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 Chad Valley Company was one of the most successful and best-loved of all English soft toy manufacturers and although it ceased trading in 1978, the memory of its golden years lives on. Today, Chad Valley teddies and other animals are highly popular with collectors for a variety of reasons. Pictured right: Classic Chad Valley Magna bear For a start, they were well-designed and generally made of good quality materials, and in the firm’s heyday its inventive designers came up with one appealing product after another. Then there is the identity factor – Chads are often easy to identify, even without their original labels – making them particularly attractive to novice collectors. Finally, price is a key factor in the collectable status of Chad Valley bears. With a few exceptions, they rarely cost more than a few hundred pounds because there are still quite a lot of them available in good condition, and are therefore accessible to collectors with limited budgets. Pictured left: Chad Valley Magna Teddy bear, English 1930’s Golden mohair bear with orange glass eyes, stitched nose, mouth and claws, swivel head and jointed at shoulders and hips, cloth paw pads, red ribbon to neck, label to right foot, 48cm (19in) tall – sold at Bonhams, Nov 2006 £120 – image copyright Bonhams. Having acquired and absorbed several smaller firms during the previous decade, the 1930s proved to be something of a boom time for Chad Valley. Through ingenious marketing which played on people’s suspicions of soft toys as carriers of infectious disease, the company positioned its products as clean and hygienic compared with the competition. So successful were they during this period that by 1938 Chad Valley were granted a Royal Warrant of Appointment as Toymakers to Her Majesty the Queen and labels appeared on their bears proclaiming them ‘By Appointment Toymakers to H.M. The Queen.’ In 1953, following the death of King George VI and the accession of Queen Elizabeth II, the wording changed to read ‘By Appointment Toy Makers to H.M. Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.’ (If original labels are present today, this enables the modern collector to date Chads of this period to within a few years). During this period of growth and development, one of the most distinctive of all Chad Valley teddies was produced. Known as the Magna bear, it was launched around 1930 and featured an unshaved muzzle, smallish, widely spaced ears and a narrow, horizontally-stitched oblong nose. It is this instantly recognisable nose that allows aficionados to unhesitatingly pick out a Magna from a room full of similar bears. The slightly serious, perhaps even grumpy expression common to Magnas has made them well-liked by collectors although they were not terribly popular in their own day. This could be because their admirers of today are adult collectors who appreciate any teddy idiosyncrasies, whereas in their early days Magnas were intended to be played with by children who are more inclined to appreciate a friendly rather than an austere expression. In any case, UK production of teddy bears was severely curtailed during WWII and its immediate aftermath, and when it resumed in the 1950s styles and tastes had changed dramatically, leaving no demand for the old-fashioned Magna. In its own way, this characterful English bear is as much an evocation of the 1930s as a Clarice Cliff tea set and should be revered as such.
The tobacco stopper, also known as a pipe stopper or a tobacco tamper, is used to enable a pipe to be filled by evenly distributing the tobacco within the length of the bowl, and to press the tobacco down. What started as a utilitarian device developed into a vast array of designs and carvings in a rang of materials. Many were often one-off designs being made by the smoker themselves and varied from crude creations to intricate carvings. The tobacco stoppers made of cast metal are the ones that have survived in more numbers than the wooden carved examples. They include busts of full length figures of historical characters such as Charles I, Nelson, Napoleon and figures Dickens. The Duke of Wellington was a popular figure for tobacco stoppers having published an edict banning tobacco in barracks he was actually nicknamed the ‘greatest tobacco stopper’. The commonest designs included legs bent at the knee, heads, trade tools such as hammers and animals. Some stoppers had a dual purpose including scrapers, burning tools and corkscrews. Tobacco stoppers forming parts of signet rings were also popular. As well as cast metal and many varieties of wood, examples can be found in ivory , bone, horn, hooves, teeth, claw, and silver. In the 1750s the Reverend Francis Gastrell cut down the mulberry tree supposedly planted by Shakespeare at New Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, having grown tired of tourists asking to see it. The second half of the eighteenth century saw a brisk trade in souvenir objects claimed to be made of wood from Shakespeare’s tree. Tobacco stoppers such as this were common and were used for pressing down tobacco in a pipe. Tobacco stoppers vary between 1 and half and four inches, with the majority being around two inches. The diameter of the tamper end may give an indication of age with the earlier ones having a smaller end as the bowls of the earlier pipes are smaller. Outside of tobacciana collectors and enthusiasts tobacco stoppers are not widely known about and exampled can still be collected cheaply. Related Tobacciana Tobacco Collecting The University of Cambridge Digital Library has a 3D rendering of a Tobacco stopper (From the Lewis Cabinet) reportedly from the mulberry tree in Shakespeare’s gardens – click here to view.
The Time Tunnel remains a cult classic and we take a look at some of the The Time Tunnel collectibles, The Time Tunnel merchandise and The Time Tunnel toys that have appeared over the years. We also look at some auction results and some guide prices. The Time Tunnel was created by Irwin Allen and was his third science-fiction television series (after Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Lost in Space). It was set around time travel and starred James Darren as Tony (Dr. Anthony Newman) and Robert Colbert as Doug (Dr. Douglas Phillips) as the two Time Travellers. The Time Tunnel ran for one season of 30 episodes from 1966 to 1967. The Time Tunnel and Project Tic-Toc The series is set in 1968, two years into the future from the actual broadcast season, 1966-67. Project Tic-Toc is a top-secret U.S. government effort to build an experimental time machine, known as The Time Tunnel due to its appearance as a cylindrical hallway. The base for Project Tic-Toc is a huge, hidden underground complex in Arizona, 800 floors deep and employing more than 12,000 specialized personnel. Project Tic-Toc is in its 10th year and at a cost of $7.5 billion (equivalent to near $60 billion in 2022) and is under threat of being cancelled. After an ultimatum is delivered either the project sends someone into time and return him during the course of his visit or their funding will cease. Tony volunteers but he is turned down by project director Doug Phillips. Defying this decision, Tony sends himself into time and finds himself on the maiden voyage of The Titanic. The Time Tunnel team can see where Tony is and when he gets locked up Doug follows to rescue him. From then onwards they travel to various time periods for many adventures. The Time Tunnel View Master set (Sawyer’s B491) features 3 reels showing 21 views from the Rendezvous With Yesterday which was the pilot episode. A complete set in very good condition is estimated at $50. The Time Tunnel Gold Key comics – this ran for two issues. Issue 1 featured The Assassins set in April 14th 1865 and features the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, The Lion or the Volcano? set in August 24th 79 A.D. Pompeii and see Tony and Doug in a Roman adventure and Mars Count-Down set in 1980 and features a trip to Mars. . Issue 2 featured two stories The Conquerors in which Doug and Tony end up in the future and discover a plot to go back in time and help the Nazis win World War II and The Captives in which the pair end up stuck in the middle of a conflict between Indians and General George Custer. As with most comics condition is a major determinant of value. Issues in Near Mint condition are valued at $80 for Issue 1 and $40 for Issue 2. The Time Tunnel Game was produced by Ideal Based on ABC Television Network Series. The copy pictured was sold by Hakes Auctions for $420 in 2012. The sets see the game travel from Prehistoric Era, The Middle Ages, 19th and 20th Century and The Future. The first player to complete voyages through all four time periods wins. Very few come to auction so we would expect a near mint example to be highly sought after. The Time Tunnel Spin to Win Game was produced by the Pressman Toy Co and was one of the Spin Cycle Series of games. The copy pictured was also sold by Hakes Auctions for $132 in September 2009. As with The Time Tunnel Game very few come to auction so we would expect a near mint example to be highly sought after. The Time Tunnel Trading Gum Cards Where Historic Events and Periods did The Time Tunnel visit? Tony and Doug become participants in past events such as the sinking of the Titanic (Episode 1 Rendezvous with Yesterday), the attack on Pearl Harbor Epiode 4 The Day the Sky Fell In), the eruption of Krakatoa (Episode 6 Crack of Doom), Custer’s Last Stand (Episode 8 Massacre), the Battle of the Alamo (Episode 13 The Alamo) and even the signing of The Magna Carta and meeting Robin Hood (Episode 16 The Revenge of Robin Hood). General Kirk, Ray, and Ann in the control room are able to locate them in time and space, observe them, occasionally communicate with them through voice contact, and send help. With no concern for the Time Continuum, Tony and Doug meddle in time through the ages. The Time Tunnel Disc Cards Did Tony and Doug Escape the Time Tunnel? When the series was abruptly cancelled in the summer of 1967 by ABC, they had not filmed an episode in which Tony and Doug are safely returned to the Time Tunnel complex. Autographs and signed items from the stars are an essential in a collection of The Time Tunnel Collectibles. Further information Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Collectibles https://www.thetimetunnel.com/ lots of information on the series
Having already attained the accolade and recognition for being France’s premier jeweller, by 1905 Rene Lalique had begun to focus his attention to the possibilities of commercial art glass. Additional impetus came in 1907 after being approached by Francois Coty, the celebrated parfumier, and his neighbour in the fashionable Place Vendome. Coty asked Lalique to design the embossed gilt paper labels for various perfumes, whereupon legend has it that Lalique took umbrage and only agreed on the strict understanding that he was also commissioned to design the actual glass bottles. In agreeing to this demand Coty could hardly imagine how this would send his business into a veritable overdrive, such was the response and increase in demand for those perfumes retailed in bottles designed by Lalique. At this time such bottles were manufactured by Legras et Cie as Lalique did not then have the sizeable glassworks needed for mass production, although Coty had also used the services of the Baccarat factory in previous years. The dramatic success of this venture resulted in a growing procession of recognised perfume companies approaching Lalique in the quest of emulating their competitor’s success. Such pre war commissions came from household names such as Roger et Gallet, Worth, D’Orsay, Arys and Rosine amongst others. Today these early bottles are keenly sought after by collectors as they manage to encapsulate their designer’s uncanny ability of transforming a utilitarian object into a desirable work of art. Such vessels allowed him to develop designs that borrowed from nature whilst making great play of both the mystical and magical elements readily evident in such Coty commissions as ‘Cyclamen’ and L’Effleurt de Coty (The caress of Coty), with the former later reworked with two additional forms of button stopper. Lalique soon recognised that the demand for stylish perfume bottles was big enough for his own ‘Maison Lalique’ creations that were available for the purchaser to then fill with an essence of their own liking. The combined ranges became so extensive that many collectors are content to restrict their collections to just perfume bottles. Initially he had made use of a small glass furnace located on his country estate at Clairfontaine on the outskirts of Paris, but the increase in demand dictated that he should acquire a larger facility. In 1909 he purchased a much larger concern at Combs la Ville that allowed for greater mass production with an estimated workforce of about 50-100 craftsmen and where output continued until closure until 1937. However it was the setting up in 1921 of the present day glassworks in Wingen sur Moder near to Strasbourg in the Alsace region of eastern France that allowed production on a truly grand scale, this time with a workforce that exceeded 500. Rene Lalique might be recognised as a designer who invariably thought ‘out of the box’ and one who recognised the almost limitless possibilities offered by such an elastic medium. In years gone by he has, on the odd occasion, suffered the indignation of having his creations labelled as nothing more than moulded glass. Fortunately, with the passage of time, collectors and design historians alike give a secondary consideration to the method of production and now place primary importance on both design and effect. Lalique was to show himself to be the absolute master of exploring the potential of glass whilst ready to embrace the growing technology and chemical science that allowed him to invariably remain several steps ahead of any would-be competition. The publication in 1932 of his illustrated trade catalogue, reprinted in recent years and an essential for collectors and enthusiasts, manages to give some indication of the sheer variety available to the discerning public of those interwar years. Within the pages, alongside the perfume bottles, can be found boxes, sculptures, paperweights, car mascots, clocks, lighting and all manner of tableware, dishes, bowls, architectural fittings and even glass jewellery. Perhaps the most readily available and affordable, depending on size and colour, are his vases, bowls and dishes, which are amongst the majority of his wares that tend to surface in many of today’s auctions. Desirability here is also decided by rarity and the all important condition of a piece. Having no wish to scaremonger it is worth pointing out that the present day market place has its fair share of repaired or doctored pieces. Consequently it is always prudent to purchase from a respected dealer or auction house. As a broad generalisation, unless considered a rare design, simple clear and frosted glass examples tend to be the least desirable. The addition of coloured staining or ‘patine’ helps to accentuate the definition of a design and adds both to the attraction and value. Again, another word of caution, as some pieces have been subjected to modern day staining. In order to determine old from new it is essential to build up an understanding of the original staining used as well as be aware that such early stains were liable to wear, whereas the modern colours have so far proved permanent. Opalescent glass, i.e. the inclusion of an internal milky blue effect that is invariably synonymous with Lalique glass, is more desirable, with value often enhanced by the intensity of the internal colouration. The overall effect is determined by the thickness of the glass that plays host to a chemical reaction that occurs during the cooling process. Lalique is known to have preferred the use of a demi-cristal which incorporated half the usual 24% of lead oxide used by makers of lead crystal such as St Louis and Baccarat. Demi-cristal offered a less white and softer grey hue to the metal – glass is actually a super cooled liquid but technically referred to as a ‘metal’. It also allowed for greater definition when using expensive steel moulds and was relatively lighter than lead crystal. The milky blue effect was all down to incorporating a tiny amount of cobalt oxide into the glass mix plus two specific fluorites that acted as opacifying agents. When heated, the […]
The United States was the home of Carnival Glass. It was developed there, and though other countries soon began to produce their own versions, most collectors today begin with American glass as it is the easiest to obtain. A previous article described the manufacture and appearance of this beautiful product, but briefly, it is a living glass – vibrant and bright – which reflects colour rather like spilt oil on water. Although the patterns are formed in a mould, unlike pressed glass Carnival Glass needs a lot of hand- finishing and decorating, and the iridescence (created by adding metallic oxides to the hot glass) means that the finished product doesn’t have that somewhat flat appearance often noticed in pressed glass. Pictured left is a Northwood fruit and flowers electric cable ice blue small bowl. Carnival Glass didn’t really become of interest to collectors until the late 1950s, and consequently the history of many of the early companies is still not fully-researched, so many dates are vague. A trawl through textbooks throws up a variety of dates – it seems that no-one is absolutely certain when the various manufacturers first developed their Carnival Glass products, though it is known that by 1905 the first cheap, iridised glass to rival the expensive Tiffany’s was in production. Pictured right is a Noryhwood Rosette rare green bowl. The Northwood Glass Company was founded by English-born Harry Northwood, son of a talented glass manufacturer. Harry left England to work in America in 1880, when he was twenty years old, and founded his own factory in 1887 in Ohio, before eventually moving to Wheeling, West Virginia. Many people believe that it was Harry who brought the technique of iridisation to the USA, having seen it at his father’s glassworks. By 1908 he was producing a range of iridised glass, using moulds from earlier pressed glass. He began by making a range of marigold Carnival Glass, which he called ‘Golden Iris’. Iris is from the Greek word for rainbow, and Harry thought that this was a good name for a glass which seemed to contain and reflect so many colours. Pictured left is a Northwood grape and cable plate.. Northwood proved to be a very productive factory, introducing designs such as grape and cable, fine cut and rose, beaded cable, wild rose, singing birds, peacock at the fountain, leaf and beads, nippon and rosette. Of all its designs, grape and cable was the most popular, and at one time could be obtained in over seventy shapes of dishes, vases, plates and bowls. Other companies, noting the popularity, copied the designs, which seemed to be quite a common practice at the time. Harry Northwood also introduced some lovely pastel carnival glass, which came in delicate shades of ice blue, ice green and white. Today, the pastels are highly sought after but are quite rare. White is perhaps the easiest to find and is very pretty with a delicate pearly sheen. Later, in 1915, a range of iridised custard glass appeared. This opaque and cream coloured glass has a pastel iridescent overlay, and is now very rare, commanding high prices. Most Carnival Glass is unmarked, but the Northwood company regularly marked their products with a letter ‘N’ in a circle, which makes them easily identifiable even by novice collectors. For a round ten years the Company was at the forefront of the Carnival Glass industry, but then, sadly, Harry contracted a fatal disease. He died in 1918, and without him the company seemed to lose direction, finally foundering to a halt in 1925. Harry Northwood at one time leased the Dugan Glass Company (when under a different name), and was related to Thomas Dugan, one of the managers. When Harry left, the name was changed to Dugan, and in 1910 the company began to produce Carnival Glass, often using old Northwood moulds. Normally it marked its pieces with a ‘D’ set inside a diamond shape, which is probably why, in 1913, it again changed its name, this time to the Diamond Glass Company. Based in Indiana Pennsylvania, Dugan was responsible for many wonderful pieces of iridescent glass with opalescent edges, using patterns such as fan, cherry, apple blossom twigs, butterfly and tulip, farmyard, fishnet, starfish stippled, pastel swans, raindrops and heavy grape. This company continued production right up until 1931, when the factory was destroyed by a disastrous fire. Pictured right is a Dugan grape delight amethyst rosebowl. The Imperial Glass Company, Ohio, was set up in the early 1900s, though the iridised glass didn’t appear till 1910 . Before then, it made pressed glass tumblers, water sets, cruets, pickle trays and other items of table ware. When the company finally introduced its range of Carnival Glass, it was an instant success and huge quantities were manufactured. It was so prolific in its output that most collectors today have some Imperial pieces in their collections. This company decided to specialise in geometric designs rather than the naturalistic patterns favoured by many of the other Carnival Glass companies, and it continued to produce items of practical use as opposed to the more decorative glassware which Northwood, Dugan, Fenton and Millersburg preferred. Pictured right is an Imperial grape marigold tumbler. Imperial experimented with many types of glass, often producing unusual base glass colours such as clambroth (a pale ginger-ale) and smoke (light blue-grey). They also managed to achieve an exceptionally brilliant iridescence on their wares, while their purple glass was a very deep, rich shade which no other manufacturer could accomplish. Much of their work resembles the Bohemian glass of the same period. At the time it was apparently quite common for a complete workshop group to decide to emigrate, and Imperial employed many Bohemian German-speaking workers who brought their expertise and ideas with them. The Company also produced a tremendous amount of marigold Carnival Glass, the commonest colour, and so one of the most affordable. Pictured left is an Imperial heavy grape one-handled dish. Glass from Imperial was sold […]
Wow! 25 years ago Disney released WCN’s favourite Disney film The Nightmare Before Christmas. The cult film from Tim Burton and has certainly stood the test of time to become of Disney’s best franchises and we would say has had some of best and coolest merchandise, collectibles and toys. With the Nightmare Before Christmas 25th Anniversary well underway, we take a look at what Jack Skellington, Oogie Boogie, Sally and team have on offer in the way of Nightmare Before Christmas 25th Anniversary Collectibles & Toys. Lets start with this fantastic figure by Jim Shore. The figure is called What a Wonderful Nightmare and blends Disney Magic with traditional folk art to create a great piece featuring Jack Skellington, Sally, Zero, Mayor, Lock, Shock, and Barrel. Two classic games Operation and Monopoly have been released in 25th Anniversary editions. Operate on Oogie Boogie in Operation and explore Jack’s Tower, Oogie Boogie’s Casino, Dr. Finkelstein’s Laboratory, and Sally’s Alley in Monopoly. Funko have released some excellent editions including Mystery Minis, Snow Globes, Plushies, a super deluxe vinyl figure of Jack Skellington with Zero, Vinyl, Pen Toppers and more! Some cracking Nightmare items. The collections feature all the main characters including Jack Skellington, Sally, Dr. Finklestein, the Mayor, Pumpkin King Jack, Lock, Shock, Barrel, and Scary Teddy. Funko have also released a number of anniversary Vinyl Pops as well. With the film covering both Halloween and Christmas there are of course some ornaments and tree toppers including Jack Skellington and Sally Legacy Sketchbook Ornament and a Jack Skellington Tree Topper showing Jack as Sandy Claws. There are also exclusive editions at the Disney Parks and various Disney worldwide stores. Ultimately it is all down to the movie itself and there are a number of special 25th DVD and Blu-Ray releases that will keep fans happy. A special thanks to Tim Burton and all involved for this wonderful film.
With the World Cup now under way we thought we would have a look at some of the official and unofficial collectables and memorabilia available to collect and buy. The Official FIFA Store There are quite a few interesting items here. The World Cup mascots are always fun and especially nice are the range of Limited Edition prints available. There are about 20 prints available, including prints for each host and of interest to collectors will be the Romero Britto prints. Robert Harrop Designs To celebrate the World Cup in Brazil, Robert Harrop has produced 10 special Bull Terrier footballers. The England and Brazil editions are both timed and feature Red Bull Terriers. The remaining eight are all modelled using White Bull Terriers: Germany, France, Argentina, Spain, Netherlands, Italy, USA and Australia. Coca-Cola World Cup Brazil 2014 The Coca-Cola Company has had a long-standing relationship with FIFA since 1974 and has been an official sponsor of the FIFA World Cup™ since 1978. Coca-Cola has had stadium advertising at every FIFA World Cup™ since 1950. Brazil 2014 sees one of their largest campaigns ever. Look out for special bottles, cans, and promotions which will vary from country to country. Betty Boop Something different with these Betty Boop footballer figurines. There are six different posed figures. Header, On My Knee, Striker, Goalie, Free Kick and Star Player. Panini Stickers and Panini Heritage Collection Football stickers form part of every World Cup. When I was first collected you had to lick the backs to stick them in (my first was Argentina 78). Panini have a section called Panini Heritage which includes framed prints and tee-shirts featuring the covers of all the previous World Cup sticker albums. Swarovski Silver Crystal Swarovksi’s latest limited edition Soccer Champion Mo has a World Cup feel. She is very colourful with a yellow head, green body and clear horns and bell. A football hitting the target decorate her body. All very much giving a Brazilian theme.
We all love a bargain, so it`s a bonus when one doll suddenly becomes two! It`s a lot more common than you might think – many dolls can be altered in appearance, giving extra play value, as well as novelty interest. Children love it when a sad doll becomes happy, or a doll in tatters is transformed into a princess, and numerous people nowadays are building up collections of `transforming dolls`. There are several ways in which a doll can change its appearance. Probably the most commonly-found are the topsy-turvy dolls, which consist of two half-dolls joined at the waist, sometimes with an extra doll attached at the back for good measure. Other transformable types include two-or-three-faced dolls, dolls with interchangeable heads, and dolls whose expressions change because their rubber faces are moulded over a moveable wire armature. The easiest topsy-turvy dolls to find are those made from cloth. Sometimes they are dolls which tell a story, such as Cinderella in rags turning into the belle of the ball with a flick of her skirts, or maybe Red Riding Hood who changes to grandma. The wolf might be incorporated too, giving even more value. The principle in all these dolls is the same – they wear long skirts and beneath them you`ll find another head and body, rather than a pair of legs. Recently, Jellycat, produced a topsy-turvy Alice in Wonderland doll who changes from Alice into the Queen of Hearts. Jellycat dolls are beautifully and elaborately made, and their other exciting upside-down dolls include the Frog Princess, Nursery Rhymes, Cinderella and the Enchanted Garden. Another maker, the North American Bear company, issue dolls which changed from witches to fairies and from Goldilocks to the Three Bears, amongst other innovative designs, while during the 1980s Peggy Nisbet made porcelain topsy-turvy dolls. One was Cinderella, who turned from rags to riches, the other was `My Fair Lady`, which altered from poor Eliza Doolittle to posh Eliza dressed for Ascot. Souvenir Topsy-turvys often seen, such colourful stockinette dolls from the West Indies, whose costumes change when they are reversed. Another form of costume doll has a moulded felt face with painted side-glance eyes, and turns from a Spanish senorita into a peasant girl. A few years ago, an Australian company called Milly Molly brought out a rag doll which turned from white to black, the idea being to promote racial harmony. Their slogan was ‘We may look different but we feel the same’, and the marketing theme was a ‘reconciliation doll for world peace’ The idea behind these charming dolls wasn`t new; the white to black theme has appeared many times, not just in cloth dolls but those made from other mediums too. Topsy-turvy dolls can be cloth, composition, plastic, china or celluloid. The American Madame Alexander doll company made a composition doll – a kind of plaster – in the 1930s, which consisted of a pair of dolls joined at the waist, one sprayed black, the other pink. The first had pigtails of black woolly hair, while the other doll`s hair was moulded and painted. These early Madame Alexander dolls change hands for around £150 in good condition. Plastic topsy-turvys i nclude a Roddy from the 1960s, with joined torsos. This was possibly a prototype, as few are around. A simple way of changing a doll`s appearance is to make a cloth doll with two fronts. This method was used for an attractive doll, Bobby Snooks, made by the US company, ToyWorks in the 1980s. On one side he is a smart soldier, but turn him over and he`s tattered and torn after battle, complete with a plaster on his nose. For years, manufacturers have puzzled how to produce dolls which change their expressions. Swivel-heads were often used in antique china dolls; the doll`s head might have two, or even three, faces, and a twist of a knob turned the head to reveal the desired expression. During the 1970s and 80s, this method was revived and a number of `cheap and cheerful` multi-faced bisque china dolls appeared in the shops. These dolls are now becoming sought by collectors, as the early ones are so expensive. The same technique has been used with plastic dolls. In America, they were particularly popular during the 1950s and 60s, and companies such as Ideal issued a series of them such as a soft-bodied girl with a knob on her head hidden by a bonnet. Her three faces changed from sleep, to smile, to cry. One of the most delightful two-faced dolls of recent times was made by Falca in the 1980s. She was a sturdy, 22 inch baby and her two faces – one happy, one miserable – were beautifully and realistically moulded. In addition, she featured a crying/laughing sound chip which, rather cleverly, would only operate when the correct face was forward! Various companies have made vinyl face-change play dolls from time to time, such as a small, 8 inch, unmarked Hong Kong baby dressed a blue floral hooded suit who featured a large knob on top of his head which, when turned, allowed three expressions. Another doll, `Toni Two`, was sold in packaging which boasted, `Turn my head and I`m mad, turn my head and I`m glad`. Toni Two was a toothy toddler wearing a red striped dress. Doll-designer Marie Osmond has featured two-face dolls in her collector`s range, including Missy, a beautifully-dressed doll in a turquoise gingham frock and mob cap, whose expression can be changed from happy to sad. Another way of changing faces is to model the doll`s head on a wire frame, using thin soft plastic, such as in the case of Mattel`s 1960 `Cheerful Tearful` or their later `Saucy` doll. Cheerful Tearful`s expression changed from a smile to a pout when her arm was raised, and she looked cute. In contrast, Saucy was hilarious. Operated in the same manneA collection of Dressel and Kister shoulder head and half-dollsr, she rolled her eyes, grimaced and made the most […]
Rachel Bishop holds the distinction of being only the fourth head of the Moorcroft design department over a period that extends almost 100 years, ever since William Moorcroft set up his own pottery after departing from the Burslem firm of James Macintyre and Company in 1913. Rachel can to a certain extent thank her late grandmother for the position she now holds as it was she who, in early 1992, brought to her attention the vacancies advertised by Moorcroft for people ‘who could paint and draw’. Her employment with the pottery was not immediate as her initial interview with the then co-owner Hugh Edwards, although impressive, was primarily for the position of painter and not designer. Rachel was rejected but both parties agreed to keep in contact. Hugh well remembers this first meeting and how he was keen for the then fellow owner Richard Dennis to cast his expert eye over her portfolio. It was obvious to both of them that they were dealing with a modern day disciple of William Morris that combined an undeniable creative talent with a maturity well beyond her 22 years. At that time the design leader was Richard’s wife Sally Tuffin, who as one half of ‘Foale and Tuffin’ had already established herself as one of the UK’s most important fashion designers during the ‘Swinging Sixties’. However in December 1992 both Richard and Sally parted company with Moorcroft and decided to concentrate their efforts into their Dennis China Works. Hugh Edwards and wife Maureen now found themselves with the unexpected problem of being without a resident designer with a company that was at last showing real signs of growth. It should be remembered that seven years earlier Hugh and Richard, together with their respective partners, had rescued the then failing company from certain closure, albeit at the eleventh hour. Hugh was however mindful of his meeting with Rachel and arranged for yet another meeting, the outcome of which was that Rachel Bishop was appointed as the company’s senior designer, a position she retains to the present day. In 1997 the company celebrated the centenary of William Moorcroft’s appointment as designer for James Macintyre and Company, and the then present day design team had expanded to include eight members headed by Rachel. Today this same design team has been rationalised to four with further design work regularly being offered by several of the company’s painters and tubeliners. Within three years of arriving at the Sandbach Road works and the launch of her Tigris range, Moorcroft’s turnover had doubled and the new head of design was recognised as the primary impetus for this welcome growth. I was made aware of this new talent in 1993 after contacting Hugh Edwards to supply a Moorcroft pot to be featured with other examples of contemporary design on a TV programme with which I was involved being made by Anglia TV in Norwich. I can still remember opening the huge cardboard box on the studio set and unwrapping the most wonderful vase labelled ‘Oberon’. The floral composition was in total harmony with the chosen form and decorated with colourful glazes that hinted at Tiffany stained glass – I was in short beguiled by the jewel-like qualities of this remarkable vase and needed to own it. I now do! I was quick to contact Hugh in an attempt to glean as much information as possible regarding Miss Bishop in order to wax lyrical about this exciting new discovery. Eighteen years later and Rachel’s contribution to W.Moorcroft PLC continues, albeit for the past year health problems have prevented her working. Her style is often instantly recognisable by her devoted collectors with its inspiration frequently rooted in the design ethos preached by her mentor – William Moorcroft. Her portfolio today encompasses an extensive range of subject matter that depends way beyond her fascination with stylised and exotic flora. Her 2008 New Forest Collection consisted of fifteen individual designs, each then representing a year since her arrival at Moorcroft and illustrated well her ability to offer a wide variety of designs in subject choice and her instinctive use of colour to great effect. Her decision to accept the challenge of creating fifteen designs around this central theme was quite calculated, or to put it into her own words; ‘Every design in this collection is named after places scattered throughout the New Forest. In my mind’s eye I can see them all as if yesterday was today. I grew up in this historic and beautiful area and happily for me my mother and father still live there. Over the years the New Forest has provided me with a continual stream of inspiration. Throughout my childhood I would go out walking and literally absorb both images and emotions wherever I went. Sometimes those images evolved into a design and, perhaps more rarely, others were destined to emerge years later to challenge me for a second time.’ The collection is indeed a journey into a region populated by wild peacocks, colourful butterflies, bountiful rhododendrons and gently flowing rivers. And yet my personal favourite is a black and white study of sinuous fish set against turbulent waters. Titled ‘Ober Water’, the playful fish are set in habitat that begins as a gravel stream that wends its way to the Lymington River. There again, fish and frogs do feature regularly on the few Moorcroft pots in my own collection and I realise that it is only a matter of time and excess income before either the vase or the matching plaque end up with yours truly. Her best seller, launched in 2006, however, features everyone’s favourite insect amongst delicate blue flora adapted on to a range of shapes. ‘Fly away home’, as the title suggests, sees the introduction of numerous Ladybirds amongst exotic agapanthus flowers whilst set against bold reserves of creamy white that helps provide a relatively contemporary overall effect. In 2011 Rachel has once again adopted the mantle of William Moorcroft and introduced ‘Florian Flame’, a […]