two day Lilliput Lane and Border Fine Arts Collectors Fair 2000
took place on the 17th and 18th June, the two hottest days of
the year so far in the UK.
Hall, Marketing Director estimated that about 7,000 collectors
visited the fair, which took place at Syon Park with the fabulous
Syon House as its backdrop.
Syon Park, is the London home of the Duke of Northumberland.
Syon House itself is built on the site of a medieval abbey dissolved
by Henry VIII in 1539. The park was later landcsaped by Capability
Brown in the 18th century and within the grounds there is a
Doric column bearing Flora, goddess of flowers, a Rose Garden
and over 200 species of rare trees.
Great Conservatory, whose centre section was the basis of the
Lilliput Lane special event model (pictured
left – click image for more detail), was built by the
third Duke. The special event model was available on the day,
but had to be pre-ordered.
were a large number of attractions and entertainment laid on
around the fair including the exciting Devil’s Horsemen Cossack
Stunt Riding Team (pictured right – click
image for more detail) who delighted the crowds with
Also on site was Bill Brookman’s Amazing Victorian Street Theatre,
and a Living Victorian Street Scene complete with Victorian
crafts demonstrations and street players.
usual for Lilliput Lane collectors, there were the usual assorment
of activities including: Paint Your Own, competitions, demonstrations,
exhibitions, and founder David Tate was at hand to answer questions
and sign autographs.
Steve and Kathy Rosson are pictured left (click image for more
detail) with their family in the Paint Your Own Tent, which
this year featured a new model Summer Sunday. Steve and Kathy
Rosson had travelled from California to attend the event, and
were having a ‘wonderful day out’.
It’s nice to put a face to a cottage and several Lilliput Lane
sculptors were at hand demonstrating their skills. Pictured
right is Jack Missekbrook (click image for more detail) who
latest collection is the Snow Place Like Home Collection which
features a charming series of snowed cottages, all with a Frosty
the Snowman character. These have only just been released in
the June introductions.
Marston and Don Gibson, writers of The Pokcet Guide to Lilliput
Lane were also in attendance promoting, signing and selling
the second edition of their price guide. This really is a great
little book, with excellent pictures of nearly everything Lilliput
Lane have ever produced. The prices seem a touch high, but an
invaluable resource all the same. Viv Martson is pictured right
(click image for more detail) .
Border Fine Arts collectors there was a production exhibition
of a Border Fine Arts figurine, a Sculpting exhibition by among
others master sculptor Ray Ayres, a complete Border Fine Arts
collection on display and a Museum of retired Border Fine Arts.
Other events included a static bird of prey display, and the
Hydestile Animal Hospital, as well as talks.
left is Ray Ares (click image for more detail) who was demonstrating
his amzing talent throughtout the two days. Also pictured right
is leading painter Drew Weatherstone (click image for more detail)
, painting a new model called Hay Cutting Starts Today.
of the fair’s activities Syon Park was a spectacular venue and
has several other attractions which collectors had the chance
to visit inclduing: The London Butterfly House (which contains
species of live tropical butterflies), The Aquatic Experience
(which features endangered species of fish, reptiles and amphibians)
and The Syon Park Farm Shop.
Combining the event with two collectables was a great idea –
everyone we spoke to had a wonderful time and were impressed
by the organisation and range of events and activities available.
Hopefully, some existing Lilliput Lane collectors will have
found a new hobby and vice versa. As to next years show – it
is still to be decided. We spoke to Sandra Tate who said normally
everything had been arranged but so far a venue had to be decided.
In the Lilliput Lane collectors tent, the club was asking for
ideas and a vote was in progress to find a favoured region.
At the time of leaving t he votes were:
North East – 1, North West – 2, West Midlands – 3, East Midlands
– 16, Home Counties – 9, South West – 8, South East – 30, Scotland
– 3, Wales – 2, Northern Ireland – 1. Also suggested were Australia,
USA and New Zealand.
Write for WCN
Random Collecting Feature
Most people recognise pieces of Szeiler – even if they don’t know what they are. A contradiction in terms? Maybe, but any visit to an antiques centre or collectables fair will result in the sighting of several of these charming pieces nestling quietly amongst brighter ceramic figures, waiting for their subtle appeal to be noticed. And once you’ve noticed, you’re hooked! Many people must have fallen for one of these attractive sculptures without even reading the backstamp, and only later seen the oval Szeiler logo. A typical Szeiler piece will be a small animal, such as a cat, dog or donkey, modelled in a slightly stylised pose with smooth contours which entice you to touch, and probably it will be decorated in light beige, white, or the palest of blue. Joseph Szeiler was born in Hungary in 1924. Though his original ambition was to become a veterinary surgeon, he was forced to give up his studies at Budapest University because the country was in such turmoil. After fleeing to Austria, he arrived in Britain in 1948, and worked at various potteries in the Midlands, including Wade Heath, where he was employed as a caster. Joseph obviously enjoyed the work because he decided to study ceramics and learn all he could about modelling, until finally he was skilled enough to have his own business. He went to work for an esteemed freelance modeller, C S Lancaster of Burslem, who taught him the various processes involved, including mould making and casting. Joseph also attended evening classes at Burslem School of Art. By 1951 he was in business, working from a small rented room in Hanley, but as he had no kiln he had to carry the heavy boxes of greenware for a mile to the local tile factory which fired the pieces for him. He modelled small creatures, decorating and glazing them himself, and his love of animals is evident in his work. Four years later he had earned enough money to open his own factory at Burslem where he produced not only animals, but also tableware, vases and other small pieces, and employed six people, including two of his fellow countrymen. One of Joseph’s most popular lines was the sad-eyed dog. These melancholy sitting spaniels with ultra-large heads came in a variety of sizes, and are still favourites with today’s collectors, who attempt to get the full range – more difficult than it sounds, as new sizes are still being discovered. It seems that much of the ware hasn’t been fully researched or listed, and though collectors are doing their best by noting everything they find, unknown pieces are still coming to light. Many of the creatures have a ‘cartoon-type’ sweet appearance, such as the spaniels mentioned earlier, and a range of cats (actually referred to as Bighead cats in an early Szeiler catalogue), which came in various colours such as tabby, grey, black or Siamese, and stood two-and-a-half inches tall. A ‘Nightie’ cat was a Bighead standing, wearing a long nightdress, and a Puffy cat was plump and round, and decorated with coloured spots! Another charming model featured a kitten with a drum, demonstrating to perfection Szeiler’s classic beige/ white/blue colouring. Bears included a range of adorable chunky cubs, about four inches tall, sitting upright with their forepaws casually resting on their hindpaws. Another played peek-a-boo by peeping cheekily through his legs. Donkeys must have been in demand, too, judging by the variety produced by the company. Many of them had ultra-long ears, vulnerable to breakage so always check before you buy to make sure they haven’t been repaired. As with the dogs, donkeys can be found in many sizes in both sitting and standing poses. Donkeys pulling carts were also made, once again showing off that attractive colour scheme. The enormous variety of creatures produced by the factory included foxes, zebras, pigs, deer, goats, chimpanzees, kingfishers, penguins and lambs. Giraffes were particularly attractive with caricature type faces and the distinctive beige and blue colouring. Horses, too, were popular and were featured in several poses including grazing, standing, lying and rearing on their hind legs. As well as the sad-eyed character spaniels, numerous realistic models of dogs were made such as corgis, poodles and collies. The catalogue also lists ‘Tubby dog’ and ‘Podgy dog’! A popular piece in the 1960s was a scared mouse inside a brandy glass, with an inquisitive cat attempting to climb inside, and one wonders how many homes still contain those Szeiler-made cat and mice. Some of the animal ranges were fancifully decorated with a floral design, and these could form a super collection on their own. Floral elephants, cows, pigs and, perhaps nicest of all, yawning hippos, would bring a smile to any ceramics display. The Nationality Series was an intriguing range featuring a collection of dogs dressed to resemble various countries. Each little dog was mounted on a base bearing its name written in script, and was modelled with great humour. George was an English bulldog wielding a cricket bat, Ping a Chinese pekinese with a conical straw hat, Gwen a Welsh corgi in traditional tall black hat, Jock a kilted Highland terrier and Pierre, a beretwearing French poodle clutching a baguette. Studio Szeiler also produced an enormous range of tiny white oval vases, edged in gold, each bearing a transfer print. These vases must have been sold in every souvenir shop across the country, judging from the huge amount around today – and they were still being produced in the late 1970s, as they could be obtained commemorating the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. Though lacking the charm of the skilfully moulded animals, they would form an inexpensive collection, and, as with the figures, look best when they are grouped. They measure three inches in height (though some are slightly taller), and would only have held a very tiny posy. The tremendous range of subjects included dogs, cats, owls, butterflies, flowers and birds – it seems that any transfer available was used for these […]
Classed as one of the most important pioneers of the Arts & Crafts movement, William De Morgan was a prolific potter, inventor, novelist and designer.
Kitchenalia are items and utensils associated with the kitchen and are now collected. These kitchenalia items range from Victorian copper jelly moulds and glass rolling pins to 1950s/1960s retro items to Kenwood Chef mixers to modern kitchen classics such as Alessi. Unlike other rooms, the kitchen is much more difficult to personalise. Kitchens, especially those in modern houses, tend to consist of rows of white metal appliances with wooden cupboards above. Pictured: Carlton Ware Sheep Mint Sauce Boat Unlike kitchens found in older houses, or those used by our ancestors (to whom many of our modern gadgets would seem alien), kitchens nowadays are often long and narrow, so it’s difficult to squeeze in a traditional dresser, let alone an old-fashioned cooking range or even an Aga. Many people today enjoy the minimalist, almost sterile look of a modern kitchen, but some of us still crave individuality. So how do we achieve it? If you want your kitchen to acquire a retro look, then there are thousands of items out there to accent your kitchen, from original 50s, 60s (and earlier) items of kitchenware through to streamlined 1970s, 80s, 90s and 2000s classics. With cooking being the in-thing right now, thanks to Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay and co., there has been an upsurge of interest in kitchenalia. However smart a modern glass mixing bowl, plastic jug or non-stick saucepan can be, you can’t beat an earthenware bowl, blue striped Cornishware jug or maybe a seventies’ Poole casserole dish for adding a bit of warmth to your kitchen. Pictured: 1970s Kenwood Chef Some people embrace the collecting fad with a passion – they collect egg cups, or cruet sets or old mugs and display them on shelves to create a focal point – while others concentrate on a few, maybe larger items; an old enamel bread bin or perhaps a colourful enamel kettle. Sometimes, these old kettles and pans aren’t suitable for use on a modern hob, but they can still make a decorative statement. I think some of the most elegant of kitchen items are those long, tall sixties’ and seventies’ coffee pots. Many were ceramic, made by companies such as Meakin and Midwinter, while others were in subtle brushed stainless steel. The Russell Hobbs’ 3008 automatic coffee pot from the 1970s, with its wooden handle and tapered body, is still stylish today, and looks much more chic than a contemporary glass and plastic cafetiere. Other electrical items still sought after for modern kitchens include Kenwood Chef food mixers, Russell Hobbs’ stainless steel kettles and early toasters. Larger items too are collected by some people; I still use a 1960’s electric cooker manufactured by English Electric, and would never swap it for an up-to-date one. The solid doors and large, heavy grill pan are rarely found in modern cookers. Besides, the styling is much more ‘friendly’ than the flat, bland surfaces of today’s cooking appliances. Pictured: 1960s T G Green Roulette Kitchen Jars One traditional item still collected today is Cornishware, especially the blue and white striped variety. Originally made by T. G. Green, many look-a-likes appeared when other companies began copying the design after seeing how popular it had become. Fresh and summery, it is said that it gained its name after being described by a West Country salesman as reminding him of ‘blue Cornish skies and white-crested waves’. The blue and white ware was first introduced in the 1920s, and it became an immediate hit. Older or rare pieces are snapped up by today’s collectors. The company was actually based in Staffordshire, and the T. G. Green brand name is still used. In the 1950s, when British pottery design was becoming more ambitious, many designs were produced to coincide with, or were influenced by, the Festival of Britain. Often they had ‘futuristic’ designs based on atoms, or featured exotic scenes, ballet dancers or even items of furniture, such as the iconic ‘Homemaker’ range by Enid Seeley for Ridgway Poteries, which was sold exclusively through Woolworths. Pictured: 1970s Boscastle Salt Pig Another fad was to have different coloured cups and saucers (most people used cups and saucers back then, rather than mugs). By the 1960s, Midwinter, Portmeirion, Meakin and others were filling the shops with their attractive, dynamic designs. Some were stunning, and of course are the ideal kitchen collectable, as they can be regularly used, although it is best not to put them in the dishwasher, as the pattern might fade. I have a soft spot for those ceramics made by the smaller studios, which often you never hear of unless you happen to see a ‘pottery’ sign as you pass by some narrow country lane. You can often find attractive mugs, jugs and pots which look perfect in a kitchen. In the 1960s and 70s I collected various pieces of ‘kitchen’ pottery, mainly from the West Country. One of my favourites is a painted, unglazed ‘salt pig’ from Boscastle Pottery with a delicate tree design, the shape of which resembles the pots used in kitchens centuries ago. The design technique is known as Mochaware and is created by applying ‘mocha tea’, a mix of oxides, to the wet slip. Sometimes tobacco or coffee are used instead. This results in a staining in the formation of a fern-like pattern, and no two are identical. Another absolute favourite of mine is Tintagel ware, especially the soft pink and green ‘eye’ versions, which I think are just beautiful, and the swirly deep green dragon designs.. Fruit bowls, jam pots, jugs, vases, egg cups and cheese dishes – Tintagel pottery was established in 1948, and is still made in the mystical Cornish village, where rumour has it that King Arthur once roamed. There are also those distinctive cheese dishes and other items with hand drawn characters by Toni Raymond. Toni Raymond ware first appeared in the 1950s, and in the 1960s they acquired Babbacombe Pottery. Also collectable are Szeiler animal face dripping pots, Sylvac face pots and the later attractive line […]
Well, if your reading this you must be a collector, whether it be comics, coins or fine antiques. I’m sure that at sometime during your search for what you collect you have come across PEZ dispensers. Maybe you have read an article about PEZ collecting, seen PEZ dispensers for sale, or just have seen it on television. By your reading this you must have that urge to learn more about PEZ, maybe even start a collection of PEZ dispensers. Let me first tell you that it is habit forming and if you read further you do so at your own risk. Let me start by telling you a little about myself. I’m a “baby boomer” that started collecting pretty much like you. I heard that people collected PEZ and thought that it would be something fun to do. But I never knew I would one day be involved in PEZ collecting as I am. I started to sell PEZ to help feed my habit. I know it sounds like I have an addiction. Well, I do. My wife thought I was crazy. My family thought I was crazy. Am I crazy? No, not really. Buying PEZ to resell? Who is going to buy PEZ? I found there was plenty other collectors of PEZ out there. That was a few years ago. Now, I am the editor of “PEZ Collector’s News” and still collect PEZ. We are almost in our second year of the newsletter and we thought we would be happy with 500 subscribers. Well, I found that there are more PEZ collectors than I ever imagined. We have almost 1,500 subscribers and more sign up everyday. Enough about that, now to tell you a little about what makes PEZ so fun to collect. At any given time there are between 60 and 75 different dispensers that you can buy for about $1.00 each. Not bad, something inexpensive that’s fun to collect. I’m sure that in the current PEZ line you can find some character that you like. The current line includes some of your favorites like the Flintstones, Peanuts, Looney Tunes, Garfield and friends, Super Heroes, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Disney line, Trucks, Whistles, Dinosaurs, Muppets, Holiday dispensers and the new Star Wars line. Some people only collect the currents, some people only collect one line. One thing for sure, people do collect PEZ dispensers. Current dispenser can be bought in larger chain stores such as “Toys R Us”, K-Mart or a chain drug store. Once you get into collecting PEZ and buy all of the current dispensers the next question is “Where can I buy older PEZ?”. I only have one answer and that the best place to buy PEZ is from the dealers that advertise in the newsletter. Of course you can buy PEZ at flea markets. They are getting much harder to find at reasonable prices and in good condition. One thing, make sure you know what you are buying and what it is worth. Antique dealers seem to talk a good story, but for the most part they don’t know a great PEZ from a good PEZ. Some “antique dealers” go to their corner store, buy a PEZ dispenser, open the package and place a price tag. You, the consumer must know how much a dispenser is worth before you pay for it. Yes, even I paid up to $5 for dispensers that I could have bought in a store for $1. Who knew? Another question that is commonly asked is “Should I buy PEZ dispensers that are missing parts?”. Well, it is very hard to match parts and make your own perfect dispenser. I have a pile of broken PEZ, that someday they will be whole again. Oh, one big question is “Should I keep it in the package or open it up?”. My answer is to buy two dispensers. At $1 each they are cheap enough to buy two. Open one to display and keep one in the package to increase in value. If you do decide to collect PEZ, become an educated consumer. There are several books about PEZ collecting, buy one. Read it and become aware of what every dispenser looks like. Attend a convention. This year there will be 5 convention across the U.S. Attend one, look and see what all of the talk is about. Once you see some of the PEZ dispensers, bet you say “I had that one as a kid!”. Bringing back memories and having fun is what collecting is about. Right? Related PEZ Information
We are not the only ones who celebrate Christmas – dolls do, too! Often, manufacturers issue their regular lines festively dressed in Christmas colours of red and green, or maybe silver, gold or white. They trim the costumes with white ‘fur’, tinsel, glitter or sparkly sequins – anything to make the doll look more Christmassy. Sometimes a Christmas special is dressed as a fairy, Santa or a character from a pantomime or fairy tale. Usually these dolls are made in limited numbers and, because they are sold for such a short period, eventually become very collectable. Teen dolls are often issued as Christmas Specials, such as the delightful Festive Sindy issued by Hasbro in 1997. She was dressed in a gold-flecked red gown with white fur trim, her hair covered by a fur-edged hood. More recently, Vivid Imaginations produced a Christmas Sindy, only available through Argos. Sindy was dressed in a short red Santa-style mini-dress, worn with a cap and cape, all edged in white fur. This doll is sure to become a future collectable. Barbie features in the ‘Happy Holidays’ collection which began in 1988, in a variety of gowns such as the full-skirted black & silver velvet ballgown worn with a dramatic cerise satin stole, dating from 1998. Her fabulous gowns use luxury fabrics in shades of green, scarlet, gold or white. The smaller dolls in the Barbie range, such as Maura, also often appear in festive mood. A couple of years ago, Maura was dressed as Winter in a pretty white and ice-blue dress scattered with snowflakes, and sporting a fetching pair of teddy earmuffs. Occasionally, dolls are issued in Christmas play sets. A few years ago the enchanting Madeline dolls, based on a character originally created by Ludwig Bemelmans in the 1930s, included a festive set in their range. Madeline is a pupil at a Parisienne school run by nuns, and dolls representing her and her friends were made by Eden in the 1990s, but have now been taken over by Learning Curve. The Madeline Christmas Gift set comprised a seven and a half inch tall doll wearing a santa-type outfit of a red dress edged with white fur and a matching hat, white lacy socks and black shoes. She had a felt Christmas tree and a tartan stocking. Learning Curve introduced large Holiday Madelines – soft cloth dolls dressed in red or green Christmas outfits. The German company, Zapf, makers of Baby Born, Annabell and Chou Chou, produce Christmas outfits for their dolls each year. Recent BabyBorn festive get-ups have included a dark red velour dress worn over Christmas-patterned tights, finished off with a jaunty, star-trimmed velour hat, a red long-sleeved dress with a matching flower-trimmed head band, and an unusual white and blue creation. A Christmas play set was also amongst the recently-discontinued Zapf Baby Born Miniworld series of dolls. This tiny baby doll, just four and a half inches tall, was dressed in a sweet red fleecy outfit and white bib embroidered with a Christmas motif. She wa s seated on a soft red beanbag with her teddy, beside a Christmas tree, and her box was designed to look like a festively-decorated nursery. Until recently, Zapf made excellent designer dolls, and amongst them was Rolanda Heimer’s Siggi, a nineteen inch tall baby with blonde hair. He was dressed in fleecy red hooded jacket with a knitted clown motif, and beige cord trousers. He came with a cd of Christmas carols. Anne Geddes ‘Baby Santa’ was issued a few years ago and is now quite difficult to find. Anne is famous for her photographs of babies dressed as animals, flowers and insects and a whole range of dolls based on the photos were made by Unimax, including rabbits, bears, butterflies and sunflowers. Baby Santa is a smiling, slightly podgy baby doll wearing a red Santa outfit. The box bears photographs of the real babies on which the doll was modelled. Woolworths often produce dolls in Christmas themed outfits, recently they were selling Christmas Holly, under their Chad Valley label, a sweet-faced sixteen inch baby dressed in a red dress, Santa hat, green bag and with adorable crocheted red shoes. Cabbage Patch Kids have featured in several Christmas issues over the years, including a 1990s Special Edition set of Holiday Babies by Mattel. Dressed in various outfits, such as a red needlecord dress trimmed with lace, a delightful white satin dress with a net overlay sprinkled with gold stars, or green corduroy shorts and a red tartan waistcoat, these are an excellent addition to a festive collection. Mattel also produced Christmas Cabbage Patch dolls in their Garden Fairies series, including some Wal-Mart exclusives. Poinsettia, Winter Holly and Winter Lily were obtainable in the UK, but the Wal-Mart versions were sold in the US, so aren’t often seen in Britain. These sweet dolls are ‘Holiday Scented’! Soft dolls by companies such as Ty and JellyCat are often found, and many stores and supermarkets sell Christmas specials, such as the cloth dolls sometimes sold by Tesco at Christmas. Ty’s Beanie-Boppers, with names such as Jolly Janie, Holiday Heidi, Merry Margaret and Christmas Carol, wear festive outfits. Carol has a green long-pile jacket over a gold-spotted red velour mini-dress trimmed with long-pile ‘fur’ and thigh-length boots. Her blonde hair is crimped and curled, and she has a Santa hat to match her dress. A similar range are the smiley eight inch character dolls from Jellycat, such as Princess Icecapade, obviously ready for the winter freeze with her ice-skates, and Holly Blooming Babe (wearing a holly-leaf skirt with a red berry belt). Toys ‘R’ Us have featured Christmas specials in their line of eleven and a half inch Jessica teen dolls. She has appeared in a long red gown with gold panels and a white fur cape, or a sophisticated white satin dress with a black bodice and stole. Vivid Imaginations have produced Holiday Bratz dolls, in both large and the ‘Baby Bratz’ versions, dressed in beautiful, frothy […]
Barbara Millicent Roberts is fifty years old this year, yet she is looking younger and more glamorous than ever. How does she do it? It’s just not fair. This American icon, with her huge family of friends and relations, is famed world-wide and recently a megastore dedicated just to her opened in China. Blonde, beautiful, and above all, very pink, her wholesome image beams from toyshops, enticing even the youngest children to ‘want a Barbie’. Recently, a crowd of young upstart Bratz dolls tried to steal her thunder, and for a while they succeeded – but our heroine wasn’t having any of that. She took them to court and sued them. So, where did Barbie come from? Who dreamt her up? And why is she still so popular? Pictured right: 1959 Barbie Although this may sound a shocking thing to say about an international icon, Barbie’s origins are slightly salubrious, perhaps not as pure as she likes to make out. In the late 1950s, Ruth Handler, wife of Elliot Handler, a co-director of Mattel, was visiting Switzerland when she came across a kind of fantasy doll being sold in tobacconist shops. The dolls were sold to appeal to men, and were often used as mascots to adorn cars and trucks. They were based on a ‘good time girl’ who featured in a cartoon strip in ‘Bild’ newspaper, a German publication. The character’s name was Lilli. Today, collectors often refer to these very early figures as ‘Bild Lillis’. Ruth took back selection of the dolls to America, with the idea of producing a teen doll to appeal to girls. Mattel inspected the dolls, and from them created their own version, slightly less hard-faced and with less makeup. Ruth christened the doll Barbie, after her own daughter, and in 1959 launched her at the American toy fair. However, Barbie didn’t meet with much approval; the buyers for the stores demurred over introducing a glamour doll which had a voluptuous figure and pouting lips but which was intended for a young girl. Not wanting their new project to become a flop, Mattel screened a short black and white advertisement in the middle of a children’s television programme, which featured Barbie and her outfits. That was all it took – girls across America were hooked, suddenly they all wanted a Barbie doll of their own. In 1961 she acquired a boyfriend, Ken, and three years later, a younger sister, Skipper. Since then, many more additions to the Barbie family have been made. Pictured left: 1962 Barbie Pictured right: Barbie Can Can Even so, at first, not all the world was Barbie mad, and once Pedigree’s Sindy doll arrived in 1962, it was Sindy who was to dominate the teen doll market for almost twenty years. Even so, when Barbie finally did find her foothold over here, she was adored by thousands of girls, many of whom were won over by her high heels, curves and sophistication, as opposed to Sindy’s sweet girl-next-door look. The very early Barbies still had a rather ‘hard’ look, with red pouting lips, black lining around the eyes and arched brows, even though they had been toned-down. Barbie’s first outfit was that, now iconic, black and white striped swimsuit, teamed with high heels and gold earrings. Initially, the dolls weren’t sold in Britain, but in 1967 a Hobbies Annual supplement contained a section devoted to Barbie which stated, ‘America’s most popular (and certainly the most heavily advertised) range of fashion dolls, has recently been introduced into Europe with amazing success. Barbie, her MOD cousin Francie and her younger sister Skipper, are a range of beautifully made dolls with the most exclusive wardrobes yet seen. Barbie and Francie can wear each other’s clothes, so start with either doll and add-to as you go along. All models supplied with a pedestal stand’. Over the years, Mattel softened the Barbie doll features more and more, making her appealing to youngsters, and, certainly by the 1980s, she had become very popular in Britain. Toyshops soon had aisles of Barbie pink boxes, and Barbie demonstrated her versatility as she became a doctor, a vet, a dentist, an Olympic ice skater, a swimmer, a fashion model, a rock star and an astronaut. She also appeared with James Bond, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and in Star Trek – all in miniature, of course. Above all, though, Barbie became a fashion icon. In 1984 she celebrated her 25th anniversary, and appeared in a special ‘Crystal Barbie’ outfit, a doll which every small girl wanted. The long dress was made of a kind of pearlised fabric which shimmered in the light, and Crystal Barbie became one of the decade’s best selling Barbies. A decade later, ‘Totally Hair’ Barbie was released, the biggest-selling Barbie to date. She wore a multicoloured mini dress and her hair reached down to ankles, measuring 10.5 inches, the longest-haired Barbie ever. Pictured left: Barbie Totally Hair At the end of the 1990s, the ‘Generation Girl’ series of Barbie and friends was introduced, showing Barbie as we had never seen her before, with a street fashion look. Barbie’s face has altered a lot over the years; today, she has a much softer, gentler look than the original 1959 doll. She has also extended her family circle considerably, acquiring sisters Skipper, Stacie, Kelly, Krissy, Tutti and brother Todd, as well as a myriad of friends and relations. Cleverly, Mattel began to issue special collectors’ editions, and top-of-the range Barbies, some of which sell for two or three times the price of a standard Barbie doll, while others, wearing outfits created by top designers, can cost hundreds of pounds. These are in addition to the basic ‘pink-box’ dolls, the dolls intended for children. Nowadays, the Barbie collectors’ market is booming, with a huge variety of fashion, retro and themed dolls being issued, most of them destined never to be played with – or indeed, never removed from their packaging. Naturally, to celebrate her fiftieth anniversary there are […]
Sunderland lustre (luster and lusterware in North America) is a general name given to a type of pottery with a pink lustre glaze made by a number of potteries in the 19th century including Leeds, Newcastle, Liverpool, Bristol and Swansea but principally and most famously by a number of potteries in the Sunderland and Wear area. The wares produced are also called Sunderland pink, pink lustre and even purple lustre. The ‘colour was originally derived from and tin powdered compound known as purple or cassius’ 1. Adding lustre to pottery was not a new method and examples of the lustring technique can be seen in wares from the middle east in the 9th and 10th century. Wedgwood used the technique on their Moonlight Lustre from 1805 to 1815 and later on their famous Fairyland lustre pieces in the 1920s. According to Michael Gibson 2 and The Sunderland Site 3 there were 16 potteries in Sunderland of which 7 are known to have produced lustrewares. These seven potteries also produced items under multiple names and include: Garrison Pottery; Dixon & Co; Dixon Phillips & Co; Dixon & Austin; Anthony Scott & Co.; Anthony Scott & Sons; Ball, William; Dawson, John; Dawson & Co.; Dawson’s Pottery; Dawson’s Low Ford Pottery; Thomas Dawson & Co.; Deptford Pottery; Dixon & Co.; Dixon Austin & Co.; Dixon, Austin, Phillips & Co.; Dixon, Phillips & Co.; Dixon, Robert; Garrison Pottery; Hylton Pot Works; Maling, William (the Maling Pottery was established at North Hylton, near Sunderland, in 1762 but moved to the Newcastle area in 1817); Messrs. Dawson & Co.; S. Moore & Co.; Moore’s Pottery; North Hylton Pottery; Olde Sanders Low Ford Pottery; Phillips & Co.; Scott Brothers & Co.; Scott’s Pottery; Snowball, Thomas; Southwick Pottery; The Sunderland Pottery; Thomas Snowball’s High Southwick Pottery;and the Wear Pottery. Many Sunderland lustre pieces are often difficult to attribute as they were unmarked. The pink lustre was that associated with Sunderland was added to many gift items such jugs, mugs, chamber pots, and wall plaques and often decorated with black transfer prints. A large number of items were commerorative wares and gifts for sailors and featured many repeated scenes including: the Wearmouth bridge, Ironbridge, symbols of Freemansonry, the Sailor’s Farewell and the Sailor’s Return, and countless sailing ships. Other items with lustre include watch-stands, rolling-pins, puzzle-jugs, frog mugs and carpet bowls. Sunderland Lustre and Pottery Reference 1 Collecting for Pleasure China introduced by Tony Curtis 2 19th Century Lustreware by Michael Gibson 3 The Sunderland Site – a really excellent web reference on the industrial history of Sunderland with a number of pages devoted to Sunderland Pottery. Collecting Frog Mugs – A Nice Surprise!
It was at the beginning of the reign of Queen Victoria that the Staffordshire potters first produced their characteristic portrait pottery. The young Queen and her family inspired enough pottery models to suggest an important collection in themselves. Pictured right: c1840s Staffordshire figures of Queen Victoria and Albert on horseback. Image from Richard Gardner Antiques. (Richard Gardner Antiques have an excellent selection of Staffordshire Pottery – click to visit) It is clear that these pieces originated in diverse factories although it is proving difficult to pinpoint the whereabouts of manufacture. There are no trademarks to guide us, nor are there old catalogues nor appropriate advertisements extant. A collector will recognise affinities in manufacture and can group the figures accordingly, but only two or three factories have been traced with any certainty. However, we hope to show that perhaps a more important way of classifying the portrait figures is to group them chronologically and by profession. Many of the pieces which we can attribute to the 1840’s show a porcelainous character. They tend to be smaller and more highly coloured than the later ones and are sometimes made in the round. In fact, it is not until a decade later that we consistently find the characteristic flat-back earthenware. The 1850’s were the halcyon days for the potter and his customers, and Crimean time pottery is Victorian Staffordshire pottery at its finest. The Queen comes first in time and importance in the royal list. A model labelled “Victoria,” in the possession of Mr. R. Shockledge, in which she holds orb and sceptre, might well have been made at the time of her coronation. Very soon, and romantically, appear portraits of Prince Albert as well. Both the Queen and her husband occur in numerous forms : standing, sitting, enthroned and also mounted on horseback. Frequently, these pieces were not labelled, but where they are named the inscription is usually ” Queen ” and ” Albert ” or, very rarely, ” Queen Victoria ” and Prince Albert.” We do not know of any piece entitled “Prince Consort ” and if any were made at the time of his death they needed no label. A large model of the Queen, made about 1870 and paired with the Prince of Wales, has the inscription ” Queen of England.” This model was used again, with a fuller inscription, both at her Jubilee in 1887 and her Diamond Jubilee ten years later. The figure became progressively debased in form. As the children arrived the potters became busier than ever. Charming pieces show the Queen seated, both with Prince Albert and alone, holding the infant Princess Royal in her arms. A tiny crown appears on the child’s long clothes. The pieces portraying the royal parents and children mount up like the photographs in a family album. Over and over again the little Princess Royal and Prince of Wales appear, separately with their toys and also playing together in their pony carriage or in one of their fancy boats. Pairs show them riding their goats and their ponies. It was some time before we could recognise these royal children apart and then we realized, of course, that although he too wears a skirt the little Prince always bestrides his steed whilst his royal sister rides side-saddle. From one factory comes a delightful series of the Queen and her husband at play with their children, even teaching them to ride. The royal residences are represented in this portrait cavalcade by Balmoral and Windsor Castle. As the children grow older the Prince of Wales becomes the favourite and there are figures showing him at every stage. Sometimes he is paired with his younger brother, Prince Alfred the sailor. A fine piece, which must have been made about the time of their betrothal in 1858, shows the Princess Royal and Prince Frederick William of Prussia together; and a handsome equestrian pair was made on their marriage. Then come numerous groups and pairs entitled ” Prince and Princess : ” the Prince of Wales and his bride to be, Princess Alexandra. There is a rare and very fine pair, presumably dating from their marriage in the early seventies, of Prince Alfred the first Duke of Edinburgh and the Czar’s only daughter. Most of the sons and daughters of the Queen, and their wives and husbands, are known to have been portrayed. Nor were the heads of foreign royal houses forgotten. At the time we started our collection we found just one figure of a living member of the royal family: Queen Mary shown as ” Princess May,” at the time of her betrothal to the Duke of Clarence of whom a figure also was made. The lively market for royal figures did not exclude numerous other persons from the potters’ lists. Popular politicians were in demand and it is not surprising demand and it is not surprising that numerous figures were made of Peel and Cobden, probably in 1846 at the time of the repeal of the Corn Laws. In fact, a standing figure of Peel has an additional figure of Peel has an additional inscription ” Repeal of the Corn Law.” A seated figure of Cobden shows him with sheaf of corn and orator’s scroll and there is a splendid equestrian figure of Sir Robert Peel made at the time of his death in 1850. A still rarer figure of Peel has his name inscribed on the pillar and an unusual circular base. Pictured right: Staffordshire Pottery figure of Richard Cobden MP (1804-1865). Full-length Staffordshire figure of Richard Cobden, standing, bare-headed. Right hand on his hip, left holding a paper against his leg; a pedestal behind it. (1804-52) M.P. 1841-65. He and John Bright were the principal agitators for the repeal of the Corn Laws. Image part of the National Trust Inventory Number 709134. Visit https://www.nationaltrustimages.org.uk/ for more details. There are at least eleven different models of the national hero, Wellington. They show him first as a soldier, then as an elder statesmen […]
The Beswick Characters of David Hand’s Animaland were all modelled by Arthur Gredington and were based on David Hand’s Animaland characters. The figures were produced by Beswick from 1949 to 1955. David Hand was a cartoon film animator who originally worked for the Disney organization where he was involved in several major productions including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Bambi. He moved to England in 1944 where he set up an animation studio – GB-Animation (short for Gaumont-British). He produced a series of 9 short films in the Animaland series on which the Beswick characters were based. The films are: The Lion (Felis Leo) (1948), The House-Cat (Felis Vulgaris) (1948), The Cuckoo (1948), The Ostrich (1949), The Australian Platypus (1949), It’s a Lovely Day (1949), Ginger Nutt’s Christmas Circus (1949), Ginger Nutt’s Bee-Bother (1949), Ginger Nutt’s Forest Dragon (1949). The Animaland characters with their Beswick model number 1148 Dinkum Platypus 1150 Zimmy the Lion 1151 Felia 1152 Ginger Nutt 1153 Hazel Nutt 1154 Oscar Ostrich 1155 Dusty Mole 1156 Loopy Hare Related Arthur Gredington and Beswick
England`s West Country has long been a honey pot for collectors and admirers of pottery – in the 1900s souvenir hunters collected those brown and cream jugs from the likes of Watcombe and Aller Vale, bearing strange mottoes in dialect such as ‘Go aisy wi` it now’. No doubt, at the time, these pieces were as strange and dramatic to those used to seeing fine Wedgwood porcelain, as Troika was to seventies folk reared on a diet of Meakin and Midwinter. Potteries such as Tintagel, Dartmouth, Celtic and Boscastle thrived, and today it seems that every twisty, narrow lane in the area has at least one sign pointing to a ‘studio’. Whether it is the clay, the light, the pasties or just something in the water, the West Country is practically a euphemism for pottery. Amongst the wares, collectors often find vases, jugs and bowls, often unmarked, sporting an unusual grey/green glaze, and bearing a large daisy motif. Immensely tactile, these smooth, definitely hands-on pieces are a delight, yet sometimes dealers seem at a loss to name the maker – they guess at Spanish, and I have even heard them described as ‘Russian`. In fact, these attractive pieces emanated from the Lotus Pottery in Stoke Gabriel, South Devon, in the1960s and 70s, and today are finding favour with enthusiasts who enjoy the way the smooth, flowing forms and muted colouring fits in well with today’s décor. The Lotus Pottery was formed by Michael and Elizabeth Skipworth in 1958, soon after they purchased Old Stoke Farm. This limestone-built farm, set in a garden and cider orchard, was a perfect place for such a venture, with plenty of barns to transform into workshops. Stoke Gabriel is a particularly pretty place, situated on a creek of the River Dart. The centrepiece of the village is the beautiful mill pond. Tourists come from near and far to admire the surroundings and to sample cream teas. For years it was possible to buy stunning Lotus pottery too. Michael and Elizabeth met at Leeds College of Art, and it was there that they formed Loversal Pottery, which they named after Michael’s place of birth in Doncaster. When they moved to Stoke Gabriel they decided on the name of Lotus Pottery, and so were able to continue marking their wares with the initials LP. However, it seems that much of their work, especially smaller pieces, do not bear the initials, while often, even if they are marked, the LP is difficult to see and is easily overlooked. No doubt the attractive surroundings provided plenty of inspiration, and during the twenty-five years or so that Lotus Pottery was in production, Michael and Elizabeth experimented with various techniques, designs, clays, colours and glazes. By 1968, a variety of finishes were available including speckle, Dartside Green, white on red, and blue on blue, while in 1974 a blue on white Loire range was introduced. However, the most characteristic glaze from Lotus was the dark grey/green finish with the daisy motif. It proved one of the top-selling lines for many years, and was known as petal on sage. A blue version, petal on blue, was also obtainable. Sage green was all the rage in the seventies – ‘natural’ colours and stylised designs were very popular, possibly a reaction to the psychedelic, brain-boggling colours and patterns of a few years before – and the vases, bowls, mugs, jugs and assorted kitchenware adorned many homes. The items were normally bought by tourists to the area as a welcome change from the pixies, seagulls and sheep which were sold in most souvenir shops. Lotus ware was stocked by the more discerning retailers! The most distinctive Lotus piece was a stylised bull, smooth and curvy with barely-there features, vaguely resembling the animals produced by the Russian Lomonosov factory in its simplicity. Today, this is the piece that many collectors begin with; not only is it easily recognisable, but its attractive shape allows it to blend perfectly into a modern home. Each bull featured an elongated, arched body with the head lowered. There were no eyes, nose or mouth, but sometimes a few tendrils of moulded hair could be seen between the horns, though most had smooth heads. The legs were very short and narrow, and this was probably the reason why the creatures tend to be unmarked – there was nowhere to impress the LP motif without detracting from the simplicity of the design, and the undersides of the feet were to small to bear a stamped mark. Although at first glance they might appear identical, these bulls vary considerably, especially with regard to the motif which appears on each flank. Usually, the daisy is found, but other designs include a leaf, a fern or a set of interlinked circles. Made in several sizes, from a baby at five inches through to an impressive granddad, thirteen inches long, the shade varies from a grey-green to a rich deep olive. The petal on blue colouration is also very striking, with the blue being a deep, inky colour while the daisy motif is a pale blue/grey. The bull was actually designed by Elizabeth Skipworth in a moment of inspiration; she was amazed at their popularity. A herd of the bulls lined up on a shelf makes a stunning display. Other stylised creatures appeared in this range, though they seem harder to find. They included a bird, owl, cat and a horse’s head, and had the same smooth and glossy appearance. There was also a wide selection of domestic ware such as dishes, egg cups, cruet sets, mugs, jardinières, jugs, vases, bowls, candle sticks and coffee pots. Some of the pieces were impressed with the LP motif in a circle, but many were stamped on the base ‘Lotus Pottery Stoke Gabriel’. However, a large amount bore no mark at all. Lotus was very experimental, and though the petal on sage shade was probably the most popular, they produced various other colours and designs, including a range […]