section of the Ny Tid newspaper, and internationally to English readers in 1954 in the London’s The Evening News. The Moomins cartoon strip reaches up to 20 million readers daily in over 40 countries. Tove Jansson drew and wrote all the strips until 1959. From 1960, Tove’s brother Lars Jansson drew the strip until 1975 when the last strip was released. The Moomin Mug – Collecting moominmugs Other than books one of main areas of interest is collecting Moomin Mugs (collecting moominmugs). Arabia have been responsible for the Moomin mug since 1990. Arabia are a Finnish ceramics company, founded in 1873 by Rörstrand, who specialize in kitchenware and tableware. The first Moomin mug was released in 1990 and began a series entitled Teema. The Mug Green is also known by the name The Green Comic Strip. The original artwork featured on the mug is from Tove Jansson’s comic strip #8 Moomin Builds a New Life (1956). Tove Slotte was the graphic designer responsible for Arabia’s Moomin products. He used the images from the strip more or less as they were, only removing the speech bubbles. In the same year Mug Blue, Mug Rose and Mug Yellow. The Mug blue is also known by the name Painting Moomins, the mug rose is also known by the name Rose Comic Strip and the fourth Moomin mug is also known by the name Mug yellow, Moominmamma. The early Arabia Moomin mugs are extremely collectable with prices for perfect example of Mug Green being over £400. The other colours also fetch prices from £100 to £300. There is an excellent series of articles on the history behind the Moomin mugs on the moomin.com blog. A visit to a Moomin shop, to their website or a look on ebay will show the wide variety of collectables, books, merchandise and household items that are available. If you have not read a Moomin book do go and find the recent special editions of the original books and immerse yourself in this wonderful fantasy world.
Marc Davis – Disney Legend by Tawnya Gilreath Marc Davis is probably the world’s most beloved unknown man. Marc’s fabulous career spans over 60 years, including 43 years at Disney. In 1988, Marc was officially designated a “Living Legend” by The Walt Disney Company which is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a Disney artist. Many of Marc’s creations such as Cinderella, Tinker Bell, Sleeping Beauty, Cruella de Vil and the beloved skunk Flower are fond memories for people throughout the world. Disney utilized Marc’s humor and storytelling abilities in many of their most popular theme park rides. His contributions to It’s A Small World, The Haunted Mansion, and The Pirates of the Caribbean have enchanted millions of visitors. His talent is timeless and future generations will surely cherish his genius as we do today. In addition to being the world’s foremost animator and theme park designer, Marc is also an adventurer and an explorer. He has created hundreds of sketches and paintings of the people and cultures he encountered during his travels. Marc was so intrigued by the art and culture of Papua New Guinea that he created over 400 works of art which capture forever the beauty and mystery of this disappearing world. Since Marc is also an avid collector, he has a special affinity for collectors and understands the difficulties in building an outstanding collection. That is why he has agreed to open his vaults to The Official Marc Davis Collectors Society. From time to time Marc will hand pick previously unavailable works of art that will be made available to members only. All works will be numbered and signed for limited distribution. The Marc Davis Collectors Society is both the key and the vehicle through which Marc Davis treasures will be made available to the public. The organization has a charter that allows only 5,000 founding members worldwide making the membership itself a collector’s item. Founding members receive a hand-signed print of the “Jolly Roger”, a pirate character which Marc and Walt Disney considered for their walk-in attraction, The Pirates of the Caribbean, before it became the ride. This rare item will never be available through normal Disney channels in any form. A one-time membership fee of $275 secures your lifetime membership into this exclusive organization. Benefits include quarterly newsletters, a membership card and certificate, and an invitation to the annual convention. Whether you are a Disney buff or a fine art collector this is the opportunity of a lifetime. To join the Marc Davis Collectors Society or to learn more about Marc’s life and works, visit The Official Marc Davis Collectors Society web site. Membership may also be procured by calling (818) 347-4837 or fax to (818) 347-4793.