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From Prim And Proper To Fun And Frolic – Dolls from 1900-1910 by Sue Brewer This was a strange decade; the first few years were overshadowed by the death of Queen Victoria. She died in 1901, after sixty-three years on the throne, and initially people found it hard to adjust to the thought of a king, Victoria`s son Bertie, who was proclaimed Edward VII. Naturally, Edward was no spring chicken, he was already sixty-one when his mother died, and, however fond he was of his mother, must have been waiting for this moment for decades. Although she was a reclusive old woman, her death plunged the whole world in shock, for Victoria had been greatly loved and admired; she was not just Queen of England, she was Empress to many far-flung lands. On the day of her funeral, it is said that even the prostitutes wore mourning (but presumably only for a short while!) Edward inherited a kingdom which had grown accustomed to a righteous, majestic, staid monarch (even if Victoria had, as rumours persisted, taken a lover in the shape of dour Scotsman John Brown), but he soon set about changing things. He liked to party, enjoyed his food, loved his drink and adored the ladies – and he didn`t let the fact he that was married get in the way. His long-suffering wife was the delightful, deaf Alexandra. The jolly, fun-loving king became immensely popular, and though his reign was brief, the first decade of the 1900s was very much stamped with his personality. It was a time of change, not only in attitude but in many spheres of development, not least, the doll world. By now, wax dolls which had been so common in the early and mid Victorian years were scarcely made, as manufactures realised the benefits of china, though makers such as Pierotti did continue the tradition for a couple more decades. This was really the era of the bisque doll. Bisque, an un-glazed form of porcelain, resembled human skin, and dolls became stunningly beautiful with large glass eyes, human hair or mohair wigs and delicate painting of lashes and lips. The German manufacturer Armand Marseille produced a doll which was to become a favourite for the next three decades – a pretty girl with the mould number 390 stamped on her neck. At first, she was issued with a body made from kid leather, later from wood or composition. As with many of the bisque dolls, the quality of the body seemed to deteriorate over the years, and later dolls often had more shapeless limbs as marketing became more and more intense. One of the reasons that the 390 girl became so popular was that Armand Marseille understood the importance of mass-marketing, and was able to flood the market with his dolls. By altering height, eye colour, head size, wig length and wig colour, the 390 doll could vary her appearance enormously. She must have been a very accessible doll at the time, certainly if the numbers of the dolls which are still around today are anything to go by. Naturally, there were many other German makers, such as Kammer & Reinhardt, Simon & Halbig, Heubach, Schoenau &Hoffmeister, and Kestner. In fact, the dolls poured from the factories, so causing the French manufacturers some concern. Eventually, companies such as Bru, Jumeau and several others banded together to form the Societe Francaise de Fabrication de Bebes et Jouets (S.F.B.J.) with the aim of increasing productivity, registering its trademark in 1905. The 1900s must have been exciting times; they were a time of invention and development. Perhaps the most important achievement was that by Wilbur and Orville Wright when, on the seventeenth of December 1903, they made the first ever controlled power flight. The brothers took turns in attempting to get their flimsy biplane off of the ground, finally succeeding in making four flights, the longest of which lasted for fifty-seven seconds. By doing so, they opened up the world – today, just over a hundred years later, we think nothing of twelve-hour flights, and man has even journeyed to the moon. Another innovation which changed our horizons was developed by Henry Ford. His 1908 Model T Ford, affectionately known as ‘Tin Lizzie’, was the first car to be produced in such quantity and at such an affordable price that it allowed motoring to be accessible to working-class people, not just the rich and affluent. Domestic life was made easier by the invention of the first electric washing machine, while the development of plastics, such as bakelite, would soon transform our lives. Young boys rushed to join the new Scout movement, formed by Baden-Powell in 1907, and three years later girls had their own organisation, the Girl Guides. In 1905 the Dean`s Rag Book Company was formed, as a subsidiary of a much older publishing company. Initially, the intention was to provide for ‘children who wear their food and eat their clothes’ according to the rag book`s originator! Soon, though, they were producing rag dolls as well, which at first were printed as sew-it-yourself calico panels called ‘Knock-About Toys’, and included a Geisha doll, Red Riding Hood and ‘Dolly and her wardrobe.’ However, it wasn’t long before Dean’s were making the dolls themselves. One of the earliest of the Dean`s dolls was a huge, 24 inch rag doll baby which could wear the clothes of a two-year old, but perhaps the most popular Dean`s rag dolls from the era were Betty Blue and Curly Locks. They also produced dressing-up clothes for boys and girls. Cloth dolls were manufactured by the Steiff company too, who nowadays are more famed for their teddy bears. Usually made from felt, these were often character dolls with glass eyes and stitched or painted mouths. One of the most famous cloth dolls of all time owes his origins to an early 1900s breakfast cereal – Sunny Jim, an old-fashioned gentleman, was a figure used to advertise Force wheat flakes. Later, from […]
When we think of Snow White, most of us remember the classic Walt Disney animated film, first released in 1937, and which has terrified small children ever since with its scary witch. However, the story of the film was not something that Disney dreamt up, it was based on a legend and, like similar tales, dates from centuries ago. The Disney version is very like the one which was noted down by the Brothers Grimm in 1857, and is one of the less bloodthirsty versions. One of the earliest written versions stems from 1634, long before the Brothers Grimm discovered it. Not intended for little ones, this tale was gradually enlarged, adapted and added to until it contained such intrigues as an illegitimate baby, cannibalism, witchcraft, lots of blood, murder, poisoning and sexual awakening. Perhaps it is not surprising that when Disney was searching for a suitable subject for his first full-length film, he decided to choose the diluted Grimm version, which he prettied-up and made even more harmless. Even so, it still contains poisoned gifts, attempted murder, witchcraft and the rather dubious concept of a young woman living with seven unmarried men! The Grimm Brothers begin their version with the description of a queen sewing as she watched the snowflakes falling. Not looking at what she was doing, she pricked her finger and a drop of scarlet blood fell. She thought that the red looked pretty on the snow, surrounded by the ebony of the window-frame, and she wished that one day she would have a child with snow-white skin, ebony hair and blood-red lips. In time, the queen did have such a baby, but then died, and the king took a new wife, who became the wicked stepmother. That’s when Snow White’s troubles began; the new queen was jealous and wanted the girl killed, and the story was skilfully and entertainingly brought to life by Walt Disney. When the film was issued, it was a huge success. It was Disney’s first feature film, and the music and colourful cartoons enchanted both children and adults. Many companies, such as Chad Valley, were quick to capitalise on the idea of media memorabilia. The Chad Valley sets were issued in the 1930s, and Snow White stood 16 inches tall, while the Dwarfs were around 6 inches. These calico-bodied dolls had moulded felt faces with painted features, and were very well modelled. Show White wore a pink and blue rayon dress with pink shoes and white underwear, while the Dwarfs had colourful felt outfits. Hair and beards were mohair, and they bore a reasonable facial resemblance to the cartoon versions. If you are very lucky, you might come across a doll with the original card swing tag, but in any case, the dolls should bear embroidered Chad Valley labels on their bodies. Today, a cloth Chad Valley Snow White, together with her Seven Dwarfs, in excellent condition, will cost you in the region of £1000. For most collectors, however, a Chad Valley set is beyond their reach; nevertheless many, more modern but still enchanting, dolls representing the ebony-haired girl and the droll dwarfs are available at just a fraction of that price. A grouping of them makes a particularly colourful collection. Snow White is one of those characters which everyone seems to recognise, and most people have a soft spot for her. The dwarfs are comical in appearance, so a Snow White display is cheerful and bright. Mattel have produced several versions of Snow White over the years, including a very pretty model dressed in her famous blue and yellow gown, which reveals her in a tattered dress, all ready to scrub the doorstep, when the skirt and sleeves are removed. Usually, these Mattel Disney dolls incorporate a Barbie body, but have a specially modelled head to represent the character concerned. For many years the company produced dolls to accompany the various films, but nowadays the dolls are often made by Vivid Imaginations or Simba. In the 1990s, Mattel issued a miniature Snow White, just seven inches high, in their ‘Dancing Princesses’ series. Finely dressed in her traditional yellow and blue clothing, she was mounted on a musical box. Small wheels under the music box enabled her to spin when the box was pushed along. Another Mattel series was the ‘Holiday Princess’ festive set, featuring Disney heroines. Amongst them was a pretty Snow White dressed in a blue bodice and white satin skirt, while the ‘Petite Holiday Princess’ collection contained miniatures of the dolls, with bells sewn into their skirts and a loop to hang them from a Christmas tree. Sets of Dwarfs were also made by the company, including an ingenious Dopey and Sneezy re-enacting a scene from the film when Dopey hid under Sneezy’s long coat. This clever toy had Dopey standing on Sneezy’s shoulders, and wearing an over-size coat which covered Sneezy, making Dopey appear twice as tall. Some of the Mattel dwarfs had colour-change functions; they held a magic ‘jewel’ or other item which changed colour with the application of cold water. The clothes were moulded on to their bodies. Dwarfs seem very popular; a super Sleepy made by Mattel in the 1980s snores as his eyes close. More recently, Vivid Imagination’s sets have include one which depicts them all in their nightshirts! Squidgy all-in-one moulded vinyl sets can also often be found. These date from the 1970s and were probably originally intended as baby toys, but they all add interest to a Disney doll collection. Barbie herself has depicted Snow White several times, as opposed to the character-headed version. A particularly attractive model is the Special Edition Snow White Barbie, from 1999, which depicts her in the classic yellow and blue gown. Barbie has exchanged her blonde hair and pink lips for black hair and bright face paint, and the overall effect is stunning. A doll very similar to Sindy appeared as Snow White, issued by Pedigree in 1978, and it is sought after today by […]
The Festival of Britain was a national event that took place in 1951. This event was meant to celebrate the end of World War II and commemorate the reconstruction of Britain. The festival was designed by architect Hugh Casson and artist Herbert Read, and it included exhibits, performances, and food from all over the world. We look at the Festival and some of the memorabilia created for the event. The Festival of Britain was a national event that took place in 1951 It was intended to celebrate the country’s achievements and to promote a sense of hope and unity after the difficult years of World War II. The festival included a wide range of events and attractions, including art exhibitions, concerts, sports competitions, and trade fairs. More than 8 million people attended the festival, which was widely considered to be a success. In subsequent years, the festival became an important part of British culture, helping to shape the country’s identity in the post-war era. The festival was designed by architect Hugh Casson and artist Herbert Read The Festival of Britain was timed to mark the 100th anniversary of the Great Exhibition of 1851. It was the brainchild of Labour politician Herbert Morrison, the event was seen as a way to boost morale and a ‘tonic for the nation’ in the aftermath of World War Two and to showcase the best of British art and culture. Hugh Casson, an architect and designer, was appointed as Director of Architecture for the festival. He oversaw the construction of several iconic buildings, including the Royal Festival Hall and the Skylon. Artist Herbert Read was also heavily involved in the festival, curating an exhibition of modern art that included works by Pablo Picasso and Henry Moore. Together, Casson and Read helped to make The Festival of Britain a resounding success, cementing their place in history as two of the most influential figures involved in the event. A bomb site on London’s South Bank was transformed into a number of Pavillions, and buildings including the Royal Festival Hall, a miniature railway designed by Rowland Emmett and even a giant funfair. The festival celebrated the end of World War II and commemorated the reconstruction of Britain The Festival of Britain was a national event that took place in 1951, celebrating the end of World War II and commemorating the reconstruction of Britain. The festival was open to the public and featured a wide range of attractions, including an exhibition on the history of British science and technology, a Central Zone with a variety of shops and restaurants, and a South Bank site with an auditorium, gardens, and a funfair. Over 8 million people visited the festival, making it one of the most successful events in British history. The festival helped to lift the nation’s spirits after the war and served as a symbol of hope for the future. It is remembered as a major turning point in British culture, paving the way for the “Swinging Sixties” and beyond. The festival included exhibits, performances, and food from all over the world One of the most iconic features of the festival was the different pavilions that were built to showcase different aspects of British life. The Transport Pavilion showcased the latest in British engineering, while the Technology Pavilion showed off the latest advances in science and technology. There was also an Arts Pavilion, which featured exhibitions from British artists, and a Housing Pavilion, which showcased the latest in British architecture. Each pavilion was designed to be a unique and exciting experience, and visitors to the festival loved exploring all the different areas. The most popular pavilion was the Dome of Discovery, which featured an exhibition on the history of science and technology. Other popular attractions included the Royal Albert Hall, where concerts and operas were held, and the Festival Gardens, which featured food from all over the world. Importantly, it also acted as a catalyst for a new design aesthetic, launching the career of noted British designers working in the fields of textiles, furniture and graphic design. Festival of Britain memorabilia The famous symbol of The Festival of Britain was Britannia which featured bunting, union jack colours, and a compass shape. It combined national pride and the idea of a seafaring superpower with the homely feel of a village fete. It was designed by Abram Games who won a competition in 1948 to create a logo for the event. Abram Games had previously been noted as an Official War Poster Artist. The ‘Britannia’ emblem of Abram Games was common, versatile, and memorable, appearing on advertising posters and promotional materials. It was also used on a whole range of memorabilia and souvenirs created for the event ranging from pottery to glass, books, jigsaw puzzles, clocks, cufflinks, even a Dunhill Aquarium Lighter, and many other items. Other items were also created which featured re-workings of the original logo and other designers such as Ruth Pavely and Norman Makinson. Related The Festival of Britain at the V&A Articles The World War II Posters of Abram Games
Whilst reporting on a toy auction I came across a collection of unique jointed metal dolls from the A. Bucherer and Cie Company of Amriswil, Switzerland. The dolls ranged from popular characters from the 1920s including Charlie Chaplin and Mutt & Jeff to farm ladies and a pilot. On checking my reference library I was only able to find one reference to A Bucherer dolls in Dawn Herlocher’s 200 Years of Dolls: Identification and Price Guide and even internet search did not reveal much more information of these inventive dolls except an excellent feature by Sherry Minton on AntiqueTrader. Luckily a number have made their way for sale and to the auction market enabling us examine the dolls in more detail. ‘Bucherer, Amriswil, 1921-1930, made dolls with a patented metal ball-jointed body. Advertised as having changeable heads, the dolls represented comic characters and celebrities such as everyday civilians such as chauffeurs, policemen and firemen. Many were dressed in regional costumes with outfits sewn directly onto the doll.’ 200 Years of Dolls: Identification and Price Guide by Dawn Herlocher The A. Bucherer and Cie Company produced dolls from 1921 to 1930. Swiss innovation and invention in the early 20th Century made the country a world leader in clocks and watch technology, and music boxes among others. It seems that knowledge and technology moved into the creation of finely articulated dolls. The dolls had changeable heads which were made of plaster composite material as were the hands and feet. Head features such as hats were also moulded see the Bucherer Policeman and Bucherer Coldstream Guard as examples. The dolls measured between 6 to 10 inches high and were marketed under the name SABA an acronym for Speilwarenfabrik (toy factory) August (first name of Burcherer) Burcherer Amriswil (location of factory). Many of the dolls were made for particular markets especially America where the celebrities and comic characters were popular, and according to records two-thirds of the dolls produced found their way to US market. Bucherer Reference 200 Years of Dolls: Identification and Price Guide (200 Years of Dolls: Identification & Price Guide) Speaking of Dolls: Metal in their bodies shows invention and innovation in the world of dolls by Sherry Minton
We take a look at some of the Christmas Collectables, Christmas Collectibles and Christmas gifts available for Xmas 2018. Royal Doulton Royal Doulton has several festive offerings including their annual Christmas Figure entitled Christmas Surprise, their 2018 Father Christmas entitled Santa Christmas List and the annual petite figure Glad Tidings. Also available are two new models from the Carol Singers collection: Angels from the Realms of Glory and Here We Come A-Carolling. We especially like Santa’s Christmas List which is a colourful study reflecting all the magical charm of the festive season. The jolly Santa reads from a scroll bearing the names of the children he’s leaving gifts for under the flamboyantly decorated Christmas Tree. For more details visit Royal Doulton. Jim Shore Heartland Creek Jim Shore does create wonderful festive items and colourful items. White Woodland Santa is a new addition to the White Woodland Collections from Heartwood Creek by Jim Shore. Standing at 48cm tall, this impressive piece features Mr Claus with his arms out-stretched, holding a piece of bark in his hands. At either side of the log are small woodland creatures including a squirrel and two birds. His feet are surrounded by other creatures, with the piece depicting a white rabbit and grey raccoon. There are a number of new pieces in the White Woodland collection whose colours feature muted winter tones of ice blues, silvers and greys, creating a coherent look that will complement other items across the range while working harmoniously in any home off-set against existing festive décor. For more details visit Enesco’s Heartwood Creek by Jim Shore. Swarovski Silver Crystal The release of the Swarovski annual Christmas ornaments, stars and editions are always keenly anticipated. The 2018 Christmas editions include the SCS Christmas ornament, annual Christmas ball and a Kris Bear annual edition. The Annual Edition Ornament 2018 has been designed by Verena Castelein and is in golden crystal with 156 facets, and comes with a golden satin ribbon and a specially designed metal tag engraved with ‘SCS’ on one side and ‘2018’ on the other. The Christmas Ball edition is very nice and has been designed by Stefanie Nederegger. The Christmas Ball Ornament, Annual Edition 2018 showcases a delicate shooting star, a symbol of dreams and wishes, inside a hand-made, mouth-blown glass ball. Small hand-glued crystals add extra sparkle and make each piece truly one-of-a-kind. The 2018 Kris Bear Christmas Annual Edition shows the Kris Bear in an active pose, decorating a colourful crystal Christmas tree with a golden crystal star on top. The edition has been modelled by artist Viktoria Holzknecht. For more details visit Swarovski.com. Lladro Lladro have released three versions of the Lladro Christmas Bell and three versions of the Lladro Christmas Ball. These classic designs both feature new decoration inspired by musical instruments. In matte porcelain and decorated in three different colours. For more details visit Lladro.com. Steiff The Sweet Santa Musical Teddy Bear by Steiff is a limited edition teddy made in white mohair. It is a limited edition piece, has the white ear tag and the trademark Button in Ear – gold plated, and is being produced in an edition of only 1225 pieces. It stands 27cm tall and plays Jingle Bells . Very sweet. Visit https://www.steiff.com for more details.
The George Ohr Pottery is one of the most fascinating ceramic art movements in history. The eccentric artist George Edgar Ohr was its founder, and his unique pottery has become highly sought after by collectors. However, much of George Ohr’s fame, recognition and interest in his work came posthumously. In this feature, we will take a look at the history of the George Ohr Pottery and explore why it is so unique. We will also discuss the life and work of George Edgar Ohr, and see why he is considered to be one of the most important ceramic artists of all time. George Edgar Ohr was born in Biloxi, Mississippi in 1857. He was the second of five children, the son of a German immigrant who ran a successful grocery business. As a young man, Ohr showed an interest in art and began to experiment with clay. He later studied ceramics at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and then apprenticed in 1879 with a local potter and family friend Joseph Fortune Meyer at his factory in New Orleans. After a couple of years of learning to be a potter Ohr travelled throughout America discovering the art-pottery movement. After learning how to “boss a little piece of clay into a gallon jug,” Ohr set out on his own to see what other potters were doing. In the early 1880s, he traveled through 16 states, dropping in on ceramics studios, shows and museums. By the time he got back to Biloxi in 1883, he had absorbed the essence of America’s burgeoning art-pottery movement. In Cincinnati’s Rookwood studio and a few others, potters were decorating their wares based on Japanese or French ceramics, adding animals, birds and bright floral designs. Ohr returned home determined to make art, not pots. (Bruce Watson) On his return Ohr opened his own pottery studio and shop in Biloxi, actually next to his father’s house. He found and used a red clay for the pottery along the banks of the Tchoutacabouffa River. Initially he created utility pieces such as pitchers, planters and chimney flues. He would later experiment with pots in anatomical shapes and eventually with pieces he called his “mud babies”. He did take his experimental pottery which featured unusual shapes glazed with wild colours to exhibitions in New Orleans and Chicago but they were not greatly received and did not sell well. The Mad Potter of Biloxi More eccentric than mad, George Ohr was happy to self proclaim as the “Mad Potter of Biloxi”. This was fuelled by the way he looked and his pottery and shop which was unlike anything that had been seen before. It is also said that his eccentricity can be seen in his pots. Several striking features were evident his large stature, his amazing 18 inch mustache and his eyes. Bruce Watson mentions “And there was something in Ohr’s eyes—dark, piercing and wild—that suggested, at the very least, advanced eccentricity.” The George Ohr Pottery was a mass of colour and the signs advertising the pottery and on the pottery also provided a great deal of humour including “Pot-Ohr-E”, “Get a Biloxi Souvenir, Before the Potter Dies, or Gets a Reputation”, and “Unequaled unrivaled—undisputed— GREATEST ARTPOTTERON THE EARTH.” He was certainly way ahead of his time. His work really evolved after a great fire in 1894 destroyed a lot of downtown Biloxi including Ohr’s fathers shop and his own pottery. Ohr collected his “killed babies” (the burned pots he had made) and apparently kept them forever. Ohr was able to rebuild his pottery including its pagoda. The fire ignited a new desire in Ohr to make pottery as distinctive as he was. He stopped glazing pots stating “God put no color in souls, and I’ll put no color in my pottery”. The best of Ohr’s pots are formed, thrown paper thin and then manipulated with twists, crinkles, crimping, ruffling, off-centering, twisting folds and dimples using his coil and pinch method. He threw perfectly formed pots and then misshaped them. He was creating Abstract Expressionist objects 50 years before the movement started. There is debate on how he could have created such fine, thin pottery at the time and it is possibly something in the red clay he gathered himself. He was against large scale factory production and thought that only real art could be made by the individual. Ohr’s work is extraordinarily idiosyncratic and he practiced his own mantra of “no two alike.” George Ohr stopped potting in 1909 having claimed he had not sold a pot for years. Articles and features suggest that at the time of his death in 1918 there were some 7,000 (although some articles refer to 10,000 to 20,000) pieces of unsold pieces. One reason that Ohr did not sell many of his pots was the high prices he put on them. “When I am gone, my work will be praised, honored, and cherished. It will come.” George Ohr Surprisingly, it was not until fifty years later that the collection was once again discovered and a few years later started to trickle into the market. In the 1980s his work started to receive critical acclaim and pottery that a hundred years previously struggled to sell were now selling for thousands of dollars. Artists, including Jasper Johns and Andy Warhol, bought Ohr’s pots, as did several collectors, though the curator of ceramics at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History protested Ohr’s inclusion in a show in 1978, calling him “just plain hokey.” Only in 1984, when Ohr pots appeared in paintings by Johns at New York’s Leo Castelli Gallery, did praise and critical esteem begin to flow. After a series of one-man shows of Ohr’s work, collectors such as Steven Spielberg and Jack Nicholson purchased pieces and drove prices up. Today, the same pots scorned a century ago sell from $20,000 to $60,000 each. (Bruce Watson) George Edgar Ohr is considered the most important US ceramic artist for several reasons. First, he was a […]
For nearly 80 years, the Murano Cenedese glass factory has been renowned for its exquisite handcrafted glass creations. Founded in Venice, Italy in 1946 by master glassblower Gino Cenedese (1907-1973). He initially started the factory with several other glass masters of the time: Alfredo Barbini, Gino Fort, Angelo Tosi and Pietro Scaramal. Gino Cenedese took full control of art factory in 1949. Cenedese Glass quickly established itself as one of the most sought-after glass brands in the world. Gino Cenedese was a true visionary. With a deep respect for the artistic heritage of Murano glassmaking and an innate talent for creating beautiful and innovative pieces, Cenedese quickly rose to fame in the international art scene. His innovative designs captured people’s imaginations and earned him numerous awards and accolades over the years. Despite Gino’s early death in 1973, the legacy of Murano Cenedese lives on today through its stunning works of art. Whether you are admiring a radiant sculpture or sipping from a delicate goblet, each piece is a testament to Gino’s tireless dedication to beauty and craftsmanship. Cenedese’s Collaboration with Artists and Designers Over the years Gino Cedenese invited many of the most talented glass designers and artists to work at the factory including: Napoleone Martinuzzi, Antonio da Ros, Riccardo Licata, Ermanno Nason and Fulvio Bianconi. Though remaining closely bound to the ancient tradition of classical Murano glass – with hand blown glasses, vases, dishes, goblets and Venetian chandeliers – the production opened to the suggestions of contemporary art, pushed by a continuous research for new techniques and effects made possible by glass, and taking advantage of the collaboration with various artists and designers, each one bringing his personal interpretation of the material, colour, and light, each pieces marked out by the manual skill and the talent of the masters. Source ars cedenese web site. Napoleone Martinuzzi Napoleone Martinuzzi was a sculptor who worked for the prestigious Cenedese glass factory from 1953 to 1958. Throughout his career, Martinuzzi demonstrated a masterful command of the medium, creating striking glass sculptures with great skill and precision. Martinuzzi’s pieces were admired for their fluidity and grace, with many critics praising his use of color and texture to achieve beautiful effects. At the same time, however, Martinuzzi also had a deep appreciation for traditional arts like wood carving and sculpture and sought to incorporate these elements into his work. By blending modern techniques with classical forms and ideas, Napoleone Martinuzzi became one of the leading figures in the world of glass sculpture. When deciding what piece to display by Napoleone Martinuzzi we thought this piece The Creation of the World shows why he became one of the leading figures in the world. The Creation of the World designed 1953 for Vetreria Gino Cenedese, two illuminated columns each inset with applied glass scavo panels depicting Adam and Eve, human figures, flora, fauna and fish each column 80 1/2in (204.5cm); width 16in (40.5cm); depth 8 1/2in (21.5cm). Sold for US$ 50,312 inc. premium at Bonhams, New York, December 2021. Antonio da Ros Antonio da Ros was a talented glass designer who worked for the Cenedese factory in the 1960s. Throughout his career, Antonio was known for his innovative and creative approach to glass design. He is perhaps best-known for his unique “submerged” glass forms, which feature an asymmetrical shape that seems to almost vanish into thin air. Antonio had a unique ability to see potential in ordinary, everyday objects like vases and vessels, and his work transformed the medium of glass into something both beautiful and ethereal. a local artist fascinated by the decorative and chromatic possibilities of glass, who brought a fresh and enthusiastic approach that led to the search of unprecedented forms and chromatic effects. With Da Ros, the Sixties saw an important creation of the “submerged” glass forms among which the “Contrappunti”, fluids submerged playing on different tones of colours Source ars cedenese web site. Riccardo Licata Riccardo Licata (b, 1929) was a talented glass designer who worked for the prestigious Cedenese glass factory in Italy. Throughout his career, Riccardo focused on creating beautiful and intricate designs that brought out the natural beauty of glass. His most famous work is perhaps the glass fish aquarium block sculpture that he designed in 1952. This innovative piece captures the energy and gracefulness of swimming fish while also showcasing Riccardo’s remarkable skill as a glass artist. Today, Riccardo’s work continues to be admired and celebrated by artists and designers all over the world, and he remains an inspiration to aspiring glass designers everywhere. Ermanno Nason Ermanno Nason was a master glass-craftsman and artist who worked for the Cedenese glass factory from 1963 to 1972. He is best known for his innovative use of color and light in his glasswork. Nason’s pieces are characterized by their bold, vibrant colors and clean lines. He is best known for his “Nason e Vidal” line of stemware, which was produced by the factory. In addition to stemware, Nason also designed a number of other glass products, including bowls, vases, and Ashtrays. His work is characterized by its clean lines and simple forms. Nason’s work was influenced by the Italian Modernist movement, as well as by Scandinavian design. Ermanno Nason’s work is highly sought-after by collectors and enthusiasts alike. His pieces can be found in some of the world’s most prestigious museums, including the Museo di Vetro di Murano in Italy and the Corning Museum of Glass in New York. Fulvio Bianconi Fulvio Bianconi was a talented glass-craftsman who worked for the Cedenese glass factory from 1954 to 1962. During this time, he developed a revolutionary technique for working with glass that involved using both heat and pressure to create stunning works of art. Bianconi’s original pieces combined a number of different textured elements, each layer perfectly balanced against the next. His work quickly gained acclaim in the art world, and today his pieces are considered some of the finest examples of contemporary glass-craft. Pushing the Boundaries through Collaboration Over […]
Collecting Communion Tokens and small Communion Tokens price guide. Communion tokens were round or oval in shape, and they were given to individuals who took communion in churches during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Presbyterian worship in Scotland is particularly associated with them, but they may also be found in England, the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland. The Communion tokens were used to identify those who were entitled to receive Communion. The minister would give the person a token before giving them Communion. When Communion was being given, the individual would show the token to the Communion steward. There are a number of reasons why communion tokens were used. First, communion tokens ensured that only those who were members of the church and who had been properly instructed in the faith were able to receive Communion. This was important because Communion is a sacred act in which Christians partake of the body and blood of Christ. Second, communion tokens helped to prevent Communion from being taken by those who might not appreciate its significance or who might abuse it in some way. Finally, communion tokens served as a tangible reminder of an individual’s commitment to the Christian faith. Though communion tokens fell out of use in the 18th century, they remain an important part of Protestant and Calvinist history. Communion tokens remind us of the importance of maintaining a proper understanding of Communion and of our commitment to the Christian faith. They were also used as a means of identifying Communion members who had been away from the church for a period of time. They were also given to children when they were first admitted to communion. Often, these tokens would be made of metal or other durable materials and would be worn around the neck or on a keychain. The most common materials were metal, wood, and bone. In some cases, Communion Tokens were also made of other materials such as stone or glass. They could have holes in the centre and so could be strung together. Tokens were often engraved with a Christian symbol or the initials of the person who received the Communion Token. Communion tokens were collectibles even back then and people would try to get as many different ones as possible. There are many different types of communion tokens that can be found. Some have biblical scenes or symbols on them, while others have the name of the church or the year they were made. Messages on tokens would include biblical quotes such as ‘This Do In Remembrance of Me’ and ‘Let A Man Examine Himself’. Today, they are still collected by some people as a hobby and for the most part can be acquired fairly inexpensively.
The wonderful Beswick Butterfly Plaques are quite rare and were produced from 1957 to 1963 and were all designed by Albert Hallam. We take a look at these colourful creations with a price guide of sales at auction. There are thought to be nine designs and were made in large, medium and small sizes. Each Beswick Butterfly Plaque had a model number from 1487 to 1495. The model name and number is on the reverse of each butterfly plaque. The wire antennae on the butterflies are quite fragile so complete examples in perfect condition can fetch a premium. List of Butterfly plaques with their model number: 1487 Purple Emperor Butterfly 1488 Red Admiral Butterfly 1489 Peacock Butterfly 1490 Clouded Yellow Butterfly 1491 Tortoiseshell Butterfly 1492 Swallow-tail Butterfly 1493 Small Copper Butterfly 1494 Purple Hairstreak Butterfly 1495 Small Heath Butterfly Beswick Butterfly Plaques Price Guide The collection of butterfly models by Albert Hallam are a rarity among Beswick and most modern collectables in that the prices are stable and rising. The prices for most butterflies are more than during the 1990s when many collectables peaked. Typical prices at auction are shown under each butterfly pictured. A great series and one that looks to be a long term investment.
Everything about our lives is influenced by design, whether it is the offices that we work in or the clothes that we wear – someone, somewhere has taken a vision and made it reality. Design appears in all industries from fashion to architecture and art to furniture but one of the most affluent areas of contemporary design has to be that of Ceramics. Pictured right: Keith Murray for Wedgwood: a green glazed bomb shape vase, 20cm. Sold for £125 at Bonhams, Oxford, 2012. The Art Deco period erupted in an explosion of colour and geometric shapes with female designers such as Clarice Cliff and Susie Cooper at the helm, but there was one man, so ahead of his time, that although his pieces were created in the 1930s they sit just as well in any display cabinet today. Keith Murray’s simplistic modernist designs are not only sought after but are proof that the Art Deco period was responsible for some of the most innovative designs of our time. Pictured left: Keith Murray at work Born Keith Day Pearce Murray in Auckland, New Zealand on 5th July 1892, he originally trained as an architect in London. However, after qualifying he found it difficult to obtain work so instead started to sketch illustrations for an architectural magazine. It was on his travels sketching buildings that he visited Paris and discovered the beautiful French and Scandinavian glass. Realising that he too, could produce designs for glass he approached Arthur Marriott Powell of the Whitefriars Glass factory in London with his ideas. Unfortunately Powell didn’t find them suitable for the factory and so couldn’t offer Murray work. Refusing to give up he landed himself a freelance position with ‘Stevens and Willams’ at Royal Brierley Crystal where he produced over 1200 stunning designs in glass between 1932 and 1939 with Cactus being his most recognised design. Although Murray was a highly accomplished glass designer, it is his designs in ceramics that command high prices today and are eagerly collected. Pictured right: Keith Murray A Wedgwood cream glazed vase – sold for £470 (inc premium) and a Keith Murray A Wedgwood moonstone vase – sold for £352 (inc premium) at Bonhams, Edinburgh, 2006. Murray’s ceramics career started when Josiah Wedgwood invited him to visit the Wedgwood Factory. He was then employed to produce designs for dinner and teaware. It is here that Murray’s famous ribbing designs began to form and today these early pieces can fetch unbelievable prices on the secondary market. The first range that Murray worked on was titled ‘Annular’, and working alongside Tom Wedgwood he helped finalise this range. Murray then took his inspiration from the Annular range to produce other pieces, which included vases and bowls. Murray’s work was also heavily influenced by his architectural background; rather than heavily decorated pieces like Clarice Cliff and Susie Cooper each piece was stylised, so visually more distinctive by shape and form. The technique used was very simple; the throwers created the basic shape and then lathe-turned the item to create the ribbing. This was a technique that Wedgwood had used in the 19th Century and it worked well on Murray’s more modernist designs. Once a piece had been made it was then decorated in high quality monochrome glazes, which were originally created by Norman Wilson when he joined Wedgwood in 1927. The glaze finish was another distinctive feature of Murray’s work because each piece was matt, semi-matt or celadon and not the usual high gloss glazes that you see on earthenware pieces today. Colours ranged from matt green to moonstone and there are even black pieces available on the market, these being extremely desirable as they are rarer than the other colours. Pictured left: Keith Murray, Football Vase. Image Copyright Bonhams. The most collected of Murray’s designs from this period are the clean, crisp engine –turned fluted vases (1930), they fetch around £500- £800 on the secondary market. A Bulbous ribbed vase (1932) can realise £800 to £900 and a matt green desk (1932) set would set you back in the region of £1,000 to £1,500. Although the prices are starting to hit the same dizzy heights as Clarice Cliff’s designs you can still pick up good examples at reasonable prices. A small matt green sweet dish (1932) would only cost around £40-£50 and the same for a cup and saucer. If you decided to collect Murray’s work you will soon realise that it is easily recognisable as it stands out from any other piece from this period. Early pieces always bear Keith Murray’s signature above the Wedgwood mark and this was used from 1933 onwards. On smaller pieces it was difficult to use the full Murray signature so the letters “KM” were used instead. Murray’s designs proved a sensational hit so in 1933 he exhibited his work at the John Lewis Store in London. His work was beginning to show in Wedgwood’s annual turnover so he was then asked to diversify and produce some decorative tableware patterns. Murray agreed, although he did not like the intricate patterns that he had to produce, as he was a designer to the core and preferred to work with shapes rather than paint patterns. The tableware patterns that he designed are not as sought after by collectors but they may well be in the future so look for patterns such as ‘Weeping Willow’ and ‘Pink Flower’ because not only are they more affordable, they could raise in value in years to come. Murray continued to design in earthenware and glass but in 1934 the Royal Silversmiths Mappin and Webb approached him and asked if he could produce bowls and vases in silver working to the same designs as his Wedgwood pieces. One of his most successful Wedgwood items was a beer mug and this was reproduced in silver for Mappin and Webb. By 1936 The Royal Society of Arts had awarded Murray as a Royal Designer for the Industry because of his professional achievements and he even went on to […]