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The distinctive designs of Elsa Schiaparelli can only be described as outrageous and ironic, and yet these innovative creations infused the romance of art together with the spirit of surrealism. With the ability to make fun, yet sophisticated, garments, worn by the likes of Mrs Wallis Simpson, The Duchess of Windsor, Schiaparelli’s innovative designs have inevitably secured her the title of being one of the most respected iconic fashion designers of the 20th Century. Born in Rome on 10th September 1890, to a well-to-do family, Schiaparelli originally studied philosophy. She married young, moved to New York and gave birth to her baby girl, Marisa, but unfortunately the marriage broke down when her husband left her, so together with her daughter, Schiaparelli returned to Europe and settled in Paris. With no profession and penniless, Schiaparelli wanted to become a scriptwriter but found herself working within the fashion industry. This was to mark the beginning of a long and successful career, and it became her lifelong passion. In 1928 Schiaparelli designed her first garment. A black jersey with white trompe l’oeil bow, it was noticed by a department store buyer who immediately placed a large order. It was at that point that Schiaparelli realised her life would be devoted to fashion and she opened a studio in Paris. By 1933 her designs were being compared with the work of her counterpart Coco Chanel. A great rivalry grew between the two iconic 1930s’ fashion designers and Chanel’s envy seeped through when being asked about the work of the Italian Designer. Undeterred by this, Schiaparelli opened a shop in London and then took over Madam Cheruit’s fashion house at Place Vendome in Paris, renaming it after herself. Concentrating on clothing that was ironic yet provocative, she wanted women to stand out and attract attention, which is why she began to take an interest in surrealist artists such as Salvador Dali, Man Ray and Jean Cocteau. Although she became firmly part of the Surrealism set, a special relationship was formed with Salvador Dali, as she found great inspiration from his work, and it was Dali in 1937, who came up with the idea for the outrageous “Shoe” hat. This inspired Schiaparelli to create many more flamboyant hats including the “Lamb Chop” which was worn by Daisy Fellowes, the Singer sewing machine heiress. Another collaboration between Schiaparelli and Dali was for the famous “Lobster” dress worn by the Duchess of Windsor, Mrs Simpson. As with all of Schiaparelli’s designs this dress was made for fun and had the element of amusement by featuring a large red lobster. Although her career in the fashion industry began predominantly with designing clothing ranges, as with any designer of this time, Schiaparelli started to look to other areas within the fashion industry, one such being, costume jewellery. She believed that jewellery was an art form within itself and as with her clothing created quirky and unusual pieces. Very different to the designs of her contemporary counterparts, the launch of the “Shocking Pink” collection in 1936 again showed Schiaparelli instilling her own injection of surrealism. This vibrant colour was something completely different as women still tended to wear the “little black dress” and her collection of jewellery along with cosmetic ranges was worlds apart from the otherwise contemporary designs of this time. Launched in a blast of advertising campaigns the “Shocking Pink” collection was quite obviously surrealism lead, with an advertisement depicting a typical surrealism image indicating that Schiaparelli always wore her heart on her sleeve. The “Shocking Pink” jewellery ranges included a “Lava Rock Necklace” with shocking pink lava stones which today would cost between £400-£500. Aside from the jewellery, another of Schiaparelli’s most collected areas has to be her innovative perfume bottles. She created many scents with the first being “Shocking” which was launched in 1936. The bottle was designed in the form of a female torso, which had been inspired by the hourglass shape of Mae West, a 1930s film star, for whom Schiaparelli designed clothes. These bottles are now highly sought after and range in price from £250 upwards. Another scent, “Zut”, released in the 1940s has a bottle shaped as a woman’s legs with a skirt around the ankle. Looking at these early innovative 1930s’ designs, it is quite obvious where today’s designer, Jean Paul Gaultier, gains inspiration for his highly collected scent bottles shaped like male and female torsos. In 1940 Schiaparelli fled from the Nazi Occupation in France and took refuge from World War II in New York. She refused to design any clothes until France was liberated and only returned to Paris in 1945, once the war was over, to re-open her fashion boutique. However, since the end of the war her avant-garde creations were no longer popular and so she returned to New York to set up her first Readyto- Wear boutique. By 1954 she decided it was time to close down her boutique in Paris and so held her final fashion show and then ceased production. She returned to live in New York in order to concentrate on her costume jewellery designs. During the 1950s Schiaparelli designed some gorgeous abstract pieces of jewellery using colourful glass and stones. These today are much easier to find than her earlier 1930s’ pieces and are all marked with her signature – although as with any top designer there are fakes on the market, so only buy from reputable dealers. Prices range from £400 for a paste bracelet to £1,000 for a set consisting of earrings, bracelet and pin made from lava rock stones, faux pearls and cabochons. Combining art with fashion Schiaparelli was once quoted as saying “Dress designing is, to me not a profession but an art.” This passion for mixing the two loves of her life is visible in everything that she designed from the clothing and hats to the innovative perfume bottles and costume jewellery. She succeeded where no other fashion designer has – by allowing women to expand their […]
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 Ridgway Homemaker Pattern is a classic retro design that is now becoming very collectable. The range was mass produced in the 1950s and 60s and was sold exclusively through Woolworth’s stores. The pattern was created by Enid Seeney and was manufactured by Ridgway Potteries of Stoke-on-Trent. The pattern was to be used on the Metro shape designed by Ridgway designer Tom Arnold. It was Tom Arnold, himself, that asked Seeney to create a pattern that could be produced in large quantities using the new the Murray-Curvex litho process. The pattern was applied in reverse to the bottom of a gelatine pad (or ‘bomb’). The wet paint was then transferred to the piece in a way that would allow it to mould to the shape. This process made all-over patterns such as Homemaker possible. The pattern was later released on Cadenza shape. The Homemaker pattern was initially given the name ‘ Furniture ‘. It was first shown at exhibition in Blackpool in 1956 but only took off when spotted by a Woolworth’s buyer in 1957. It was trialed in a few London shops and proved a success appealing to the contemporary market of the late 1950s and 1960s. The pattern itself was a distinctive black on white featuring illustrations of the latest home furnishings and utensils against a background of irregular black lines. Items illustrated included a boomerang or kidney shaped table, a Robin Day armchair, a Gordon Russell type sideboard, plant holders on legs, tripod lights and lamp shades, and a two seat Sigvard Bernadotte style sofa. The Ridgway Homemaker Pattern Price Guide / Value Guide Homemaker was produced in large quantities from 1956 to 1970 so few pieces are rare. The range is becoming increasingly collectable and prices at auction are rising. Rarer pieces include the Bon Bon Dish, the Cadenza Teapot and other teapots and coffee pots. The plates are the most common items to find. 7″ plates estimate £5-£8 each. 9″ plates estimate £8-£12 each. Did you know? The Ridgway Homemaker pattern was also produced in a Red colour. This red and white colourway was produced in very limited numbers as a trial in 1960 and as such are very rare. There are very few examples coming to traditional auction houses or ebay and very few in shops. A single plate such as the one below sold on AntiquesAtlas for £350/$483. Further information Ridgway Homemaker at RetroWow
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 […]
Dumbo by Walt Disney Productions premiered on October 23, 1941 and celebrates its 75th Anniversay in 2016. It was Walt Disney’s fourth animated feature and was based upon a storyline written by Helen Aberson and illustrated by Harold Pearl. The main character is a baby elephant Jumbo Jr., who is nicknamed “Dumbo” due to his big ears. Dumbo is ridiculed for his big ears, but in fact he is capable of flying by using his ears as wings. Throughout most of the film, his only true friend, aside from his mother, is the mouse, Timothy. A number of Dumbo related collectibles and art have been created or are being released to coincide with the 75th Anniversary. Jim Shore Sweet Snow Fall – Dumbo 75th Anniversary Figurine Jim Shore celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Disney classic Dumbo with this unique design featuring the beloved baby elephant decked out for the holidays. Disney Dumbo 75th Anniversary Musical Ornament This delightful Hallmark Gold Crown Exclusive is designed by Kristina Gaughran and features Dumbo being cradled by his mother. The ornament plays Baby Mine. Lionel Dumbo 75th Anniversary Boxcar This little gem from Lionel features a traditional boxcar featuring Dumbo designs. It is priced at $84.99. New Zealand Mint Dumbo 75th Anniversary Coins The New Zealand Mint has been minting legal tender collectible coins, gold bullion and medallions for more than four decades and has released to coins for Dumbo’s 75th Anniversary – the Dumbo 1 oz Silver and Dumbo 1/4 oz Gold Coins. Thomas Kinkade Company Disney Dumbo Limited Edition Art Continuing the work of Thomas Kinkade, this wonderful new release from the Thomas Kinkade Company celebrates the 75th Anniversary of the release of Dumbo. Disney Dumbo by Thomas Kinkade Studios portrays the happiness and pride that his circus friends feel for Dumbo as he soars above the crowd. This painting captures Dumbo’s shining moment, reminding us, as Timothy tells him, “The very things that held you down are going to carry you up and up and up!” Disney Dumbo’s 75th Anniversary Facts Disney premiered Dumbo in movie theaters across the United States on October 23, 1941. Dumbo was the fourth movie in the “Walt Disney Animated Classics” series. The story was based upon the “Roll-A-Book” written by Helen Aberson and illustrated by Harold Pearl. The film was conceived during the Great Depression and Disney’s goal was to give Americans a story with an uplifting message as they faced difficult times. Walt Disney acted out each part of the movie, as it was being planned. With a run-time of 64 minutes, Dumbo is one of Disney’s shortest animated features
Whitefriars Glassworks, an institution in British glass making survived over 300 years before the last of the burning furnaces was put out in 1980. Although this glass is no longer in production pieces by designers such as Geoffrey Baxter have become one of the most sought after collectables in Studio Glass today and prices are going through the roof! The original home of Whitefriars glass was near Temple in London, it is because of this site that the glassworks was given its name. There originally stood an ancient monastry where the monks were dressed in white habits and were known as the “White Friars”. This glassworks has changed hands several times since being established in 1680. During its long history and before James Powell bought the works, the owners were a family called Holmes who successfully ran Whitefriars for over fifty years. It was in 1834 when James Powell, a famous wine merchant purchased the works and changed the name to “James Powell & Sons”. The original name of Whitefriars was not reverted back until 1963. In 1873 Harry Powell, grandson to James joined the works and by 1875 became Manager. Harry was responsible for some of the most innovative designs of the Arts and Crafts period and carried the works right through the First World War until his death in 1922. In 1923 the original works which stood in the heart of the City of London on the site of the monastry was moved to a new site in Wealdstone. A long tradition was that the furnaces should remain burning at all times, so when the site was moved a lit brazier was carried to the new site and used to ignite the very first furnace there. There are many designers which made Whitefriars Glass such an institution in the world of glass blowing including Harry Powell and James Hogan but today’s collectors seem to favour the designs of Geoffrey Baxter and his pieces are reaching huge prices on the secondary market at the moment. Geoffrey Baxter born 1922 was employed at the works as assistant designer in 1954. Working under the instruction of William Wilson, then Managing Director, he was the first permanent employee to be employed outside of the Powell family. Baxter graduated from the Royal College of Arts Industrial Glassware and was without doubt going to drive the company forward. The post war Britain realised that Sweden along with Finland and Denmark were pushing the glass making forward with the studio glass movement. This encouraged Baxter to take his influence from Scandinavian designs and combine them with his own contemporary ideas. He was responsible for creating the cased glass, this was coloured glass encased with clear crystal glass. The colours were rich ruby red, blue and green, produced in 1955. This was the start of the new modern trends from Baxter. He successfully created a balance between the traditional look and his bolder modern designs which in turn put Whitefriars Glass and British glass making back on the map. In 1964 William Wilson and Harry Dyer launched the “Knobbly Range” at the Blackpool Fair. These were free blown pieces of glass that were heavier and thicker than any other pieces produced before with a lumpy finish to the outside. Baxter was involved with producing the colours for the range, there were two choices either solid coloured cased glass or streaky colours in brown or green. The “Knobbly Range” was in production right through until 1972. Baxter went on to drive the company forward and give it a completely new lease of life, probably his most famous and definitely collectable ran ge is the “Textured Range” launched in 1967. It is no secret that Baxter produced the moulds for his new innovative design at home in his garage. Using natural materials such as tree bark he lined the moulds so that when the glass was blown into them it created a textured feel to the outside resembling the bark of a tree. He drew his inspiration from other natural and man-made materials. Once his moulds were created he used the factory to produce trials that he left on Wilson’s desk for him to see the minute he arrived back in the office from a holiday. Wilson was over the moon with the new range and it was given his blessing to go into production. Baxter used coiled wire to create other effects and then Baxter’s favourite vases was made by using irregular slabs of glass and building them together to make blocks on top of each other. This is the highly collectable “Cube Vase” or more commonly known today as the “Drunken Bricklayer”. Recently watching secondary market prices on internet auctions and at collectable fairs I have seen a rare 8” Aubergine colour Drunken Bricklayer sell from £600 up to as much as £1200. If you are starting a collection of Whitefriars then I highly recommend the “Bark Vases”, I bought my tangerine coloured vase for £40. They also come in various colours such as Kingfisher blue, Ruby and Pewter to name but a few. There are many variations on the “textured range” which include “Banjo”, ”Sunburst” and clear glass designs such as “Glacier” and “Everest”. Most of these designs were made during the 1960’s so have a real retro feel to them which again is extremely popular amongst collectors at the moment. As with anything popular other companies began to make cheaper copies of this range and so in the mid 70’s only the Bark vases and some of the Glacier pieces were being made. Peter Wheeler who was only at Whitefriars for a very short time designed with Baxter the “Peacock Studio Range” in 1969. This was a fantastic design using a combination of colours, Peter was also responsible for the gold and orange vases which formed part of the “striped Studio Range”. Whitefriars are also well known for their millifiore paperweights. Extremely difficult to make as all hand made and crafted Whitefriars became […]
The first Moomin book was published over 70 years in 1945 and the stories and character have since inspired puppet animations, TV shows, animated series, collectables, collectors items, a museum, Moomin shops, Moomin cafes and even a Moominworld theme park. For collectors of Moomin collectables and merchandise there is especial interest in the Moomin books, Moomin art, vintage Moomon items and the Moomin mug. The Moomin characters and Moominworld were the work Finnish-Swedish writer and artist Tove Jansson. Her stories about the adventures of Moomin family (Moomintroll, Moominpappa, Moominmamma and friends) of white and roundish trolls with large snouts have delighted generations and interest continues today. Tove Jansson was born in Helsinki in 1914 into an artistic family. She studied art from 1930 to 1938 in Stockholm, Helsinki and then Paris and her first Moomin-like character appears in the magazine Garm in 1943. Her first Moomin book was published in 1945 by Söderström & Co – The Moomins and the Great Flood. The first book was a minor success but her next two books Comet in Moominland and Finn Family Moomintroll, published in 1946 and 1948 respectively, saw high sales and assured her fame. Most of the Moomin books were translated into English in the 1950s to the 1970s. The first book Moomins and the Great Flood was only translated into English in 2005 to mark its 60th Anniversary. The character Moomintroll was born out of chance when Tove, on one childhood summer day, discussed literary philosophy with her brother Per Olov Jansson by the outhouse next to their summer cottage in the archipelago. Tove drew the ugliest creature she could imagine on the outhouse wall. That drawing is the first glimpse of the Moomins, although Tove called it a Snork. Source moomin.com The modern interest in Moomins coincided with the release in 1990 by Telecable of a 104 half-hour Moomin animations names Tales From Moominvalley. The series was produced in Japan by Dennis Livson and Lars Jansson and Tales From Moominvalley was eventually sold to over 60 countries. The series was followed by full-length movie Comet in Moominland. The success in Scandinavia and principally in Japan created what has been term The Moomin Boom (muumibuumi in Finnish). The Moomin Books Tove Jansen write 9 books and 5 picture books. The original publication date is given below along with English title. 1945 The Moomins and the Great Flood (Originally: Småtrollen och den stora översvämningen) 1946 Comet in Moominland (Swedish title Kometjakten / Mumintrollet på kometjakt / Kometen kommer) 1948 Finn Family Moomintroll (Original Swedish title Trollkarlens hatt, ‘The Magician’s Hat’), 1950 The Exploits of Moominpappa (Originally: Muminpappans bravader/Muminpappans memoarer) 1952 The Book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My – The first Moomin picture book (Originally: Hur gick det sen?) Some Moomin books – First Edition English book covers 1954 Moominsummer Madness (Swedish title Farlig midsommar, ‘Dangerous Midsummer’) 1957 Moominland Midwinter (Swedish title Trollvinter, Finnish title Taikatalvi) 1960 Who Will Comfort Toffle? – The second Moomin picture book (Originally: Vem ska trösta knyttet?) 1962 Tales from Moominvalley (Originally: Det osynliga barnet) 1965 Moominpappa at Sea (Originally: Pappan och havet) 1970 Moominvalley in November 1977 The Dangerous Journey (Originally: Den farliga resan) 1980 Skurken i Muminhuset (English: Villain in the Moominhouse) 1993 Visor från Mumindalen (English: Songs from Moominvalley) As well as books the Moomins also appeared in comic strip form in a number of papers all over the world originally in 1947 in the children’s section of the Ny Tid newspaper, and internationally to English readers in 1954 in the London’s The Evening News. The Moomins cartoon strip reaches up to 20 million readers daily in over 40 countries. Tove Jansson drew and wrote all the strips until 1959. From 1960, Tove’s brother Lars Jansson drew the strip until 1975 when the last strip was released. The Moomin Mug – Collecting moominmugs Other than books one of main areas of interest is collecting Moomin Mugs (collecting moominmugs). Arabia have been responsible for the Moomin mug since 1990. Arabia are a Finnish ceramics company, founded in 1873 by Rörstrand, who specialize in kitchenware and tableware. The first Moomin mug was released in 1990 and began a series entitled Teema. The Mug Green is also known by the name The Green Comic Strip. The original artwork featured on the mug is from Tove Jansson’s comic strip #8 Moomin Builds a New Life (1956). Tove Slotte was the graphic designer responsible for Arabia’s Moomin products. He used the images from the strip more or less as they were, only removing the speech bubbles. In the same year Mug Blue, Mug Rose and Mug Yellow. The Mug blue is also known by the name Painting Moomins, the mug rose is also known by the name Rose Comic Strip and the fourth Moomin mug is also known by the name Mug yellow, Moominmamma. The early Arabia Moomin mugs are extremely collectable with prices for perfect example of Mug Green being over £400. The other colours also fetch prices from £100 to £300. There is an excellent series of articles on the history behind the Moomin mugs on the moomin.com blog. A visit to a Moomin shop, to their website or a look on ebay will show the wide variety of collectables, books, merchandise and household items that are available. If you have not read a Moomin book do go and find the recent special editions of the original books and immerse yourself in this wonderful fantasy world.
For years, drinking tea has been an immensely satisfying ritual, especially for those who pride themselves in being a tea connoisseur. For tea lovers, tea is more than a simple drink after a meal. It is a customary way of communicating culture and style which is why it has expanded in popularity – and many have begun accumulating their own personal supply. So, with that in mind, read on to find our why tea collecting has gained such universal appeal. The background of tea In 1606, the first delivery of tea was shipped from China to Europe. People were fascinated by the aroma and taste that it quickly became a fashionable drink among the wealthy. Of course, a fashionable drink must be enjoyed in style, so teapots, teacups and other beautiful accessories quickly flooded the European market. Our previous article titled, English Teapots – Their Origin and Variety showcases exquisite examples from the eighteenth century. How to start collecting While there is no right or wrong way to collect tea, everyone can certainly start by tasting a variety of tea flavours to discover which ones they enjoy the most. The palatability and perception of the different flavours is a personalised experience, and the same goes for which ones to collect. Collections usually start off with gifts, and then later, as your experience grows and your palate becomes more familiar with flavours that are more palatable to your taste, your collection will grow with flavours of your choosing. Popularity of tea Tea is the most popular drink around the world, especially in Europe and here in the United Kingdom. Gala Bingo’s research on tea in the UK found that 31% of tea drinkers drank five or more cups of tea each day. This is a welcoming stat, especially with recent scientific research showing the many added health benefits of drinking tea. In one article, Today points out that tea may promote a healthy lifestyle, lower blood pressure, and live longer – so, it is no wonder that tea continues to increase in its global appeal. Varieties of tea Nowadays, there are many kinds of tea, and here are some of the most popular varieties: White Tea– Delicate in flavour, very subtle and elegant on the palate. Black Tea- Intense and bold in flavour, and typically malty on the tongue. Green Tea– Moderate in flavour, nutty, vegetal, and usually herbaceous. Oolong Tea– A very intense flavour with a bold roast and variety of notes ranging from milky to sweet and creamy on the palate. Earl Grey Black Tea– Beautiful blend of notes from mellow green teas to refreshing hints of orange and invigorating lime. Lemon Green Envelope Tea– A full range of exquisite aromas with a refreshing lemon hint and zesty green undertones. Storing tea Storing tea requires special care to preserve its unique aroma and freshness. If you don’t, they may dry out and you will end up missing out on the exquisite pleasure each bag potentially offers. Here are some tips on storing your precious tea: Keep them in a dry place– Moisture will destroy tea and cause them to develop mould. Keep them at a consistent temperature– Exposing tea to fluctuating temperatures can cause them to lose quality and flavour. Keep them separate– Teas absorb the flavours of its surrounding, whether it be other teas or BBQ crisps. So it is very important to keep them separate from other food. Tea will always have its global appeal due to its endless health benefits, cultural influences, and social value. And it is certainly never too late to taste this decadence and start your own personal collection.
Whether the young people of today would find these as much as fun as I did when I was given a Give a Show Projector as a present in late 1970s is open to question. My guess is probably YES but there a lot of middle aged children who are collecting these great toys. The Give a Show Projectors was a toy slide projector introduced by US toy company Kenner Products in 1959. In the UK and Australia it was sold under the Chad Valley brand. The set I had was a general one with multiple single slides similar to the one pictured below. There were 16 strips featuring 7 slides so a total of 112 colour slides picturing stories from cartoon characters, TV shows and stories. The set below includes Popeye, Cinderella, Noddy, Woody Woodpecker, Goldilocks, Robinson Crusoe, Oswald Rabbit, Buffalo Bill, Maverick and more. The projector was a large torch with a slot that allowed the user to feed a strip of film through the light it emitted to create projected images. The torch and images were projected on to a blank wall in a dimmed room and the show could then proceed. Most slides had word and pictures, so was a great educational toy as well. The standard projector could project well up to 5 feet. What makes them even more interesting and collectable is that there were many sets were licensed for the system including popular TV series, movies and cartoons such as: Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who, Daktari, Thunderbirds, Stingray and more. Some later sets included sounds in the form of accompanying records which would be manually advanced when a tone sounded. A Chad Valley Daktari ‘As Seen on BBC TV’ Give a Show Projector set A Chad Valley Stingray ‘Gerry Anderson’s Exciting TV Series’ Give a Show Projector set A Disney Jungle Book set A Kenner Star Wars Give A Show Projector As well as sets with projectors individual slide sets were also available. We will be adding a price guide and value guide for individual sets but movie related sets in complete and good condition can sell for up to £80/$120. Related Chad Valley information at Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chad_Valley_(toy_brand) Kenne Products information at Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenner_Products
Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Collectables – 2022 will be a very special year for Her Majesty The Queen with the celebrations of her Platinum Jubilee. As with many special Royal anniversaries and events there are a lot of special editions, memorabilia and collectables being designed and produced. We take a look at some of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Collectables available for this amazing event. Halcyon Days Halcyon Days have created some very special pieces including baubles and a music box. Platinum Anniversary Queen Elizabeth II Toby Jugs from Bairstow Pottery Bairstow Pottery have released a special Platinum Anniversary Queen Elizabeth II Toby Jug. The edition is being released in five colourways: Dark Blue, Green, Grey, Light Blue and Pink. Each colour being one of the Queen’s favourites. Each jug is hand painted and features embellishment completed by using real platinum. The edition has been modelled by Bairstow Pottery’s lead designer Ray Noble. Click for more information Steiff The Steiff Platinum Jubilee Bear is available exclusively from The Danbury Mint. The teddy is being produced until the 2nd June 2023 – the 70th anniversary of Her Majesty’s Coronation. She is being made in a caramel and cream coloured mohair is fully jointed and will measure approximately 10½” (26cm) standing. As a Steiff bear she has the classic Steiff ‘button’ and white tag with red writing attached to her ear and also wears a purple bow and a medal featuring a picture of The Queen saying 70 Golden Years. Her paws are finished with the Queen’s cypher and the dates of her reign. A lovely bear priced at £249 which can be pre-ordered for delivery in August. The Royal Mint The Royal Mint is creating several different sets including a new 50p and a £5 Crown designed by John Bergdahl. The commemorative Platinum Jubilee portrait depicts Her Majesty on horseback and two beautifully decorative reverse designs for the occasion. The collection also includes the first UK 50p coin issued by The Royal Mint to celebrate a royal event, which features a bold, graphical celebration of The Queen’s reign by the design agency Osborne Ross on the reverse. The obverse features the Platinum Jubilee portrait. For more details visit https://www.royalmint.com/ The Royal Collection The Royal Collection is one of the largest and most widely distributed art collections in the world. Running to more than a million objects, it is a unique and valuable record of the personal tastes of kings and queens over the past 500 years. In addition to the well-known paintings, drawings and other works of art, the Collection includes almost the entire contents of all the royal palaces. The Royal Collection create items and collectables for sale online and the shops such as Windsor Castle, Holyrood Palace, and The Garden Shop at Buckingham Palace. A number of Platinum Jubilee collectables and gifts are available including plates, tea sets, crystal, clocks, pill boxes etc. For more information visit The Royal Collection Shop.