Just released by Ty for Halloween 2008 is Carvers. This cute bear features the words Boo and 2008 on his feet and a halloween pumpkin pattern on his white fur.
Carvers is exclusive to Hallmark Gold Crown dealers.
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Up until recently, male dolls were very few and far between, but over the last few years, as the trend for character dolls has grown, men have been making their presence felt – and how. Dolls are made to represent footballers, pop stars, sportsmen and even politicians. Here, though, we’re looking at the movie men, those who star on tv or in the films. Sometimes, like Indiana Jones, they are brave and fearless, others, such as Spiderman, are crime fighters in strange outfits, then there are the suave sophisticates; Henry Higgins, Rhett Butler. The fourth category falls to those inoffensive, often funny types – think Dick van Dyke, in Mary Poppins. A collection of male dolls, all testerone, trousers and teeth, makes a fun group, and might even prove a bit of an investment, certainly if you buy some of the cheaper types. If this sounds an odd theory, it’s really very simple – there are some wonderful versions of male dolls produced by designers such as Robert Tonner. However, these top of the range models are intended for collectors, who tend to keep them safe, and with their boxes. They are unlikely to undress them, let alone comb their hair or give them rides up the garden path on a skateboard – but the cheaper dolls intended for children will soon be unboxed, undressed and scuffed. These character dolls usually have quite a short shelf life because movies are constantly changing, and new heroes are produced. So in a few years time, if you resist temptation to debox your handsome hero, you may suddenly find he is demand. Perhaps the most modelled male film character has been Harry Potter; there are dozens of different types from small plastic figures through to expensive Robert Tonner versions. Many of these dolls featured in Dolls To Delight last October, so I won’t dwell on them here, but suffice to say that the Tonner types are stunning, while the large Gotz figures and many of the Mattel versions are very good, too. In a similar vein are the Ron Weasley and Draco Malfoy figures. Even so, with the best will in the world Harry Potter doesn’t really fall into the ‘handsome swash-buckling hero types’; for those we turn to characters such as swashbuckling Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom from ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ or adventurer Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. The Tonner version of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) features an elaborate costume, and the beading in the hair has been painstakingly reproduced. A much more affordable version, by Zizzle, was in the toy stores a couple of years ago as a 12 inch high doll. Although this one had moulded hair, the resemblance to the actor was amazing, and the costume still very intricate. Zizzle also made an Orlando Bloom as Will Turner, in a choice of outfits – either a ‘piratey-loo king’ red shirt, black waistcoat and black trousers, or a black leather outfit with a cream brocade waistcoat. Tonner, too, have depicted Will in his pirate outfit. A recent introduction is Hasbro’s Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, as a talking version, with phrases such as ‘I think we’ve got a big problem’ and ‘That’s why they call it the jungle, sweetheart’. His mouth even moves as he speaks. Dressed in his typical leather jacket, coarse trousers and battered hat, this is a super doll and certainly one to look out for. Doctor Who, in his David Tennant reincarnation, is made by Character Options. Wearing a battered suit, he comes complete with, of course, his sonic screwdriver. This doll bears an excellent likeness to David. While we are on a space theme, there have been many Star Wars dolls (or ‘Action Figures’ as boys prefer to call them!) made over the years. In the 1980s a series of 12 inch high dolls were made by Palitoy, and are very collectable today; various others still appear from time to time. Likewise figures from ‘Babylon Five’, ‘Star Trek’ and similar cult sci-fi films, such as the Mego figures from the mid-seventies. Of course, you don’t have to be constantly warding off aliens, pirates, villains or dark forces to be a hero. You might be the suave and polished kind. Recently, Tonner created a Clark Gable doll in his role as Rhett Butler from ‘Gone With The Wind’, while in 1996 Mattel came up trumps with an excellent ‘enry ‘iggins as portrayed by Rex Harrison, from ‘My Fair Lady’. Dressed in his tweeds, Henry is depicted as the typical aristocratic gentleman. In contrast, we have Bert (Dick Van Dyke), who most certainly could have done with a few elocution lessons from Henry Higgins. The presentation of this recent doll from Mattel is most attractive – Bert is riding a carousel horse from the fairground scene in Mary Poppins. Very popular at the moment are the High School Musical dolls, and of course, Troy (Zac Efron) is included in the range by Mattel, and available in various outfits. John Travolta in his ‘Grease’ days was issued by Mattel a couple of years ago – but this was a mini-John, as modelled by Tommy, friend of Kelly, Barbie’s little sister. Barbie herself was depicted alongside James Bond in 2003. James has also appeared in Action Man special issues, though no attempt was made to capture any of the actors’ features, and more recently by Sideshow Collectables. More mystical are the ‘Lord of the Rings’ dolls. Characters such as Aragon have been expertly modelled by Applause and Toy Biz. Other fantasy figures include the comic book heroes; Batman, Superman, Spiderman – all of these have been produced in doll form, but I’m sure that most will have endured rough handling by their young owners, so pristine or boxed versions are certainly worth acquiring for your collection. That goes for ‘Thunderbirds’ dolls and Captain Scarlet too. Most heroes are handsome, or at least, reasonably presentable. If you want something a bit out of the ordinary though, then […]
The RMS Titanic left Southampton on the 10th April 1912 headed for New York. Four days later she hit an iceberg and on the 15th April she sank.
Nothing prepared me for the overwhelming feelings that burst through me when, on a recent trip to Barcelona, I first discovered the works of Antoni Gaudi. A sheer genius, never before have I felt so encapsulated by one designer as his use of the natural world combined with Gothic and medieval influences made me hungrily want to take in every tiny detail. Hard to place into words, you really cannot appreciate this talented architect, artist and designer’s individualism until it is confronting you, however I can tell you that in my own opinion Gaudi was not only a pioneer of his time but also one of the most unique architectural talents I have ever encountered. Born into a simple life in Reus, provincial Catalonia to a coppersmith and his wife on 25th June 1852, Gaudi was one of five children. However, as a child he developed a rheumatic problem, which was to stay with him throughout his life. This disease effected him during his childhood as it prevented Gaudi from mixing with other children his own age because the pain when walking was so intensifying that he was forced to travel by donkey whenever he left the house Although Gaudi did attend school he had periods where he had to miss lessons due to the rheumatic illness and so would use this time to observe plants and animals. It is these organic shapes of nature that became prolific in his later architectural works which are found entwined with the gothic and medieval influences which he became so passionate about. In 1868 Gaudi moved to Barcelona in order to study architecture at university. It was whilst attending this course that he also took classes on Aesthetics, history, philosophy and economics. He had a strong belief that the various architectural styles did not necessarily depend on the aesthetic ideas but instead were heavily influenced by political and social affairs. Much of Gaudi’s influences and inspiration was gained from medieval books, along with the strong Gothic styles that were beginning to appear. He was also heavily impressed with the new Art Nouveau style which replaced the rigidity of straight lines with a more organic flowing form of design. Unfortunately Gaudi’s studies were interrupted for a while as he had to fulfil military service. Working as a draughtsman he finally completed his term and returned to graduate from the New School of Architecture in 1877. He then went on to open his office in 1878, with one of his first commissions being for the lampposts in Plaza Real, Barcelona. He designed two models, one of which had three arms and the other with six. They are still standing today and many people walk past them not realising that they are actually one of the first Gaudi works that he created. Other work started to appear and Gaudi created furniture, alter pieces and even gloves for the Comella firm to show at the Paris Exhibition of 1878. However, it was the friendship that he formed with Eusebio Guell which really took his career into another dimension as Guell was to commission much work for Gaudi in the following years as well as introducing him to other like minded artists. Joan Martorell was a talented architect who became a strong influence on Gaudi’s life. Especially as it was Martorell whom suggested in 1883 that Gaudi should officially take over the project of the ‘Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia.’ This was to become his lifelong project and in turn his most momentous work. An extremely religious man, Gaudi saw it as God’s will and so dedicated 43 years to the construction of the temple. Aside from Sagrada Familia Gaudi was also commissioned to work on many other projects, especially as now he had become a well known and respected architect. Many of his works were for the Guell family, and this included the famous park. His friend, Eusebio Guell planned to build a ‘suburban city’ and although 60 plots were allocated for housing, only three were actually built. Two of which are today owned by the Trias family and one was created as a show house, although Gaudi actually bought it for himself in 1906. The park is surrounded by a rubblework wall which Gaudi crowned with ceramic ‘trencadis’ (mosaic made from broken ceramic pieces.). At each end there are two pavilions which are often referred to as gingerbread houses, and each possess the common trait of not having any straight lines or angles anywhere within the house or to the exterior. Another fascinating building which is a vision of modernism and one of Gaudi’s exceptional masterpieces is Casa Batllo. The owner Josep Batllo intended to tear down the building but changed his mind and decided to remodel it. Gaudi was instructed to carry out the work and as with all his projects created something so unique that this is probably one of the most amazing private homes I have ever seen. The façade of the building has an undulating surface covered in polychrome circles of glazed ceramics and broken fragments of glass. When built Gaudi personally told the workman how to position each piece by directing them from the pavement outside and this stunning façade has been compared to the ‘Water Lilies’ series of oil paintings by Monet. However, when you get onto the roof it resembles mystical animals and legends, as the sinuous shape of the roof together with multi-coloured ceramic scales on the main façade give you the effect of standing behind a dragon’s back. Pere Mila had seen the Batllo house after its completion and was so enthusiastic about it that he approached Gaudi and asked if he could build a large building which could be turned into flats. To say that Gaudi mixed his architectural styles is an understatement, this particular project the ‘La Pedrera (Casa Mila) otherwise known as the Quarry House, is so far away from the design of the Batllo house. Based on wrought metallic girders and […]
The Wind in the Willows is a classic of children’s literature by Kenneth Grahame, first published in 1908.
The term “American Stoneware” refers to the predominant houseware of nineteenth century America–stoneware pottery usually covered in a salt glaze and often decorated using cobalt oxide to produce bright blue decorations. Pictured right: Fenton & Hancock Water Cooler sold at auction for $88,000 in Nov 2006 at Crocker Farm Inc auctions The vernacular term “crocks” is often used to describe this type of pottery, though the term “crock” is not seen in period documents describing the ware. Additionally, while other types of stoneware were produced in America concurrently with it–for instance, ironstone, yellowware, and various types of china–in common usage of the term, “American Stoneware” refers to this specific type of pottery. Pictured left: Baltimore Stoneware, (H. Myers) Water Cooler, Made By Henry Remmey, Sr. Water Cooler sold at auction for $72,600 in July 2004 at Crocker Farm Inc auctions Stoneware is pottery made out of clay of the stoneware category, fired to a high temperature (about 1200°C to 1315°C). The pottery becomes, essentially, stone. Salt-glazed pottery is a type of pottery produced by adding salt to a kiln to create a glass-like coating on the pottery. At just over 900°C, the salt (sodium chloride) vaporizes and bonds with the clay body. The sodium in the salt bonds with the silica in the clay, creating sodium silicate, or glass. A very commonly employed technique seen on American Stoneware is the use of cobalt decoration, where a dark gray mixture of clay, water and the expensive mineral cobalt oxide is painted onto the unfired vessels. In the firing process, the cobalt reacts to produce a vibrant blue decoration that has become the trademark of these wares. While this type of salt-glazed stoneware probably originated in the Rhineland area of Germany circa 1400’s, it became the dominant houseware of the United States of America circa 1780-1890. Pictured right: Early NY Figural, Stoneware Jar, Inscribed “Bill Remey” sold at auction for $63,250 in March 2008 at Crocker Farm Inc auctions Americans began producing salt-glazed stoneware circa 1720 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Yorktown, Virginia. By the 1770’s, the art of salt-glazed stoneware production had spread to many centers throughout the United States, most notably Manhattan, New York. There the Crolius and Remmey families (two of the most important families in the history of American pottery production) would, by the turn of the nineteenth century, set the standard for expertly crafted and aesthetically pleasing American stoneware. By 1820, stoneware was being produced in virtually every American urban center, with potters from Baltimore, Maryl and, in particular raising the craft to its pinnacle. While salt-glazing is the typical glaze technique seen on American Stoneware, other glaze methods were employed by the potters. For instance, vessels were often dunked in Albany Slip, a mixture made from a clay peculiar to the Upper Hudson Region of New York, and fired, producing a dark brown glaze. Albany Slip was also sometimes used as a glaze to coat the inside surface of salt-glazed ware. Pictured left: Taunton, MA, Stoneware Figural Cooler, 1834 sold at auction for $34,500 in March 2008 at Crocker Farm Inc auctions While decorated ware was usually adorned using cobalt oxide, American Stoneware potters used other decorative techniques. Incising, a method in which a design of flowering plants, birds, or some other decoration was cut into the leather-hard clay using a stylus, produced detailed, recessed images on the vessels; these were usually also highlighted in cobalt. Stamped or coggled designs were sometimes impressed into the leather-hard clay, as well. Potters occasionally substituted manganese or iron oxide for cobalt oxide to produce brown, instead of blue, decorations on the pottery. In the last half of the nineteenth century, potters in New England and New York state began producing stoneware with elaborate figural designs such as deer, dogs, birds, houses, people, historical scenes and other fanciful motifs including elephants and “bathing beauties.” A significant percentage of American Stoneware was signed using maker’s marks and, much more rarely, incised signatures. Many pieces can be attributed to particular makers based on the cobalt decoration, clay body, form, etc. The gallon capacity of the vessels was often denoted using numeral stamps or incised or cobalt oxide numbers or hash marks applied in freehand. Pictured right: John W. Bell, Waynesboro, PA, Redware Figure of a Whippet Dog sold at auction for $41,800 in May 2005 at Crocker Farm Inc auctions American Stoneware was valued as not only a durable, decorative houseware but as a safer alternative to lead-glazed earthenware pottery produced in America before and during its production there. This earthenware, commonly referred to today as American Redware, was often produced by the same potters making American Stoneware. Pictured left: “Anthony W. Bacher / 1879”, VA Redware Wall pocket sold at auction for $35,650 in March 2008 at Crocker Farm Inc auctions Stoneware was used for anything we might use glass jars or tupperware for today. It held everything from water, soda, and beer to meat, grain, jelly, and pickled vegetables, and was produced in a very wide variety of forms. These ranged from common jars and jugs to more specialized items like pitchers, water coolers, spittoons, and butter pots, to much rarer banks and poultry waterers and exceptionally unusual pieces like bird houses, animal figures, and grave markers. With the proliferation of mass production techniques and machinery throughout the century, in particular the breakthrough of John Landis Mason’s glass jar (see Mason jar), the production of what had been one of America’s most vital handcrafts gradually ground to a halt. By the turn of the twentieth century, some companies mass-produced stoneware with a white, non-salt glaze (commonly referred to as “bristol slip”), but these later wares lacked, for instance, the elaborate decorations common to the earlier, salt-glazed stoneware. Copyright (C) 2000,2001,2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc. 51 Franklin St, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed Related American Stoneware at Auction
The Martin Brother’s pottery was established at Pomona House, Fulham, London, in 1873, moving to Southall in 1877. Of the four Martin Brothers, Walter Fraser, Edwin, Charles and Robert Wallace, it is Robert who as the chief modeler and designer of the pottery is best known today. They made very distinctive stonewares and while the Martin Brother’s are perhaps best known for producing the grotesque or ‘Wally’ bird tobacco jars, and mugs and jugs decorated with grotesque faces, this formed only a relatively small part of their production. Pictured right – An imposing large Robert Wallace Martin stoneware bird jar dated 1882 black-painted wood socle, flange inscribed R. W. Martin, Sc./Southall Pottery, 2-11-1882, base inscribed R. W. Martin/London/& Southall/1882. height 25 1/2 in. (64.8 cm.)., from the Sotheby’s Harriman Judd Collection of British Art Pottery, New York in 2001 sold for $81,250. Initially, architectural works were produced for which Charles as business manager and developer was largely responsible. The vessels, large and small, the form often inspired by vegetables, can be incised with birds amongst grasses or birds perched in branches, or aquatic life, and were inspired by 18th century illustrations, executed in Japanese style. Pictured left – A Robert Wallace Martin monumental stoneware vase circa 1880 incised with birds and palm trees, (firing cracks at foot), impressed MARTIN. height 42 in. (1.07m.)., from the Sotheby’s Harriman Judd Collection of British Art Pottery, New York in 2001 sold for $7,200. A few wealthy or farsighted individuals who saw the individually expressive and original thought that had gone into the creation of the pieces largely bought the wares produced. The final firing of the Southall kiln was in 1914 with only a small percentage of the wares being successful, as had been the case in the last few firings. Pictured left -A Martin Brothers stoneware small double-sided face jug dated 1910 inscribed Martin Bros./London & Sout hall, 5-1910. height 5 1/4 in. (13.3 cm.), from the Sotheby’s Harriman Judd Collection of British Art Pottery, New York in 2001 sold for $5,700. The majority of pieces made by the Martin Brothers at Southall bear the mark RW Martin & Brothers London & Southall along with a number and date. Pieces inscribed and attributed to Robert Wallace Martin himself tend to be the most valuable. Related British Pottery Overview Martin Brothers Pottery at auction
There’s something special about tinplate fire engines. They’re intricate, they’re beautiful, and they hark back to a bygone era of firefighting. For collectors the area is easily definable and a good collection can be acquired. We include a number of examples along with their estimates or prices achieved at auction. Tinplate fire engines were first produced in the late 19th century, and they quickly became popular among children and toy collectors alike. Some of the most collectable and highly prized tinplate fire engines were made by the German and French toy companies including Marklin, Bing, Arnold, Distler and Unis. They were often colourful with excellent and transfer printing including names, firemen and fire engine details. Some models included extending ladders and detachable tin firemen. Clockwork tinplate fire engines are particularly desirable, especially in good working order. British toy makers such as Mettoy made tinplate fire engines.
The Who celebrate 50 years of rock in 2014 and we take a look at their history, impact and most importantly for us their collectables. The Who are an English rock band that formed in 1964. Their best known line-up consisted of lead singer Roger Daltrey, guitarist Pete Townshend, bassist John Entwistle and drummer Keith Moon. They are considered one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century and are one of the world’s best-selling bands. Pictured left: The Who My Generation LP 1965 on the Brunswick label. Mono 1st Press. In mint condition this record can sell for around £300. This actual LP sold on ebay for £283 in Nov 2014. The Who developed from an earlier group, the Detours, before stabilising around a line-up of Daltrey, Townshend, Entwistle and Moon. After releasing a single as the High Numbers, the group established themselves as part of the mod movement and featured auto-destructive art by destroying guitars and drums on stage. Pictured right: The Who A concert poster THE WHO in A Two-Hour Non Stop Concert To Include Tommy, London Coliseum, Sunday, 14th December, 1969. Sold for £1,000 at Christies, London in June 2010. They achieved recognition in the UK after their first single as the Who, “I Can’t Explain”, reached the top ten. A string of successful singles followed, including “My Generation”, “Substitute” and “Happy Jack”. Although initially regarded as a singles act, they also found success with the albums My Generation and A Quick One. In 1967, they achieved success in the US after performing at the Monterey Pop Festival, and with the top ten single “I Can See for Miles”. They released The Who Sell Out at the end of the year, and spent much of 1968 touring. Pictured left: Pete Townshend / The Who: A cherry red Gibson SG Special guitar, serial number 884484 stamped 2, circa late 1967, owned and used by Pete Townshend in the early 1970s – early 1980s; the double cutaway body in cherry red finish, mahogany neck, Grover machine heads, 22 fret bound fingerboard with dot inlays, two P90 pickups, four rotary controls, selector switch, metal bridge, black pickguard bound in white, tailpiece removed; original Gibson contour hardshell case with scarlet plush lining; accompanied by a letter signed by Townshend detailing the provenance. Sold for £37,500 inc premium at Bonhams, Knightsbridge, June 2014. The group’s fourth album, 1969’s rock opera Tommy, was a major commercial and critical success. Subsequent live appearances at Woodstock and the Isle of Wight Festival, along with the live album Live At Leeds, transformed the Who’s reputation from a hit-singles band into a respected rock act. With their success came increased pressure on lead songwriter Townshend, and the follow-up to Tommy, Lifehouse, was abandoned in favour of 1971’s Who’s Next. Pictured right: A rare Quadrophenia film poster, 1980, large format for the Italian release of the film starring Phil Daniels, Leslie Ash and Sting, directed by Franc Roddam, 140 x 100cm, framed and glazed. Sold for £525 inc premium at Bonhams, Goodwood , July 2013. The group subsequently released Quadrophenia (1973) and The Who by Numbers (1975), oversaw the film adaptation of Tommy and toured to large audiences before semi-retiring from live performances at the end of 1976. The release of Who Are You in August 1978 was overshadowed by the death of Moon on 7 September. Pictured left: The Who David Bailey Live Aid – A black and white limited edition photograph of The Who by David Bailey, 1985, signed by the photographer and on the verso in black felt pen by Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle and Kenny Jones, additionally signed in pencil by the photographer, dated 85 and numbered 1/3. Sold for £960 at Christies, London in May 2006. Kenney Jones, formerly of the Small Faces and the Faces, replaced Moon and the group resumed touring. A film adaptation of Quadrophenia and the retrospective documentary The Kids Are Alright were released in 1979. The group continued recording, releasing Face Dances in 1981 and It’s Hard the following year, before breaking up. They occasionally re-formed for live appearances such as Live Aid in 1985, a 25th anniversary tour in 1989 and for a tour of Quadrophenia in 1996. Pictured left: The Who – A very rare concert poster Uxbridge Blues And Folk Festival, 19th June, 1965, artists include The Who, Marianne Faithfull, John Mayall, The Birds, Long John Baldry, Spencer Davis, Zoot Money, and others — 29x40in. (75×101.6cm.) Sold for £9,375 at Christies, London in June 2010. The Who resumed regular touring in 1999, with drummer Zak Starkey, to a positive response, and were considering the possibility of a new album, but these plans were stalled by Entwistle’s death in June 2002. Townshend and Daltrey elected to continue as the Who, releasing Endless Wire (2006), which reached the top ten in the UK and US. The group continued to play live regularly, including the Quadrophenia and More tour in 2012, before announcing in 2014 their intention to retire from touring following a new album and accompanying live shows ending the following year. Pictured right: This Japan Polydor 7″ 45 The Who Won’t Get Fooled Again / Don’t Know Myself DP 1817 sold for £819 on ebay in August 2014. With 50 years behind them many studio albums, live albums, many tours, numerous singles and ephemera, there is plenty for the collector to collect. Many of the international pressings of The Who’s albums can be more valuable than the UK pressings. Japanese pressings are of great interest to certain collectors. With the re-emergence of record players, there is once again an increased market for records.
Two birds flying high, A Chinese vessel, sailing by. A bridge with three men, sometimes four, A willow tree, hanging o’er. A Chinese temple, there it stands, Built upon the river sands. An apple tree, with apples on, A crooked fence to end my song. As one of the most renowned and fascinating of romantic fables, with its Shakespearean overtones of doomed love and tragedy, the Willow Pattern story is universally familiar. This timeless tale of star-crossed lovers appeals to the imagination whilst the intricate and decorative Willow Pattern itself has been hugely popular for centuries. This instantly recognisable pattern is a classic Chinese landscape design, the fundamentals of which include a weeping willow, pagodas, a crooked fence, a tree bearing fruit, three or four figures on a bridge, a boat and a pair of lovebirds forever kissing. Combining these elements, the long-established and poignant saga is revealed. In a bygone age a wealthy and powerful Mandarin of the Chinese Empire lived with his lovely daughter Knoon-se in a grand palace surrounded by ornate, exotic flowers and trees. Chang, a low born but intelligent and personable young man, was employed as secretary to the Mandarin and fell hopelessly in love with the exquisite and captivating Knoon-se. Reciprocating his affections, Knoon-se met with Chang each evening beneath a weeping willow tree by the river. The Mandarin learned of their trysts and, infuriated that his adored daughter had fallen in love with a commoner, dismissed Chang, banning him from the estate, while Knoon-se was imprisoned in a pavilion overlooking the river. He surrounded the palace grounds with a crooked fence and, against her wishes, arranged for Knoon-se to marry the warrior Duke Ta-jin. With no company apart from servants, Knoon-se befriended and fed many birds and, knowing that her wedding would take place once the fruit tree outside her window was in bloom, she stared desolately into the river, contemplating her isolation and despairing of her future without Chang. The devoted Chang, unaware of Knoon-se’s approaching nuptials, also cared for and spoke with birds while dreaming of ways to contact his lost love. [Here, versions of the legend differ; as some say that] Chang sent a message to his beloved by fixing a sail to a shell and floating it down the river bearing a love poem, “As this boat sails to thee, so my thoughts tend”, which Knoon-se scooped from the river with her parasol. Her spirits lifted as she read his words and knew that Chang would come for her. During the hours of darkness she replied unseen, adding a burning incense stick to the shell and warning Chang to “Gather thy blossom, ‘ere it be stolen”. Knoon-se watched the tiny light until it disappeared downstream and prayed for rescue. [Other versions claim that the lovesick couple communicated using their feathered friends as go-betweens.] The tree was heavy with bud and near to blossom as the Duke Ta-jin arrived amid great fanfare, accompanied by a huge retinue of servants. He presented his betrothed Knoon-se with a casket of r are and priceless jewels, but she could think of none other than Chang and gazed at her unwanted future husband with a heart of stone, her eyes dull with despair. Nights of celebration and sumptuous banquets followed. Chang entered the palace grounds disguised as a servant and glimpsed the Mandarin and Duke through a window, both sated and asleep. Seizing the moment, he crept to the riverside apartment where Knoon-se languished alone. The lovers embraced with tears of joy and, pausing only to grab the casket of jewels, fled across the bridge to a boat that Chang had moored nearby in readiness. Alas, a slight noise alerted the Mandarin and he gave chase. [At the height of this daring adventure, the Willow Pattern depicts Knoon-se on the bridge holding the Staff of Virginity, followed by Chang bearing the box of jewels with the Mandarin in hot pursuit, brandishing a whip. When the fourth figure is shown in the Willow Pattern this represents the Duke, desperate to recapture his fleeing bride-to-be and her lover.] Knoon-se and Chang sailed to a faraway land where they sold the jewels to purchase a small pagoda and lived in bliss, sharing the life they had yearned for through many seasons. [The Willow Pattern shows their distant pagoda surrounded by lush foliage.] In a fit of vengeful spite, the Mandarin captured and caged all the birds in his gardens, as birdsong was anathema to his ears. Relentlessly he and the Duke sent spies and warriors on long and unsuccessful quests to find the couple. Ultimately the brooding Mandarin, obsessed by his lost daughter and thwarted at every turn, chanced upon a possible solution. He released all the birds and ordered his men to follow them as they flew away. The devoted birds, who had never forgotten Knoon-se or Chang, unwittingly led the evil army straight to their far off dwelling. At the dead of night, murderous men surrounded the pagoda, setting it alight as Knoon-se and Chang slept. Tragically, the lovers perished in the flames. Revenge and bitterness had seemingly prevailed as the fire raged and engulfed all. Cosmic winds howled as the ever-watchful gods took pity on the doomed lovers and blessed their undying devotion by granting them immortality. From the charred ruins of their home, the souls of Knoon-se and Chang soared into the sky as turtledoves and kissed again; beyond fear, beyond danger, forever free and symbolising eternal love. The Legend of the Willow Pattern – as we know it – may have little substance as an ancient Chinese fable. An expert in Chinese History at Murdoch University in Western Australia suggests that the essence and outcome of our familiar version is at odds with imperial Chinese ethics and social order of the past. Differences of perception between East and West are illustrated here; as a similar Chinese allegory would be a cautionary tale of stupidity and deception – because Knoon-se disobeyed her […]
200 years of Frankenstein books, collectables and toys With the 200th Anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, what better time than to look the work that still inspires new editions, collectables and toys. Authored by Mary Shelley (30 August 1797 – 1 February 1851) when she was just 19 years old, Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus was first published in London in 1818 to a mixed reception. Frankenstein tells the story of gifted scientist Victor Frankenstein who succeeds in giving life to a being of his own creation. However, this is not the perfect specimen he imagines that it will be, but rather a hideous creature who is rejected by Victor and mankind in general. The Monster seeks its revenge through murder and terror. The book is much more complex than the modern re-workings and films that most of us know the story through and is Number 8 in The Guardians Top 100 Best Novels. The first edition of Frankenstein was published in three volumes on New Year’s Day 1818, anonymously and dedicated to William Godwin. The Shelley’s Ghost exhibition at the Bodleian says of the book “According to When Shelley sent the fair copy manuscript of the novel to the publishers, Shelley made clear that it was not his work, but did not reveal who the author was: ‘I ought to have mentioned that the novel which I sent you is not my own production, but that of a friend who not being at present in England cannot make the correction you suggest. As to any mere inaccuracies of language I should feel myself authorized to amend them when revising proofs.’ Nevertheless, when they saw the dedication to Godwin some readers, including Sir Walter Scott, speculated that Shelley was the author.” (Details of the Shelley’s Ghost exhibition are still available online and includes information on not only Mary Shelley and her drafts of Frankenstein but also Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft – visit https://shelleysghost.bodleian.ox.ac.uk for more details). The first edition of 1818 was issued in an edition of just 500. A second edition appeared in 1822 to cash in on the success of a stage version, Presumption. A third edition, extensively revised, came out in 1831. For collectors the ultimate would be a first edition but this is one of rarest and most valuable books. Very few Frankenstein first editions come to market: a rebound first edition sold for $58,000 in April 2017 at Heritage Auctions. The most exciting edition to come to market was an edition actually inscribed to Lord Byron himself. The edition was presented to market by Peter Harrington Rare Books – the exact sale price is unknown but expected to be in excess of £350,000. Early editions of the book are sort after especially the third edition in October 1831 which included a new 8-page introduction by the author, and was issued with the first part of Schiller’s The Ghost-Seer! as volume 9 of Bentley’s ‘Standard Novels’. This was also the first single edition as well as the first illustrated edition. A very good clean copy was sold by Forum Auctions in May 2017 for £2,600. For many people the Frankenstein that they recognise is from the 1931 film of the same name, where Boris Karloff played the monster. The Frankenstein horror monster film from Universal Pictures was directed by James Whale and adapted from the play by Peggy Webling. The movie stars Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles and Karloff, and features Dwight Frye and Edward van Sloan. The Webling play was adapted by John L. Balderston and the screenplay written by Francis Edward Faragoh and Garrett Fort with uncredited contributions from Robert Florey and John Russell. The make-up artist was Jack Pierce. A hit with both audiences and critics, the film was followed by multiple sequels and has become arguably the most iconic horror film in history. The iconic posters and lobby cards from the movie are amongst the most collectable and expensive of all the Frankenstein items. In 2015 the most valuable Frankenstein movie poster ever sold at public auction by Heritage Auctions. The poster was found in a long closed and boarded-up projection booth in a Long Island theater and is the only 6-foot example from the 1931 Universal horror classic known to exist. The poster sold for an amazing $358,000 (click for more details on the poster). The same company also sold another rare 1931 Frankenstein poster for $262,900 (click for more details on the poster). Although the 1931 movie version of Frankenstein is iconic one that most merchandise and collectables are based on, the first Frankenstein film adaptation was made by Edison Studios in 1910 and written and directed by J. Searle Dawley, with Charles Ogle as the Monster. The brief (16 min.) story has Frankenstein chemically create his creature in a vat. The monster haunts the scientist until Frankenstein’s wedding night, when true love causes the creature to vanish. For many years, this film was believed lost. The Edison version was followed soon after by another adaptation entitled Life Without Soul (1915), directed by Joseph W. Smiley, starring William A. Cohill as Dr. William Frawley, a modern-day Frankenstein who creates a soulless man, played to much critical praise by Percy Standing, who wore little make-up in the role. The film was shot at various locations around the United States, and reputedly featured much spectacle. In the end, it turns out that a young man has dreamed the events of the film after falling asleep reading Mary Shelley’s novel. This film is now considered a lost film. There was also at least one European film version, the Italian Il Mostro di Frankenstein (“The Monster of Frankenstein”) in 1921. The film’s producer Luciano Albertini essayed the role of Frankenstein, with the creature being played by Umberto Guarracino, and Eugenio Testa directing from a screenplay by Giovanni Drivetti. The film is also now considered a lost film. (Source Wikipedia). Frankenstein has featured in hundreds of films since 1931. My favourites would be those featuring Abbot t and Costello and the films by Hammer. The Frankenstein Hammer films included The Curse of […]