Master Mind (sometimes Mastermind) is a classic strategy game that has been around for decades. The game was invented in 1970 by Mordecai Meirowitz, a Israeli-American engineer. Meirowitz was inspired by an old Chinese game called Bulls and Cows, which is thought to date back to the 12th century. He created Master Mind as a more challenging and engaging version of Bulls and Cows. In its first decade of production over 30 million copies were sold. We take a look at the history of the game and some of the variations made over the years. The object of the game is to correctly guess the sequence of colored pegs used by your opponent. The first player to do so wins the game. Over the years, Master Mind has been released in many variations including Royale Mastermind, Grand Mastermind, Super Mastermind, Word Mastermind, Mini Mastermind and even an Electronic Mastermind. The games varied in a number of ways including the number of colours and versions for more than two people. Junior version were also released including Mastermind for Kids featuring a Jungle Animal theme. Who were the couple of the box of Master Mind box The Master Mind box cover design is iconic and is probably one of the most recognisable of all time. The photo features a mysterious, beautiful Asian lady standing next to bearded man wearing a suit. The pair are in front of what appears to be a glass topped table, so there reflection appears at the bottom of the box. Is the man a rich, powerful Master Mind challenging people from the cover to crack his code? Is the lady an expert gazing at us with a condescending look questioning our expertise? Or were they in fact Bill Woodward, the owner of a chain of Leicester hair salons, and Celia Fung a computer science student at the University of Leicester. They were both approached off the street for the campaign and the result is the iconic image we all associate with the Mastermind game. Bill Woodward was to appear in many of the covers of the later versions of the game. The game was released internationally and the cover did vary in other countries with other people used, but the lady standing and man sitting remained constant for many of these releases. The Disney Master Mind There was even a Walt Disney Master Mind created by Invicta Games in 1978. It uses Disney characters instead of colours. The cover features a castle with Disney characters including Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pinnochio and Geppetto. Once again Bill Woodward is on the cover sitting in a chair and beckoning the Disney posse. In this cover he is a less mysterious and wear a light grey suit. In this version we have to Help Mickey and his friends escape from the magic castle in the sky Disney Master Mind valuation / price guide A fine to near mint version in box £20-£30 / $24-$36 Today, it remains one of the most popular strategy games in the world. Thanks to its simple yet intriguing gameplay, Master Mind is a timeless classic that will continue to be enjoyed for years to come. Related Cunning and Logic: The International Imagery of ‘Mastermind’ The Mysterious Origins of Mastermind, the Codebreaking Board Game
The rise of the cult of wine, the growth of the British middle classes in the 18th century and the fact that the dining-room had become the most important room in the house meant that every architect and designer of the time gave a great deal of attention to its decoration and furnishing. As Robert Adam FRSE FRS FSA (Scot) FSA FRSA (3 July 1728 – 3 March 1792) pointed out, the “eating room” was a place ·where the gentlemen, at least, spent a great deal of their time, and its “elegance and splendour” had to be beyond question. The period was one of hard drinking in which comfort and enjoyment were catered for in every possible way. There were special tables, sideboards, and receptacles designed to ensure that liquor was both adequate in quantity and fit to drink. Then, as now, some wines had to be iced, some chilled, and some kept at room temperature, and wine coolers for these purposes were made in many beautiful styles and of many different materials. There is often some confusion between the definitions of what is a wine cistern or cellarette and what is a wine cooler, particularly as they are often very similar in appearance. The cellarette was intended as the name implies to hold a supplemental supply of wine, and was of course kept in the dining-room. It was furnished with a lid and almost invariably it had a lock and key, but it is important to remember that coolers also were sometimes lidded, although in that case they were often fitted with taps in order that the melted ice (from the ice-house) might be drawn off. The available storage space, in shape octagonal , hexagonal, oval, round, or bombe was supplied with a shelf pierced with round holes or else divided into rectangular compartments, and more elaborate examples were fitted with provision for wine glasses in the lid, trays for glasses, and even spaces for decanters and punch bowls. The earliest cellarettes were made in the late seventeenth century, but their popularity reached its peak in Georgian times, when they were designed to stand beneath the side tables that preceded sideboards. They were then usually fitted with castors. Even when about 1780 sideboards were made with fitted cellarette cupboards, the available restricted space was supplemented by separate articles, and a particularly fine example, hooped with brass, partitioned, and lead-lined, is illustrated in Hepplewhite’s Guide. Specimens made of light coloured mahogany and decorated with inlay and stringing were probably made to match sideboards, and are on the whole comparatively late in date. The earliest silver coolers were often very large and heavy, circular or oval in shape, and made to stand on the floor. Such pieces are naturally extremely rare, though not so rare as their predecessors, some as early as the fifteenth century that were made of marble, copper , bronze, or other metals. Generally speaking coolers were designed to match dining room furniture, particularly as regards their legs, which were in the contemporary style of the chairs. Every designer had his own ideas. Adam advocated the use of ormolu mounts in the form of festoons, banding, and satyr heads on either mahogany or rosewood. Chippendale’s “Director” suggests that a cooler should be “made in parts and joined with brasswork,” or even cut from solid wood or marble, while Sheraton (apparently making no distinction between cellarettes and coolers) preferred the sarcophagus style that was so popular in Regency years. Many coolers, though not strictly “cooper made,” were made to imitate his work, and were probably inspired by the humble oaken tub of the butler’s pantry, the iron hoops being replaced by two brass, copper, or silver ones. For easy handling drop ring handles were fitted, usually with lion’s head back plates. In both cellarettes and coolers there are many variations of the ordinary tub shape, mostly differing in detail. We find rare pieces in which two splats are carried upwards above the rim to form pierced or carved handles instead of the usual metal ones, and some have legs which continue upwards outside the splats, and which are reeded or carved to form an effective decorative feature. The legs and the stands provide endless variety and are held by their design to indicate possible date. When the legs are built in the result is stability, but stands are often separate. Instead of legs, especially on the much larger nineteenth century pieces, we sometimes see short bracket or claw feet, though even the bulky sarcophagus form may have rather incongruous cabriole legs. Scroll or ball and claw feet indicate a mid-eighteenth century origin, and on particularly fine pieces the knees of the appropriate cabriole legs are sometimes elaborately carved or fitted with ormolu mounts. A little later came the Chippendale style of square-sectioned legs, with or without the typical C brackets at the joining of the legs to the top of the stand. The so-called Hepplewhite cooler of about 1785 features tapered, often out-sloping legs fitted with metal shoes, and we should expect to find inlaid decoration upon one in Sheraton style. Cellarettes and coolers have many relations. A useful piece of dining-room furniture, probably of Irish origin and now rarely seen, was the wine waiter, a tall case on stand partitioned for bottles and fitted with castors. It was intended to stand beside the dining table, and so served a rather different purpose from either the cellarette or the cooler, as did a form of dumb waiter included in Sheraton’s ” Cabinet Dictionary ” of 1803 intended , so the description reads, ” for use in the dining parlour on which to place glasses of wine, both clean and such as have been used.” Then there are the coolers as we know and use them to-day, intended to hold single bottles, made either of silver or some kind of plate. These urn or vase shaped vessels have two handles but no lids, and being intended partly as side-table ornaments […]
The Lotus Pottery bull is a design by potter Elizabeth Skipworth, that was produced in the 1960s and 1970s. The design is based on the ancient Chinese art of pottery and features a stylized bull with intricate patterns on its body. The bull was glazed with the main colour being an olive-green which was popular at the time. Other glaze colours included blue and rarely white. Patterns on the bull included most commonly flowers but also petal, leaf, circles, foliate seaweed and spirals. The bull was made in four sizes from 12.5cm (5 inches) to 32.5cm (5 inches). The Lotus Pottery Bull is glazed in a deep blue color, and the bottom of the pottery is stamped with the Lotus Pottery logo. A few a wax resist design to expose the red clay body with patterns including spiral and flower. The bull is considered to be one of Skipworth’s most iconic designs, and it has been reproduced by several different companies over the years. The Lotus Pottery Bull Price Guide / Value Guide Although these look fantastic and are a design icon most of the bulls only sell for £10-£20 / $12-$24. Rarer blue and white glazes sell for up to £40 / $48. Size does not make too much difference, so the main difference is price is colour and pattern.
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 […]
Collecting Horse Brasses. The use of horse brass dates back to the pre-Roman period with a complete set of horse trappings with amulets, found in North Africa in 1932. Although the early forms were mostly made of bronze, some have been discovered made of silver, or gold inlaid and inset with semi-precious stones, those of brass belong to a much more recent period. Just when these brass ornaments began is a matter of conjecture, but it is recognised that they are more or less replicas of trappings that were used in pagan times, before the Christian era. Pictured left: A Collection of Victorian and Later Horse Brasses – Late 19th and Early 20th Century – Comprising one large leather strap with a crowned ‘W’ brass above a column of four single brasses; one long strap with four brasses; four small straps with brass studs and single pendant brasses; eight brasses mounted on leather backings; thirty two loose brasses including an 1882 ploughing prize brass and an 1887 jubilee brass; three swing brass finials, two loose buttons and a leather purse. Sold for £625 at Christies, London , January 2009. Brass was not made in England until the reign of Queen Elizabeth the First, and brass casting which was introduced in the seventeenth century, was not utilised for small objects until a hundred years later. The early hammered pendants of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are so rare, that they are highly prized. Horse brasses therefore came into general use about the time of the Napoleonic wars, and were prominently displayed on state occasions, and at festivals, fairs and other happenings of English life. In the coastal areas and Scotland, brasses were often made of nickel as the salt air affected the brass. Pictured right: A Collection of Horse Brasses 19th/20th century – Including examples depicting animals, the coronation of George V and Elizabeth II, together with eleven books relating to collecting horse brasses. Sold for £120 at Christis, London, December 2006. Silver was also used in the manufacture of the “brasses” and used mainly by the wealthy to display family crests or initials. Later horse brasses were cast in moulds or stamping from a sheet of brass. Casting was the earlier method and the studs or getts were used to remove the finished piece from the mould and then attach to the leather or file down. Often the cast brasses have the remains of these getts still showing. Many reproduction brasses also have the impressions of the old studs as an integral part of their manufacture. Pictured left: A quantity of horse brass face-pieces and mounted leather martingales, late 19th or early 20th century comprising; various pierced designs some commemorating Queen Victoria’s 1897 Jubliee and Edward VII’s coronation, other emblems including the geometic sun, crescent moon, the prancing horse, the Prince of Wales feathers, elephant and castle; a quantity of flyterret’s and saddle flyer’s; a selection of brass mounted leather martingale’s and other leather straps. Sold for £823 at Christies, London, July 2003. Horse brasses were used for both decoration and for protection for the horses. Horses were very important and their owners believed that the early amulet designs of the brasses kept evil spirits from harming the horses who were unable to protect themselves. The earliest designs were symbols and shapes which had specific meanings to ward off the evil and to bring good luck. Tradition has it that the ancient Greeks and Romans considered the crescent moon as a sign of good luck. From this belief thousands of horse trappings have borne this device. The sun god whose countenance was revered and held in awe by the ancient Persians who often sacrificed a horse in its honour, was most popular as a symbol. Many of the oldest horse brasses depict the stars, after the manner and belief of the Three Wise Men, who relied on one for guidance. Others include mythological motifs including the sacred lotus and the lyre of Apollo. Pictured right: A Group Of Twenty-Two English Horse Brasses, late 19th/early 20th century, of various shapes and sizes now mounted in a giltwood frame – frame: 18in. (45cm.) high, 63in. (160cm.) wide (22). Sold for $1,673 at Christies, New York, October 2003. British horse brass designs included: bull’s head with horns, and the horse, either rampant or passant on the Saxon banner. Clubs, hearts, diamonds and spades in their turn have all been made use of on brasses. Only occasionally are seen brasses in the shape of crosses unless they are of modern make. Any old pendants bearing this Christian sign are presumed to have survived from the days of the Canterbury pilgrims. Later the brasses began to portray more obvious designs and represent current subjects and events, often grouped together on leather straps to tell a “story” about the owner or his trade. Pictured left: A large collection of horse brasses – length of longest strap 20in. Sold for $183 at Bonhams, Los Angelese, Feb, 2010. Farmers would have agricultural objects like a tree, an owl or barnyard fowl. Some brasses would illustrate, the marks if various trades, when churns, barrels and even a railway engine would be rep-resented. It should be realised, however, that there is a subtle difference between old brasses and those of today. Early types were worked by craftsmen who used solid plate and faithfully reproduced exact replicas of horse brasses which had been used from time immemorial, and rarely did they deviate from the traditional designs. Pictured right: A quantity of 19th and 20th century brass horse brasses to include RSPCA merit brasses from 1927, 28, 29 & 33, a London Cart Horse Parade brass 1907 and assorted others. Sold for £192 at Bonhams, February 2008. Horse brasses have often been employed to indicate the calling of the owner. On farms of titled gentry, this fact would be shown by brasses bearing the family crest or some heraldic device such as a bear, lion, unicorn or elephant; in hunting circles the stag, fox or hound would be appropriate. The demand for horse brasses parallels the use of the […]
The Dean’s family had founded their book publishing business in 1711 and during the next 200 years or so, prospered greatly. In 1902, one of the Deans family, a certain Captain Henry Samuel Dean, together with a fellow director of the firm had produced a rag book. This was a fairly simple affair – a single colour print (except for the cover which had two colours) on calico. It had the benefit that when soiled by a child, it could be washed rather than expensively replaced. It was offered to the Edwardian nannies of the day at a cost of 5 shillings (between £40 and £50 today) and proved an instant success. On the back of this single marketing sample, The Dean’s Rag Book Company Ltd. was formed in 1903 with its manufacturing unit in Fleet Street, London. Diversification followed and rag books in all sizes were made – and in colour. Photograph Albums, postcard albums, cut-out doll sheets, kites, blow-up toys and rag dolls were just some items produced over the next ten years. At the outbreak of the First World War in September 1914, Dean’s, like many other firms in the burgeoning toy industry tried to make good the shortage of imported toys from Germany and Austria and in 1915, produced its ‘Kuddlemee’ catalogue which contained illustrations of 3 mohair bears. We know of no-one who has seen these bears in recent times. Pictured left is Master Bruno – c.1915. In 1917, moulded faced dolls were produced for the first time and over the next 20 years, the Dean’s Rag Book Company Ltd. grew to a position of prominence in the British toy industry. Character merchandise began to appear – Dismal Desmond in 1926, Mickey Mouse in 1930 and were followed by Pluto, Goofy, Lucky Oswald, Popeye and others. Pictured right are Mickey Mouse Toys from the 1930’s. Dean’s were involved in the war effort during World War II and it took some while to return to former glories. However, by 1954, the Dean’s range was once more comprehensive and now featuring bears and gollies as never before. Pictured left is Nigel – c.1937. The Company moved to Rye in Sussex in 1955 and in 1972, to Pontypool in South Wales. In the 1980s, the introduction of cheaper toys from the Far East made it impossible to to carry on as before. Pictured right is Welsh Lady – 1996. The husband and wife team of Neil and Barbara Miller who had bought the Company in 1988 began to introduce Limited Edition bears to their range in 1991 for the British market. (Some bears had been made earlier in the 1980s specifically for the U.S. market) The production of collector bears soon overtook toy production with the last rag book being produced in 1997. Pictured left is Harry, the 2012 Dean’s Club membership bear. Harry is in fact the 18th member of the Dean’s Collectors Club. Harry’s mohair is supplied by Schulte, and is specially commisioned for Dean’s. The mohair is a corn gold colour and has a ratinee finish which we think gives him much more character. He is fully jointed and has black eyes. His pads are made from a camel coloured suedette material and his right foot has the Dean’s Rag Book label and his certificate is numbered. The Millers, now aided by their son, Robin, have once more steered Dean’s to a position of prominence – this time in the Collector Bear market. Not only do the Miller family now design the range (Artist Showcase excepted), they also do their own photography, catalogues, brochures and now their Internet site themselves – a truly family concern. The Dean’s Collectors Club membership benefits include a copy of the current years Dean’s catalogue, a lapel pin, a pen, and regular magazines and updates.
Pomp, Pre-Fabs And Poodles – Dolls in The 1950s by Sue Brewer Just as a black and white film explodes into technicolour, this decade dawned grey, but ended in dazzling colour. This eventful ten years gave young people more power that ever before, and propelled Britons into a completely new lifestyle. Though the war had ended five years previously, many goods were in short supply and some rationing was still in force. Bomb sites scarred many areas, and thousands dwelt in ‘pre-fabs’ – prefabricated buildings designed as emergency accommodation for those who had lost their homes during the bombing. Britain needed something to cheer her up, and the Festival Of Britain was a great start. Held in 1951, on London’s Southbank alongside the Thames, and dominated by the Dome of Discovery, it featured all that was new in design. Towering above the site was the Skylon, a delicately-shaped edifice which was illuminated at night, and which entranced me as a child. Millions of people thronged the festival, which spilled over into nearby Battersea Park. One of the great attractions there was the Guinness clock, a marvellous timepiece which featured toucans and other creatures popping out of windows and doors on the quarter-hour. Ideas seen at the exhibition gradually filtered through into people’s lives – geometrical designs were in vogue, bright colours, and, conversely, black and white patterns. The most famous 1950s ceramics’ range is probably ‘Homemaker’, which featured black and white drawings of coffee tables, cutlery, settees and lamps. Homemaker, designed by Enid Seeney, was made by Ridgway and sold in Woolworths stores throughout the country in the mid-fifties. Black pottery ‘African’ hands and figurines were in vogue, as was formica, spindly-legged furniture, coloured ‘atom’ knobs on small fixtures, ballet scenes on crockery, open-plan living, and poodles on everything! In 1953, patriotism was truly to the fore – Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in Westminster Abbey. Union Jacks fluttered from lamp posts, commemorative mugs were give to school children, and street parties were held throughout the country. Young and old sat down to enjoy cakes, sandwiches and jellies, and to raise a toast to her Majesty in tea or lemonade. People crowded the front rooms of those fortunate enough to own television sets to watch the beautiful young Queen ride in a fairytale coach along the Mall from the palace, and to see the Archbishop of Canterbury place the crown upon her head in Westminster Abbey. For one lady, Peggy Nisbet, the Coronation proved a career change when she was inspired to dress small dolls which were sold through the prestigious Harrods store. Little could she have known that those small dolls would be the start of a huge concern, which would go on to produce millions of Peggy Nisbet costume dolls over the next three decades. Naturally, other manufacturers jumped aboard the bandwagon, most notably Pedigree Toys, who issued an 14 inch hard plastic doll called Little Princess. Th is doll had blonde, curly hair, just like the toddler Princess Anne, and her outfit was designed by Norman Hartnell, the man responsible for the Coronation gown. Pedigree also issued a ‘Bonnie Charlie’ doll, presumably modelled on Prince Charles, and a slender, teen-type called Elizabeth. All these dolls are very much sought-after today by collectors. Hard plastic was extensively used in the world of doll manufacturing for much of the 1950s. Developed during the war, it was enthusiastically embraced by toy makers, being light, colourful and cheap to produce. It rapidly replaced the older-style composition dolls, and many beauties were made during this time. Towards the end of the decade, however, an even more revolutionary product, soft vinyl, was introduced. Vinyl enabled the hair to be rooted directly into the head, and didn’t crack when it was dropped. Soon vinyl replaced the hard plastic, though for a time, dolls often sported vinyl heads on hard plastic bodies as the new machinery was expensive to install. Barbie, the most successful doll of all time, made her debut in America in 1959, created by Ruth Handler. This sophisticated curvy teen in her black and white striped bathing costume, was a sensation, though she was scarcely known in Britain until the 1970s. Girls in the United Kingdom were less mature than their American counterparts, and although teen dolls were gradually arriving, they were softer-featured and tended to wear the everyday fashions of the time – flared skirts, blouses, smart coats and dainty hats. Even in their early teens, girls still read ‘Girl’ comic, filled with colourful comic strip adventures featuring nurses, schoolgirls or ballet dancers – children were unsophisticated in those days. Palitoy issued a tie-in ‘Girl’ doll, who wore a white dress patterned with the logo of the comic. Her knickers and hair-ribbon bore the same motif while her belt had a plastic ‘Girl’ head as a buckle. At the beginning of the decade, teen girls dressed like their mothers, often wearing twin-sets and pearls, but as the fifties progressed, they rebelled. Permed hair gave way to ponytails, and skirts were full, often with layers of net or ‘paper nylon’ petticoats beneath. ‘Pedal-pusher’ trousers, which ended at mid-calf. were in vogue for a while, as were ‘sloppy Joe’ sweaters, but, on the whole, girls still had a very feminine look – the love-affair with blue denim was not, as yet, widespread. Music-wise, Rock ‘n’ Roll was in – Bill Haley and Elvis Presley were listened to on large 78 rpm records which broke when they were dropped. However, Britain had its own teen stars too, especially Tommy Steele who appeared on the ‘6.5 Special’ tv programme every Saturday, rocking to the music. Teddy Boys loved Rock ‘n’ Roll, and wore narrow drainpipe trousers, long jackets and winklepicker shoes, combing their hair into a quiff. Skiffle groups, who performed on guitars, washboards and broom handles affixed to tea-chests, were also extremely popular. As the decade progressed, television grew to play a large part in people’s lives; programmes were followed so avidly that […]
Baccarat Paperweights Baccarat Crystal is a manufacturer of fine crystal glassware located in Baccarat, France. The Musée Baccarat, on the Place des États-Unis in Paris, displays many of its finest productions. Pictured: A very rare Baccarat concentric millefiori `fireworks’ paperweight circa 1848, it was made specifically to commemorate the French Revolution of 1848. This brilliant object is one of only two examples of this type known. Image Copyright: Bonhams. History 1764-1816 In 1764 King Louis XV of France gave permission to found a glassworks in the town of Baccarat in the Lorraine region in eastern France to Prince Bishop Cardinal Louis-Joseph de Laval-Montmorency (1761-1802). Production consisted of window panes, mirrors and stemware until 1816 when the first crystal oven went into operation. By that time over 3000 workers were employed at the site. 1817-1867 Baccarat received its first royal commission in 1823. This began a lengthy line of commissions for royalty and heads of state throughout the world. In 1855 Baccarat won its first gold medal at the World’s Fair in Paris. Pictured: A Baccarat spaced concentric millefiori weight and a Baccarat spray weight mid 19th century and 20th century, the second with stencilled mark. The first enclosing a central cane encircled with six others including three silhouettes of a goat, a cockerel and a dog, within an outer circlet of canes; the second with a spray of white lilies with orange stamens and green leaves on a white honeycomb-ground. Sold for £900, May 2006, Christies, London. Baccarat first began marking its work with a registered mark in 1860. The mark was a label affixed to the bot tom of the work. In the period 1846-1849 Baccarat signed some of their high quality glass paperweights with the letter B and the year date in a composite cane. A special paperweight dated 1853 was found under the cornerstone of a bomb damaged church in Baccarat when construction recommenced after World War 2. The crystal production expanded its scope throughout this period, and Baccarat built a worldwide reputation for making quality stemware, chandeliers, barware, and perfume bottles. 1867-1936 The Imperial Era ended in 1867 with the defeat of Napoléon III. Influences outside of France began to have a stronger influence on Baccarat’s work during this era, particularly imports from Japan. Strong growth continued in Asia for Baccarat. One of the strongest production areas for Baccarat was perfume bottles, and by 1907 production was over 4000 bottles per day. Pictured: A Baccarat dated carpet ground weight signed and dated on a single cane ‘b1848’ The clear glass set with assorted scattered brightly coloured millefiori canes, including animal silhouettes of a stag, a peahen, a horse, an elephant, a butterfly, a cockerel, and a monkey, set on a ground of red and white canes, some with blue star centers. Sold for $13,145, October 2004, Christies, New York. In 1936 Baccarat began marking all of its works via acid or sandblasting. 1936—Present Baccarat created an American subsidiary in 1948 in New York City. By 2007 there were stores in Chicago; Costa Mesa; Dallas; Houston; Greenwich, Connecticut; Honolulu; New York; Troy, Michigan; San Francisco; Palm Desert, California; Las Vegas; and Atlantic City. A 12th location is set to open in Atlanta in 2010. A retrospective was held in 1964 at the Louvre Museum to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the crystal works. In 1993 Baccarat began making jewelry and in 1997 the company expanded into perfume. 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.
Bonzo is probably the most popular character collected from the 1920’s right through to present day. A strange looking creature with a pudgy face and bright blue eyes he has appeared on everything from postcards through to toffee tins. I felt the urge to find out what made this little dog one of the top collectors items on the market and why he was so envied by all in his day. Pictured – George Studdy, Bonzo’s creator. Image courtesy of Richard Fitzpatrick. George Studdy, Bonzo’s creator was born on 23rd June 1878 in Devonport, Plymouth. He had one older sister and a younger brother and all were brought up in a strict household due to their father Ernest Studdy, being a lieutenant in the 32nd Regiment, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Ernest was hopeful that one of his sons would also follow a military career but due to an injury to his foot George’s life took a completely different path. His Aunt was aware that George had a love for art and gifted him £100 to start him on his way. He attended evening classes at Heatherley’s Art School and also one term at Calderon’s Animal School where he studied animal anatomy. He began to put a portfolio together and was then able to sell some of his sketches to publications and make a little money for himself. Comic Cuts was the first ever publication to buy his work on a regular basis and this was the start of George building up his client base amongst the Fleet Street publishers. Pictured – The Bonzo Book. By 1912 George’s reputation was formidable as a cartoonist and had illustrations appearing in all sorts of publications from “The Tatler” to “The Sketch”. An odd little dog kept appearing in his illustrations but it was not until 1918 when the editor of “The Sketch” became interested in what was known as “The Studdy Dog” that this little character really began to develop. Changing from recognised breeds over the years this little dog began to take on the form of a more cartoon character appearance, a mischievous pup he really caught the hearts of all the readers but there was one thing missing – his name! After receiving a host of letters from readers asking when this pup’s name was going to be divulged. The Editor of “The Sketch” Bruce Ingram, made the decision in 1922 and announced to the world that that this dog was called “Bonzo” and changed Studdy’s weekly illustration from “This Week’s Studdy” to “This Week’s Bonzo” thus the first official appearance of the cute little pup as we know and love him today. George and his wife Blanche had a daughter Vivienne who appeared in some of these sketches alongside Bonzo but she was not always happy with the end result especially when “Heads I win” was published. It wasn’t the fact that a little girl was crying against the wall with a headless doll in her hands and Bonzo grinning with a dolls head in his mouth that upset her but the fact that her knickers were showing and her socks were half way down her legs “I would never had looked that dishevelled!” she told her father. Pictured – A collection of various Bonzo soft toys. Image courtesy of Richard Fitzpatrick. Bonzo went from strength to strength and was in huge demand. Other publications wanted him on board and he was a regular image on various advertisements. He even appeared in neon lights in London’s Piccadilly Circus. The little pup began to pop up everywhere and so also did a host of Bonzo merchandise. Items such as scent bottles; plates, ashtrays and condiment sets were just the tip of the merchandise iceberg. Every toy shop in the country had Bonzo Toys that were made by both Chad Valley and Deans Rag Book Company. George was producing hundreds of postcards, which was the strongest market and today are collected all over the world. Bonzo even stared in 26 films for which George and ten other artists had to illustrate thousands of drawings, these ten minute films were released during 1924 and 1925. Sadly “The Sketch” finally made the decision to give poor little tired Bonzo a holiday after over 5 years of publication – this was to be his final appearance in the newspaper although George returned with other characters such as Ooloo! in 1929. Although he was no longer in “The Sketch” his image appeared in the countless postcards published by Valentines of Dundee and Dean’s published him in many Bonzo books from 1935. George Studdy sadly passed away in 1948 but the Annuals continued to be published up until 1952 other artists were used but the quality was no where near as good so Bonzo too was laid to rest Pictured – A modern enamelled badge. This was originally made by Richard Dennis to accompany the publication of The Bonzo Book by Paul Babb & Gay Owen. The badge has proved so popular with collectors that the Richard Dennis company still makes it today. Image courtesy of Richard Fitzpatrick. This strange little dog was part of people’s lives for over 30 years and is still very much part of collectors lives today. Anything associated with him now commands high prices on the secondary market especially the more unusual items. “Bonzo The Life and Work of George Studdy” is published by Richard Dennis Publications and written by Paul Babb and Gay Owen. Both are avid collectors of this little character and Paul explained to me that it was Studdy’s humour that made Bonzo such an interesting item to collect. The rarest items in Paul’s collection are original artwork and paintings that he acquired at an auction many years ago when illustrators were not so sought after or highly regarded as today. There are so many different pieces of merchandise to collect but one of the most sought after items by collectors is the Bonzo toffee tins manufactured by […]
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!