What’s it Worth – Free Antiques & Collectables Price Guide
Free Antiques & Collectables Price Guide
Free Antiques & Collectables Price Guide
William Moorcroft might be said to have been born in the right place at the right time, with the benefit of an incredible ability to master all the skills needed to ensure that his business prospered no matter what the economic climate of the times. He was born in Burslem in 1872 and educated at Longport Hall School prior to becoming a student at the Burslem School of Art. His considerable artistic talent led to a move to London where, in 1896, he studied at the National Art Training School, later renamed The Royal College of Art. Young William made good use of his time in the capital by deciding to make an extensive study of both ancient and relatively contemporary ceramics displayed in the British Museum and the South Kensington Museum. We recognise the latter today as the Victoria and Albert Museum. The following year he was awarded his Art Master’s certificate which would normally attract most students towards a career teaching art. However our Mr Moorcroft had set his sights on becoming a potter and, as the fates would have it, was offered the position of designer by the china and earthenware manufacturers James Macintyre and Company of the Washington works in Burslem. He wasn’t slow to see the god sent opportunity and showed no hesitation in eagerly accepted the vacant situation. The pottery made all manner of both relatively mundane utilitarian and decorative ware including artist’s palettes, door furniture and art pottery, alongside insulators and switchgear for the emerging electrics industry. In 1893 the company had enlisted the services of Harry Barnard, the well-respected designer and modeller formerly employed at Doulton’s Lambeth studio, in a bid to introduce art pottery into their repertoire. He was given the task of developing a range of ware that made use of a pate sur pate type of decoration that involved the building up of layers of slip in low relief. The method of decoration had already been well established and perfected at the nearby Stoke factory of Minton and Co. by the former Sevres decorator Louis Solon. James Macintyre decided to name their new designs “Gesso Faience”, but regrettably for Barnard it failed to excite would-be buyers and he eventually moved down the hill to Josiah Wedgwood’s Etruria factory where he continued to develop slip decoration whilst his career underwent a renaissance. Moorcroft’s earliest designs were registered in 1898 and made use of under glaze cobalt blue complemented with iron red on glaze and gilt decoration that enhanced his new and inventive shapes, being retailed under the trade name of “Aurelian Ware”. William’s obvious childhood passion for nature and flora is evident in his treatment and choice of formalised repeated designs, which show a real synergy with the then all-important mentor of many a young art student–William Morris. Undeterred by the failure of “Gesso Ware” Moorcroft recognised the potential offered by slip-trailed decoration and set about producing Arts and Crafts’ inspired floral decoration married to imaginative organic forms. As a result his “Florian Ware”, launched in 1898, established William Moorcroft as the most exciting designer in British ceramics, able to produce in quantity contemporary designs that managed to embrace the traditional Arts and Crafts hand produced ethic. This ethic was promoted initially by Morris and later by the various Guilds that had sprung up in both Britain and the United States of America. As far as Messer’s Macintyre were concerned the most important outcome was that they had struck gold with young Moorcroft and found a highly distinctive art pottery that generated good income. William’s fertile imagination offered a regular flow of quite oftenbreathtaking designs over the next fifteen years that were not entirely limited to all things floral. In 1902 William had produced a design featuring Japanese ornamental Carp specifically for the London retailer, Osler. The firm soon became synonymous with a distinctive palette painted in tones of blue and mauve within slip trailed outlines; such vases carried a “Hesperian Ware” back stamp with other subject matter including Butterflies. That same year that saw the introduction of the first landscape design composed of a frieze of tall trees set amongst an undulating countryside and adapted to fit a variety of vases and dishes of differing size. Eventually labelled “Hazledene” the design proved especially popular through the premier retail outlet of Liberty and Co. William’s friendship with Arthur Lasenby Liberty was eventually to prove of significant importance in 1913 when Macintyre and Co. decided to concentrate upon the lucrative electrical fittings market. With space at their Washington pottery at a premium they decided to close down their art pottery concern and part company with William Moorcroft. It is a matter of debate amongst present day Moorcroft authorities as to whether or not the two parties came to an amicable separation that saw William building his own ‘state of the art’ factory in nearby Sandbach Road, Cobridge, interestingly aided and abetted by the Liberty and Co. connection. New patterns were quickly introduced including utilitarian tableware using a porcellaneous body similar to that used by Macintyre in their electrical output and referred to initially as Blue Porcelain. The speckled blue tableware was a much-needed success that soon became synonymous with Liberty and Co.’s New Tudor Tearooms where it was known as “Moorcroft Blue”. The advent of the First World War led to an increase in export trade allied with government commissions to produce shaving mugs and hospital inhalers for the war effort, thereby allowing William to retain much of his workforce. However, it was in the post war years that he was able to consolidate his position and develop his reputation for producing richly coloured wares that continued to draw upon floral, fruit and landscape inspiration. Unquestionably the most successful design of the interwar years has to be his “Pomegranate” pattern, having been initially introduced in1910. The earliest examples display distinct buff reserves that by the 1920s had given way to deep cobalt blue, and the commercial success of the company […]
The forms were practical and classical, the lines were clean, and the colours were vibrant.
When looking to the designs of the Art Deco period one talented sculptor and ceramist that cannot be ignored is Josef Lorenzl. A master designer, his Bronze statuettes and ceramic figural work epitomise the era perfectly. As like Preiss, Chiaparus and Kelety the other great sculptors from this period, Lorenzl was inspired by the female form and the new found freedom that women enjoyed, which he executed beautifully both in his bronze and ceramic designs. Pictured right: A Josef Lorenzl Cold-Painted Bronze and Ivory Figure With Decoration By Crejo Circa 1930 Modelled cast and carved as a young woman adopting a stylish pose, her costume decorated with enamelled flowers, onyx plinth, base signed Lorenzl, dress signed Crejo 10.5/8 in. (27 cm.) high. Sold for £5,000 at Christies, London (Feb 2014). Although very little is known about Lorenzl’s early life we are aware that he was born in Austria in 1892 and was soon to become one of the most talented sculptors of the Art Deco Period. He started by working for a bronze foundry in Vienna Arsenal where he produced stunning bronze statuettes. The majority of his works in bronze and ivory were of singular slim female nudes with long legs which conveyed elegance. His preference was for dancing poses which were not only evident in his singular statuettes but also in those attached to marble clocks, lampbases and bookends. Like his contemporaries Lorenzl work was created using “Chryselephantine”, a Greek word which refers to the combination of various materials such as bronze, ivory, gold and silver. He signed his pieces in various ways sometimes abbreviating his name to “Lor” or “Enzl” but on some of the statuettes you will find an additional signature by Crejo. A talented painter who worked alongside Lorenzl, Crejo would paint decoration onto the statuettes such as flowers and these are the figures which bear his signature. Far more desirable with Crejo’s painting these can command a premium at auction. Recently Bonhams sold an example of Lorenzl’s work with Crejo decoration for £10,500 but the pieces created by Lorenzl alone generally fetch in the region of £600 – £1,200 depending on the subject matter. Pictured left: A Josef Lorenzl (1892-1950) Cold-Painted Bronze and Onyx Timepiece Circa 1920 Modelled and cast as a crouching nude female figure holding a dial with onyx face, on onyx plinth raised on slate base, apparently unsigned11½ in. (31.7 cm.) high. Sold for £4,700 at Christies, London (Nov 2013). From his designs in bronze and ivory Lorenzl went on to work for the Austrian ceramics company Goldscheider. Again creating stunning sculptures of the female form collector’s are more aware of this period and his sculptures in ceramic than they are of his earlier bronze and ivory statuettes. Inspired by shape and bold colours Lorenzl’s sculptures had clean lines and geometric shapes. Although each piece possess great movement there was no intricacy or attention to detail and most of his figures wore their hair in the boyish bob which was fashionable at the time, making these simplistic and stylish figurines the epitome of Art Deco design. One of Lorenzl’s friends Stephan Dakon who he had met whilst working at the bronze foundry had the same vision and style as Lorenzl so it was the obviously thing for Lorenzl to recommend Dakon to Goldscheider when he started to work for them. Taken on as a freelance designer Dakon was of the same mindset as Lorenzl and so much of their work was very similar. People at the time even believed that the two were in fact the same person. Both the artists had an interest in the female form, dance and theatrical costume. This was enhanced with Lorenzl when he took a trip to Paris and visited Folies Bergeres. Famous dancer Josephine Baker was on stage with her chorus dancers, all wearing extremely flamboyant costumes, Lorenzl was captivated by t he glamour and outlandishness of the dancers and so on his return to Austria reproduced gorgeous figurines wearing vibrant coloured costumes and in various dance poses. He was also able to use his skill as a bronze sculptor to use the earthenware to his advantage. Carving delicate fingers and enhancing the women’s female form Lorenzl set about producing some stunning sculptures. “Captured Bird” was one of his most popular and was created in many different colourways and sizes. This particular piece is of a dancing girl with a gossamer winged dress which was inspired by a dance performed by Niddy Impekoven and was also captured onto a lamp base with three figures of this elegant lady dancing around the stand.. Other dancing girl figurines which were created by Lorenzl include “Butterfly Wings,” “Spider-Web Dress” and “The Arabian Dancer.” Not only did all his creations represent the elegant and feminine side of a women but each were also very subtly seductive. Adapting his theme of dance Lorenzl also went on to produce the “Egyptian Dancer or Odalisque” in 1922. This particular piece was again reproduced with models wearing different coloured shawls and is one of the most recognisable figures today. By the 1930’s Lorenzl and Dakon were the principle designers at Goldscheider, although there were many freelancers employed by the firm. It is here that we see another slight change to Lorenzl’s work. Although he had used the naked female form in much of his bronze and ivory works it was during this period that he started to produce these mildly erotic yet beautiful nude figurines for Goldscheider. “Awaken” and “Nude with a Borzoi” are perfect examples of Lorenzl’s talent for taking the naked female form and making it glamorous yet sophisticated. Although the majority of Lorenzl’s sculptures for Goldscheider were females and these are the ones that command the higher prices he also experimented with other ideas. “Mephistopheles” was a figure of the devil dressed in theatrical costume, and although one recently sold at Bonhams for just £385 it shows his passion for theatre, costume and the arts. Lorenzl is considered the most important Goldscheider artist in the […]
Flirty Thirties – Sophistication And Elegance – Dolls in The 1930s by Sue Brewer Lights! Camera! Action! This was the decade of the movie idol. People from all walks of life filled cinemas to watch glamorous actors and actresses on the big screen, escaping everyday worries as they drifted on a sea of music and romance. Stars became household names – though, unlike today’s celebrities, managing to retain their mystique in a waft of fur, satin, diamonds and aloofness. 1930 opened with a literal high for women when Amy Johnson became the first female aviator to fly solo from England to Australia. Sadly, the year ended with a tragic aviation low when the airship R101, on its inaugural flight from England to India, crashed in France, exploding in flames with a loss of 48 lives. The early years of the decade were a combination of emotions as light-hearted young people danced the night away to jazzy music, contrasting with despair and poverty faced by millions as the Depression, following the earlier U.S. Wall Street Crash, hit home. Characterised by instability, with changes of governments, unrest amongst lower-paid workers and, amazingly, three kings in one year (1936), the Thirties were turbulent times. Germany was proving a constant threat, and a sense of unease permeated the atmosphere – this was sensed even in the fashion industry, where clothing became more simple and casual, as though preparing women for the lean times ahead. Even so, it certainly wasn`t all doom and gloom. A magnificent 1000 ft. liner, the ‘Queen Mary’, was launched in 1934; cruising was the height of fashion amongst the upper classes, and this magnificent ship with its Art Deco design, was deservedly popular. Sophisticated, elegant and stylish, just like her passengers, she summed up the very best of the decade. On her maiden cruise she arrived in New York to find the harbour filled with a welcoming armada and cheering crowds lining the shore. Millionaires, dukes, heiresses and, of course, film stars, adored the ship – this was the height of luxury and style. The rising movie culture was enthusiastically embraced, and elaborate cinemas with velvet seats and plush fittings were built at a frenzied pace. Soon it seemed that every town had its own ‘Picture Palace’ where audiences could lose themselves in a fantasy world. This was the era of Busby Berkely, a choreographer who directed amazing dance routines featuring dozens of feather-clad performers, and many films featured song and dance numbers. Glamorous stars such as Marlene Dietrich, Errol Flynn, Fred Astaire, Greta Garbo and Mae West made the cinema the place to be, while ‘The Wizard of Oz’ starring a young Judy Garland, was released in 1939, just one of the many classic movies which appeared during the decade. Two years earlier, Disney had produced his first-ever full-length cartoon, ‘Snow White’, allowing companies such as Chad Valley to make stunning commemorative dolls. Additionally, a golden-haired tot called Shirley Temple became such a cinema cult that she was created in doll-form to thrill both British and American girls alike, while sassy cartoon star, Betty Boop, was such a hit that she is still adored today. By the mid-thirties, composition had largely overtaken bisque as the best medium for doll manufacture, and while many dolls made by this method were almost as beautiful as their elegant bisque forbears, others were much more crude with slapdash face painting and basic moulding. Some of the bisque manufacturers switched to composition, while new companies evolved, keen to take advantage of the fashion for a medium which didn`t require firing in hot kilns. America had a particularly extensive doll industry at this time and amongst the classic dolls developed were Dy-Dee, Patsy and Shirley Temple. The first Shirley Temple dolls appeared in the shops in 1934, sporting a red and white spotted dress resembling the outfit the little girl wore in ‘Stand Up and Cheer’. The dolls were made by Ideal, using a kind of wood-pulp composition, and their success ensured that Shirley Temple dolls would continue to be produced for several years, wearing costumes from her various films. Additionally, extra outfits and accessories could be purchased, including a beautiful dolls pram. Composition Shirley Temple dolls were finally discontinued in 1939 as interest had waned. Nevertheless, in the late 1950s, a combination of nostalgia plus new interest in Shirley, led Ideal to release an updated range, this time using modern vinyl. Today, Shirley Temple dolls are still produced for collectors by companies such as Danbury Mint. In Britain, Cascelloid experimented making baby dolls from a material they called ‘Plastex’, which was a glue-reinforced unbreakable composition, while companies such as D. G. Todd, British National Dolls and Pedigree produced various composition dolls to a fairly basic design. These were the dolls which would later prove such comfort to children huddled in air-raid shelters, or, alternatively, be the one reminder of home to a child taken to the safety of the countryside, parted from her mother. Britain – in fact the world – was rocked in 1936 when Edward VIII, renounced his throne in order to marry American heiress Wallis Simpson. She was divorced, and so was unable to become queen. In a broadcast at the time, Edward declared that he could not carry on ‘without the help and support of the woman I love`. Instead, Edward`s brother reigned as George VI, and his delightful wife Elizabeth became universally loved, later becoming affectionately known as ‘The Queen Mum’. Before the 1939 hostilities began, the decade was an elegant age, with evening wear influenced by the slinky, sparkly gowns worn by stars such as Ginger Rogers, who whirled around the dance floors in the arms of Fred Astaire. Women embraced a feminine, curvy look, simple by daytime and stunning by night. Schiaparelli, the classic Italian designer, promoted the zip fastener which at the time had been scarcely used in fashionable clothing. At last, it was unnecessary to employ a maid to do up all those hooks […]
The Van Briggle Pottery was founded in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1901 by Artus and Anne Van Briggle. The Van Briggle Pottery they established continued production of pottery for over one hundred years, and was until the company’s closure in 2012 the oldest continuously operating art pottery in the United States. The Van Briggle Pottery was noted for its Art Nouveau styles, Arts and Crafts colours, distinctive matte glazes, and its floral, figural and tiles of Anne Van Briggle. The Van Briggle’s pottery were awarded high honors from prestigious sources, including the Paris Salon, the Saint Louis Exposition, the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition, and the American Arts and Crafts Exhibition in Boston. Artus Van Briggle was born on March 21, 1869, and his family lived in Ohio which was one of the main areas for ceramic design in America featuring potteries such as Roseville, McCoy, Weller, Hull and Rookwood to name a few. It was in fact Rookwood Pottery where Artus was destined, after first attending the Cincinnati Art School and later a position at the Avon Pottery where he was initially introduced to the ceramic arts. His skill and talent were recognized by Rookwood founder, Maria Storer, who became his benefactor, even sending him to France to study art at the Académie Julian in Paris. Whilst in Paris, Artus was exposed to new styles of art and techniques and took a great interest in an early matte glaze from the Chinese Ming Dynasty; a type that was lost to history. It was also in Paris where Artus met his future wife, fellow American student Anne Lawrence Gregory, an accomplished artist in her own right. Artus and Anne returned to America in 1896, where he continued at Rookwood experimenting with recreating the lost Ming Dynasty glazes. Artus was to eventually develop the “matte glaze” used at the Rookwood Pottery. This was a flat but textured glaze, often painted on soft colored clay, which used “sea green” for aquatic and floral motifs. This pale blue-green glaze was usually applied over a soft yellow, bluish or red base. Artus left Rookwood Pottery in 1899, suffering with tuberculosis, and moved to Colorado Springs. Whilst in Colorado he was able to develop his Art Nouveau influenced pottery and after two years of trials and experimentation he perfected his matte blue glaze based on an ancient Chinese process that had long been lost to history. The VanBriggle.com website says of Artus’s discovery ‘one day in the spring of 1901 he reached into the kiln, with the anticipation known well by countless potters throughout the ages, and finally held in his hands the perfect, rich, matte-glazed pottery he had sought for so long – the first pieces created in centuries, the first ever on this side of the world. Against the odds of failing health and a pursuit which no western artist had ever achieved, he succeeded; his passion was realized – a lost art was now reborn. The world would once again see and touch of the soft marble-like glazes first known by ancient Chinese masters half a world and so many generations away.’ With his new glaze and graceful Art Nouveau designs, Artus opened The Van Briggle Pottery in 1901. He was joined by Anne Gregory and they married in 1902 who was to have a major input in all aspects of the pottery as well as design. Van Briggle’s pottery and designs received national and international acclaim and in Europe’s the were proclaimed, “A supreme discovery in modern ceramics.” Artus and Anne established hundreds of Art Nouveau styles of pottery under the Van Briggle name. The Despondency vase won Van Briggle wide acclaim and first place at the Paris Salon in 1903. A display at the 1904 Centennial Exhibit in St. Louis won Van Briggle more awards and greater international fame. Artus Van Briggle died in July 1904, at the age of 35. Anne continued the pottery using the forms created by Artus as a foundation and adding more designs of her own. It was only after the death of Artus that the company started making hand pressed tiles. The tiles featured Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau designs. The tiles were very popular, especially among local builders who used them in the booming Colorado housing market and the tiles also decorated the facade and interior of the new pottery (designed by Dutch architect Nicholas Van den Arend) that was opened in 1908. Production of tiles at the pottery continued until 1920, with most of the limited production being for architectural use. For collectors access to Van Briggle tiles is limited and when do they appear at auction they achieve good prices. For collectors it is the early pieces that command most interest and highest prices for collectors notably the work of Artus. Early production was always limited and ‘one prominent collector has suggested that only about 400 pieces total were made prior to his death’ (Rago and Perrault). Although the Van Briggle Pottery continued production for over one hundred years in one form or another according to Rago and Perrault the last pieces of collecting merit date to 1932. Pieces attributed to Artus and Anne can sell for many thousands of dollars – the record price for an attributed Artus piece is his classic prototype Lorelei piece whilst he was a decorator at Rookwood. The 7 1/2-inch-tall vase is incised ‘A. Van Briggle 1898,’ and has a Paris Exposition Universelle 1900 label sold for $187,500 at Rago Arts and Auction Center’s 20th Century Decorative Arts and Design Auction in June 2016. Van Briggle Pottery Reference Rago, David and Perrault, Suzanne, How to Compare and Appraise American Art Pottery (Miller’s Treasure or Not?), 2001 VanBriggle.com web site Van Briggle Pottery on Wikipedia click here
The Rollieflex TLR camera revolutionized photographic history by making high-quality photography more accessible to the general public. Prior to its release, cameras were bulky, expensive, and difficult to use, limiting their use to professional photographers or wealthy hobbyists. The Rollieflex’s simple design and affordable price made photography available to a much wider audience, sparking a lasting interest in the art form. The Rollieflex TLR camera was prototyped in 1927 and 1928 and first introduced in 1929 by the German company, Rollei. The TLR design (Twin Lens Reflex) was not new, but the Rollieflex was the first to offer high quality construction and a compact size. The Rollieflex quickly became popular with professional photographers and amateurs alike. Its simple design and rugged construction made it ideal for travel and outdoor photography. The Rollieflex remained in production until the early 1970s, when it was discontinued in favor of newer SLR models. Franke & Heidecke At the turn of the 20th century, Franke & Heidecke was one of the leading camera manufacturers in Germany. With a strong commitment to innovation and quality, they began to experiment with new types of cameras that could meet the growing demand for high-end photography equipment. One of their most successful designs was the Rollieflex TLR camera, which revolutionized the world of professional photography. Using cutting-edge technologies like precision gears and precise mechanics, Franke & Heidecke designed and built a sleek and sturdy camera that quickly gained the favor of professional photographers around the world. The Rolliefleix TLR camera offered a high level of control and flexibility, allowing photographers to capture stunning images with exceptional clarity and accuracy. It quickly became known as one of the most reliable, versatile, and effective cameras on the market, setting new standards for modern photography. Today, the Rollieflex is considered a classic camera, and its unique design continues to inspire photographers around the world.
Arthur Gredington was one of the leading animal modellers of the 20th Century, not only for Beswick but in the world of ceramics . He was responsible for the creation of nearly 400 models (well over 400 with pieces he collaborated on), some of which will probably be in your own or a relatives china cabinet. Arthur Noel Gredington (1903-1971) was born in 1903 and after studying at the Royal College, at the age of 32, he took a position in 1939 at Beswick as their first resident modeller. Prior to this modellers at Beswick were employed on a freelance basis. His first model was a Deer on Base (model no 696) which was produced in a natural, flambe and blue glazed editions. He was able to design any animal but his speciality was horses and dogs. The 1938 Epsom Derby winner Bois Roussell was the subject of Gredington’s first racehorse and breeders reproduction model for which Beswick were to become famous. Later racehorse models included the famous Arkle. Beswick often produced different colourways of models including Bois Roussell which as well as the original brown was also produced in grey. With variations and colourways the range of Gredington horse models available to collectors is over 200, whereas the actual number of actual designs created is around 70. Gredington’s realism and accuracy in his models made them very popular with collectors and his champion models were especially sought by the farming community. Gredington was also responsible for many comic and licensed designs. These include the Cat Orchestra and Courting Penguins in 1945, In 1948 Beswick secured the right to reproduce a range of 10 Beatrix Potter earthenware characters, the first of which was Jemima Puddle-Duck which was designed by Gredington. Other character included cartoon, storybook figures, character animals and even designs for Disney including the Seven Dwarfs. When Gredington retired in 1968 he left a legacy of creations which are still collected today. Arthur Gredingtona and Beswick related Beswick Girl on Jumping Horse No 939 Beswick Zimmy Lion Price and Value Guide
Sunderland lustre (luster and lusterware in North America) is a general name given to a type of pottery with a pink lustre glaze made by a number of potteries in the 19th century including Leeds, Newcastle, Liverpool, Bristol and Swansea but principally and most famously by a number of potteries in the Sunderland and Wear area. The wares produced are also called Sunderland pink, pink lustre and even purple lustre. The ‘colour was originally derived from and tin powdered compound known as purple or cassius’ 1. Adding lustre to pottery was not a new method and examples of the lustring technique can be seen in wares from the middle east in the 9th and 10th century. Wedgwood used the technique on their Moonlight Lustre from 1805 to 1815 and later on their famous Fairyland lustre pieces in the 1920s. According to Michael Gibson 2 and The Sunderland Site 3 there were 16 potteries in Sunderland of which 7 are known to have produced lustrewares. These seven potteries also produced items under multiple names and include: Garrison Pottery; Dixon & Co; Dixon Phillips & Co; Dixon & Austin; Anthony Scott & Co.; Anthony Scott & Sons; Ball, William; Dawson, John; Dawson & Co.; Dawson’s Pottery; Dawson’s Low Ford Pottery; Thomas Dawson & Co.; Deptford Pottery; Dixon & Co.; Dixon Austin & Co.; Dixon, Austin, Phillips & Co.; Dixon, Phillips & Co.; Dixon, Robert; Garrison Pottery; Hylton Pot Works; Maling, William (the Maling Pottery was established at North Hylton, near Sunderland, in 1762 but moved to the Newcastle area in 1817); Messrs. Dawson & Co.; S. Moore & Co.; Moore’s Pottery; North Hylton Pottery; Olde Sanders Low Ford Pottery; Phillips & Co.; Scott Brothers & Co.; Scott’s Pottery; Snowball, Thomas; Southwick Pottery; The Sunderland Pottery; Thomas Snowball’s High Southwick Pottery;and the Wear Pottery. Many Sunderland lustre pieces are often difficult to attribute as they were unmarked. The pink lustre was that associated with Sunderland was added to many gift items such jugs, mugs, chamber pots, and wall plaques and often decorated with black transfer prints. A large number of items were commerorative wares and gifts for sailors and featured many repeated scenes including: the Wearmouth bridge, Ironbridge, symbols of Freemansonry, the Sailor’s Farewell and the Sailor’s Return, and countless sailing ships. Other items with lustre include watch-stands, rolling-pins, puzzle-jugs, frog mugs and carpet bowls. Sunderland Lustre and Pottery Reference 1 Collecting for Pleasure China introduced by Tony Curtis 2 19th Century Lustreware by Michael Gibson 3 The Sunderland Site – a really excellent web reference on the industrial history of Sunderland with a number of pages devoted to Sunderland Pottery. Collecting Frog Mugs – A Nice Surprise!
Dame Muriel Spark (née Muriel Sarah Camberg) was born in Edinburgh on the 1st February 1918, and 2018 is the centenary of her birth. She is most famous for her sixth novel, published in 1961, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, with its eponymous title character, the free spirited Miss Jean Brodie. She was placed placed her eighth in The Times list of the ‘50 greatest post-war writers’. Muriel Spark began writing poetry in her early teens at school. At the age of 19 she left Scotland for Southern Rhodesia to marry Sydney Oswald Spark, thirteen years her senior whom she had met at a dance in Edinburgh. In July of 1938, she gave birth to a son Samuel Robin Spark in Southern Rhodesia and having left the marriage, Spark supported herself and her son there. Spark began writing seriously after the war, under her married name, beginning with poetry and literary criticism. In 1947 she became editor of the Poetry Review. In 1953 Muriel Spark was baptised in the Church of England but in 1954 she decided to join the Roman Catholic Church, which she considered crucial in her development toward becoming a novelist. Her first novel, The Comforters, was published in 1957. It featured several references to Catholicism and conversion to Catholicism, although its main theme revolved around a young woman who becomes aware that she is a character in a novel. Spark was to publish four more novels Robinson (1958), Memento Mori (1959), The Ballad of Peckham Rye (1960) and the The Bachelors (1960) until The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie in 1961. Brodie was to become the novel that she would forever synoymous with. In the novel Spark displayed originality of subject and tone, making extensive use of flash forwards and imagined conversations. Muriel Spark Novels and Price Guide These prices are a reflection of the market as of 15th January 2018. As with most modern first editions condition of the dust jacket is critical to the valuation. The Comforters (1957) Robinson (1958) Memento Mori (1959) The Ballad of Peckham Rye (1960) The Bachelors (1960) The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961) The Girls of Slender Means (1963) The Mandelbaum Gate (1965) The Public Image (1968) The Driver’s Seat (1970) Not To Disturb (1971) The Hothouse by the East River (1973) The Abbess of Crewe (1974) The Takeover (1976) Territorial Rights (1979) Loitering with Intent (1981) The Only Problem (1984) A Far Cry From Kensington (1988) Symposium (1990) Reality and Dreams (1996) Aiding and Abetting (2000) The Finishing School (2004) Reference Celebrating Muriel Spark and writing about post traumatic stress – Radio 4 a look at the work of Muriel Spark and discussion with William Boyd and Alan Taylor (14 January 2018) Dame Muriel Spark – A great British novelist, and the waspish creator of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – obituary on The Guardian (17 April 2006)
Freaked Out!!!!! Speed Freaks! I am the first to admit that I know next to nothing about cars and to be honest, was not really interesting in learning anything about them either – but that was until I met Terry Ross, an enthusiast on the subject, it didn’t take him long to convert and introduce me to the fascinating world of Speed Freaks! Terry has a passion for cars, for thirteen years he wrote for a motoring magazine on the subject and owns an amazing display of small models cars that he has built from scratch. Each of these models could take up to 2 years to complete and one in particular – the “Dragster” has won him a real car when it was entered into a competition. “I am a class 1 petrol head and wanted to do a MA in car design when I left school, but I was introduced to the world of advertising and ended up owning my own agency.” Terry worked as a Creative Director and Art Director for many years but his passion for cars was always at the forefront of his social life. He came up with the idea of Speed Freaks around 5 years ago; using his artistic background he began to sculpt three-dimensional abstract cars. Terry makes sure that each model is based on an existing car; however, there is a slight twist to the design being that they are really miniature caricatures rather than straightforward replica models. For the first year Terry concentrated on creating private commissions. He produced very limited production runs of the Ferrari 355, McLaren M8D and Valentino Rossi on the motorbike that won him the 2001 500cc MotoGP season (Valentino himself is the proud owner of the last in the production run). Each of these exclusive limited editions retailed at £995 as they were exceptional pieces, made to order. Terry’s first small car piece was the classic Ford Anglia based on the 1200 Super, then the Cortina joined the family, shortly followed by an Escort and a Capri. Demand was high as everyone who owned a car wanted one of Terry’s Speed Freaks especially as he also offered a custom made service allowing purchasers to order exact replica’s of their own cars. By this point Terry no longer owned the Advertising Agency and realised that he had discovered a whole new lifestyle but he would have to look down the lines of mass production to meet with the demand and make a living out of the hobby that he was so passionate about. A friend introduced Terry to Country Artists just 2 years ago, the company loved his models and snapped him up immediately, the rest – as they say – is history! Country Artists launched 12 of Terry’s original Speed Freak Cars at the NEC Spring Fair in January 2004 – they were greatly received by retailers ensuring that the same year Terry’s Speed Freaks were awarded “Gift of the Year” – which is a major achievement for someone so new to the market. Country Artists are now exclusively responsible for getting Terry’s innovative designs into the market place. A great deal of work goes into the production of Speed Freaks with Terry working on each of the master models from his home in London. A master can take up to four weeks to complete from beginning to end. Once the master has been sculpted it is placed into the oven to bake at 100 degrees for ½ hour. The car is then sanded and blocked down to smooth (this is the principal when preparing to paint a real car). Terry then uses real car spray paints to ensure he gets the exact colour that the car should be. Once Terry is completely satisfied that he cannot improve on his master Speed Freak, it is then sent to Country Artists who start the process of reproducing the retailed amounts in resin, issuing them with boxes and certificates before going on sale. These little cars are both original and wacky. Each one has so much character that even if you are not a Speed Freak yourself, but have a good eye for the unusual, you just have to own one. Terry’s passion for the subject really comes out in his art and you know that he has created each one with love and affection, making them even more desirable to own. Speed Freaks Cars and Speed Freak Collectables are a fun product, so different to anything else on the giftware collectables market. The vibrant colours of the cars, the abstract design and the workmanship that goes into making each piece could only have been created by someone like Terry who lives cars. He takes pride in his work by paying attention to every detail; including painting the windscreens to reflect a fantastic sun set. Collectors are always on the look out for something new and innovative; and I think that these models are just what collectors are looking for. Speed Freaks Cars and Speed Freaks Figurines have all the credentials that make them a hot collectable – high quality, unusual in design, great fun, and most of all – affordable. I have never really classed myself as being a Speed Freak but after spending the morning with Terry and peering into his world I am most definitely converted.