The distinctive designs of Elsa Schiaparelli can only be described as outrageous and ironic, and yet these innovative creations infused the romance of art together with the spirit of surrealism. With the ability to make fun, yet sophisticated, garments, worn by the likes of Mrs Wallis Simpson, The Duchess of Windsor, Schiaparelli’s innovative designs have inevitably secured her the title of being one of the most respected iconic fashion designers of the 20th Century. Born in Rome on 10th September 1890, to a well-to-do family, Schiaparelli originally studied philosophy. She married young, moved to New York and gave birth to her baby girl, Marisa, but unfortunately the marriage broke down when her husband left her, so together with her daughter, Schiaparelli returned to Europe and settled in Paris. With no profession and penniless, Schiaparelli wanted to become a scriptwriter but found herself working within the fashion industry. This was to mark the beginning of a long and successful career, and it became her lifelong passion. In 1928 Schiaparelli designed her first garment. A black jersey with white trompe l’oeil bow, it was noticed by a department store buyer who immediately placed a large order. It was at that point that Schiaparelli realised her life would be devoted to fashion and she opened a studio in Paris. By 1933 her designs were being compared with the work of her counterpart Coco Chanel. A great rivalry grew between the two iconic 1930s’ fashion designers and Chanel’s envy seeped through when being asked about the work of the Italian Designer. Undeterred by this, Schiaparelli opened a shop in London and then took over Madam Cheruit’s fashion house at Place Vendome in Paris, renaming it after herself. Concentrating on clothing that was ironic yet provocative, she wanted women to stand out and attract attention, which is why she began to take an interest in surrealist artists such as Salvador Dali, Man Ray and Jean Cocteau. Although she became firmly part of the Surrealism set, a special relationship was formed with Salvador Dali, as she found great inspiration from his work, and it was Dali in 1937, who came up with the idea for the outrageous “Shoe” hat. This inspired Schiaparelli to create many more flamboyant hats including the “Lamb Chop” which was worn by Daisy Fellowes, the Singer sewing machine heiress. Another collaboration between Schiaparelli and Dali was for the famous “Lobster” dress worn by the Duchess of Windsor, Mrs Simpson. As with all of Schiaparelli’s designs this dress was made for fun and had the element of amusement by featuring a large red lobster. Although her career in the fashion industry began predominantly with designing clothing ranges, as with any designer of this time, Schiaparelli started to look to other areas within the fashion industry, one such being, costume jewellery. She believed that jewellery was an art form within itself and as with her clothing created quirky and unusual pieces. Very different to the designs of her contemporary counterparts, the launch of the “Shocking Pink” collection in 1936 again showed Schiaparelli instilling her own injection of surrealism. This vibrant colour was something completely different as women still tended to wear the “little black dress” and her collection of jewellery along with cosmetic ranges was worlds apart from the otherwise contemporary designs of this time. Launched in a blast of advertising campaigns the “Shocking Pink” collection was quite obviously surrealism lead, with an advertisement depicting a typical surrealism image indicating that Schiaparelli always wore her heart on her sleeve. The “Shocking Pink” jewellery ranges included a “Lava Rock Necklace” with shocking pink lava stones which today would cost between £400-£500. Aside from the jewellery, another of Schiaparelli’s most collected areas has to be her innovative perfume bottles. She created many scents with the first being “Shocking” which was launched in 1936. The bottle was designed in the form of a female torso, which had been inspired by the hourglass shape of Mae West, a 1930s film star, for whom Schiaparelli designed clothes. These bottles are now highly sought after and range in price from £250 upwards. Another scent, “Zut”, released in the 1940s has a bottle shaped as a woman’s legs with a skirt around the ankle. Looking at these early innovative 1930s’ designs, it is quite obvious where today’s designer, Jean Paul Gaultier, gains inspiration for his highly collected scent bottles shaped like male and female torsos. In 1940 Schiaparelli fled from the Nazi Occupation in France and took refuge from World War II in New York. She refused to design any clothes until France was liberated and only returned to Paris in 1945, once the war was over, to re-open her fashion boutique. However, since the end of the war her avant-garde creations were no longer popular and so she returned to New York to set up her first Readyto- Wear boutique. By 1954 she decided it was time to close down her boutique in Paris and so held her final fashion show and then ceased production. She returned to live in New York in order to concentrate on her costume jewellery designs. During the 1950s Schiaparelli designed some gorgeous abstract pieces of jewellery using colourful glass and stones. These today are much easier to find than her earlier 1930s’ pieces and are all marked with her signature – although as with any top designer there are fakes on the market, so only buy from reputable dealers. Prices range from £400 for a paste bracelet to £1,000 for a set consisting of earrings, bracelet and pin made from lava rock stones, faux pearls and cabochons. Combining art with fashion Schiaparelli was once quoted as saying “Dress designing is, to me not a profession but an art.” This passion for mixing the two loves of her life is visible in everything that she designed from the clothing and hats to the innovative perfume bottles and costume jewellery. She succeeded where no other fashion designer has – by allowing women to expand their […]
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 […]
The term Fairing can be designated to anything obtained at a Fair, but the term has become exclusively attached to small porcelain figures & figure groups, and sometimes trinket boxes, match strikers, pin holders and spill holders that were given away as prizes or sold at the local Fair. They were usually humorous and sometimes risque, and for the majority they had captions inscribed on their base. Pictured right: A fairing entitled Modesty Sold for £41 at Bonhams, Honiton, 2006. Pride of place on the maid’s mantelpiece was often given to a colourful figure ornament known as a fairing – a treasured memento of a rare day at the local fair. Tony Curtis Pictured left: A Fairing pinbox titled Shall we sleep first or how? Sold for £41 at Bonhams, Honiton, 2006. Fairings were very popular from 1860 to just after the death of Queen Victoria, and costing just a few pence they were popular amongst the working class who would value and collect the Fairings, as a reminder of the day at the fair. The Fair during the mid 19th century was often an annual holiday for the local community. As the century progressed, the growth of the railways and transport networks led to increased mobility and the commercial importance of the Fair decreased. During the later part of the century Fairings were more likely to be sold in shops than be a prize at the Fair. Pictured right: This large collection of Fairings was sold by Christies in Amsterdam in 2004. The collection included over 200 assorted Fairings, of which 22 were impressed with the Shield for the Conte & Boehme Factory, Pössneck, Germany. The Fairings wer sold for 14,938 EUROS. Although seemingly quintessentially British the main production of Fairings was in Germany and in particular the Conta & Boehme 0f Possneck, Saxony. The German potteries were technologically advanced and were ale to produce the small brightly coloured, gilded Fairing pieces cheaply for the mass market. The Fairings were made of white soft-paste porcelain and would be assembled from several moulds, fired, glazed, fired a second time and subsequently had painted and gilded. Conta & Boehme made Fairings from about 1860 to 1914. Several other factories in the area also produced Fairings but generally to a lesser quality, until the start of World War I ended the trade. The subject matter for the Fairings was influenced by ideas from their British agents – many of the Fairings were based on courtship, marriage, everyday life, popular songs, characters and events from the period. The Fairings featured maidens, newly weds, drunks, couples and figures of fun. Some more serious Fairings were produced but the majority were light hearted and great fun. Towards the end of the time that Fairing were being created there was a shift towards more sentimental scenes. With the great variation in Fairing models, their humour and their colourful appearance, Fairings are popular with collectors. Today Fairings can still be purchased relatively cheaply £20-£30 ($30-$50), but early Conta & Boehme studies, rare pieces and Fairings with unusual captions have the most value. Books on Victorian Fairings
Victorian Christmas Cards Victorian Christmas Cards – The very first Christmas card was printed in December 1843, at the request of Sir Henry Cole, who was also the instigator of the Great Exhibition of 1851 and founder and first director of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Indeed, he was responsible for the whole idea of sending Christmas cards through the post when he decided to surprise his friends with a novel and colourful card at Christmas time instead of the usual Christmas letter. The artist J.C.Horsley was commissioned to produce the card which is now among the most sought after by collectors. The card illustrated a wealthy family enjoying a Christmas feast as they all toast the festive season by sipping wine and it was all set whithin a woody, rustic border hung with ivy, grapes and vine leaves (holly did not appear on Christmas cards until 1848). In fact, some years ago, one such card was sold to an American buyer by a well-known London auction firm for £400. Another came up for auction in November 1987, and it fetched an incredible £2,000. Pictured an exceptional Victorian fold out Christmas Card. This card sold for £135.88 on ebay in June 2016. One of the most avid collectors of Victorian Christmas cards was Queen Mary, and she amassed a large number of cards bought by Queen Victoria who, not only sent such attractive cards to her immediate family, but she sent them also to her very many servants at Windsor and Osborne. Queen Mary’s collection of cards were placed in a large number of albums and these are housed in the British Museum in London. However, the greatest Christmas card collector of all time must be Johnathom King of Islington, London, who spent his whole life collecting these cards. In the 1890s his collection weighed between six and seven tons, and included nearly 200,000 cards published between 1862 and 1895. He did intend to donate this unique collection to the British Museum at his death, but unfortunately his massive collection was almost destroyed in a fire that gutted his house, so that many unique cards have been lost forever. Many cards were extremely elaborate with gilded, embossed, shaped, pop-up and pierced forms. Very few of these early Victorian Christmas cards illustrate the religious meaning of the festival, and they rarely show landscapes blanketed in snow or warmly clad skaters on ponds or even reindeers pulling Father Christmas’s sleigh over the countryside which are all so common today on our cards. The Victorians illustrated nature in all its form on their cards since they were passionately fond of the countryside, and so they gloried in colourful cards which depicted delightful pictures of spring and summer in particular. Very early Christmas cards hence have attractive birds on them together with their nests and eggs. Flowers of the countryside were also immensely popular as illustrations, and flying butterflies among stalks of wheat and even insects landing on ripening blackberries were included by the early artists of Christmas cards. All these images were a reminder to everyone that bleak Winter would soon give way to sunny days once again since nature was but resting at Christmas time. Many collectors of Victorian Christmas cards will search avidly for the renowned artists of the time who illustrated such beautiful scenes which appeared wide such regularity on them. Many of them were actually members of the Royal Academy such as G.D. Leslie, J.C. Herbert, Geroge Clausen, W.C.T. Dobson end W.T. Yeames, all of whom were paid many thousands of pounds by Christmas card manufacturers of the time for their illustrations. Another area for collecting is that of the poets who penned verses for these lovely cards. We know that Alfred Lord Tennyson, the one time Poet Laureate, was offered as much as a thousand guineas if he would contribute a dozen or so short pieces suitable for such cards – but he declined the lucrative offer. It’s quite easy to come across on these cards, the work of Helen Burnside, who was the favorite poet of Queen Victoria. Between 1874 and 1900 she penned as many as 6,000 Christmas card verses, and so earned for herself, the title o the ‘Poet Laureate of Christmas cards’. Small children were sentimentalised on Victorian Christmas cards, with children of the poor and orphans as well, being extensively portrayed. Indeed, a large number of such cards were published at the time; it was the era of sailor suits and pretty bonnets in particular. Domestic animals were also popular on cards in particular cats in comic poses around the household and dogs in anthropomorphic postures, such wearing funny hats or posting letters. Perhaps the most expensive of all Victorian Christmas cards are those which have special shapes to them. These delightful cards are often seen as circles, oblongs or a half-moon, and the ‘Hold To Light’ card, where hidden scenes appear as the card is held to the lights, is prized indeed by collectors. Will the cards of today be so highly prized in one hundred years time? Victorian Christmas Cards Price Guide – Prices for Victorian Christmas Cards can vary from £1/$1.50 to £200/$300 and upwards. Prices for the same card can also vary greatly. ebay is the main access to purchase Victorian Christmas Cards and also a good place to check values. There are normally a thousand or so cards on at anyone time – click to view Victorian Christmas Cards on ebay. Pictures from Collectables Magazine and selected text by David Watkins More on Victoriana.
Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Collectables – 2022 will be a very special year for Her Majesty The Queen with the celebrations of her Platinum Jubilee. As with many special Royal anniversaries and events there are a lot of special editions, memorabilia and collectables being designed and produced. We take a look at some of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Collectables available for this amazing event. Halcyon Days Halcyon Days have created some very special pieces including baubles and a music box. Platinum Anniversary Queen Elizabeth II Toby Jugs from Bairstow Pottery Bairstow Pottery have released a special Platinum Anniversary Queen Elizabeth II Toby Jug. The edition is being released in five colourways: Dark Blue, Green, Grey, Light Blue and Pink. Each colour being one of the Queen’s favourites. Each jug is hand painted and features embellishment completed by using real platinum. The edition has been modelled by Bairstow Pottery’s lead designer Ray Noble. Click for more information Steiff The Steiff Platinum Jubilee Bear is available exclusively from The Danbury Mint. The teddy is being produced until the 2nd June 2023 – the 70th anniversary of Her Majesty’s Coronation. She is being made in a caramel and cream coloured mohair is fully jointed and will measure approximately 10½” (26cm) standing. As a Steiff bear she has the classic Steiff ‘button’ and white tag with red writing attached to her ear and also wears a purple bow and a medal featuring a picture of The Queen saying 70 Golden Years. Her paws are finished with the Queen’s cypher and the dates of her reign. A lovely bear priced at £249 which can be pre-ordered for delivery in August. The Royal Mint The Royal Mint is creating several different sets including a new 50p and a £5 Crown designed by John Bergdahl. The commemorative Platinum Jubilee portrait depicts Her Majesty on horseback and two beautifully decorative reverse designs for the occasion. The collection also includes the first UK 50p coin issued by The Royal Mint to celebrate a royal event, which features a bold, graphical celebration of The Queen’s reign by the design agency Osborne Ross on the reverse. The obverse features the Platinum Jubilee portrait. For more details visit https://www.royalmint.com/ The Royal Collection The Royal Collection is one of the largest and most widely distributed art collections in the world. Running to more than a million objects, it is a unique and valuable record of the personal tastes of kings and queens over the past 500 years. In addition to the well-known paintings, drawings and other works of art, the Collection includes almost the entire contents of all the royal palaces. The Royal Collection create items and collectables for sale online and the shops such as Windsor Castle, Holyrood Palace, and The Garden Shop at Buckingham Palace. A number of Platinum Jubilee collectables and gifts are available including plates, tea sets, crystal, clocks, pill boxes etc. For more information visit The Royal Collection Shop.
Mary Gregory Glass Mary Gregory Glass is a charming style of enamelled figure glass, popular in Victorian times and now being re-discovered. The distinctive feature of Mary Gregory Glass is the painted and enamelled scenes of Victorian children in silhouette, dressed in their best clothes, playing games and having fun. (see below for example Mary Gregory scenes). Pictured: Mary Gregory blue glass vase featuring etched boy and girl by a river. Sold for $455 (£375) on ebay.com January 2017. The commonest scenes are children holding of flowers, but there are many more lively occupations: fishing, catching butterflies, blowing bubbles, bowling a hoop, watering the garden, flying a kite, sailing a boat. The children can be found standing, sitting, running and lying flat on their stomachs. They climb trees, tend sheep, unkindly carry birds on strings and play a variety of games. However, the name Mary Gregory is misleading being both a designer and the generic name given to the style of glass from around 1850 to 1900, and from both Europe and America. Miss Mary Gregory (1856-1908) was an enameller, working in the 1870s and 1880s, decorating glass for the Boston and Sandwich Glass Company. Pictured: Mary Gregory cobalt blue pitcher and pair of glasses. The pitcher features a girl holding flower surrounded by ferns, and pair of glasses feature boy and girl facing each other and offering flowers. Sold for $174.95 (£143.67) on ebay.com January 2017. Ornamentation on European Bohemian coloured glass became popular during the mid-19th century. It was between 1850 and 1860 that child figures were first used in this kind of decoration, and with much delicacy and grace. White enamel was chiefly used and was laid on heavily and lightly, with skilful brush-work, to produce at best an almost stereoscopic effect. Pieces from this period include decanters, jugs, drinking glasses, bottles and boxes, vases, trays and many other useful and ornamental vessels which were made in a diversity of colours, and showing a variety of the children in differing scene, but with a marked kinship between them and a sameness in the treatment of their rustic settings. Pictured: 1800’s Mary Gregory emerald green pitcher. Original c1800’s Emerald Green water pitcher, with a handpainted white enamel scene. Ruffled rim, applied handle, and pontil mark on bottom. Sold for $465.00 (£371.60) on ebay.com December 2016. In a search for documentary evidence about the production of glass decorated with child figures the only reference to be found came from America, where the name Mary Gregory has become a generic name for all the glass within the Victorian age which is enamelled with figures of children. Carl W. Drepperd refers to it as such in ” The A.B.C. of Old Glass ” (1947) and Mrs. Ruth Webb Lee, in her ” Nineteenth Century Art Glass ” (1953), gives an account of her research into the person of Mary Gregory and a page of illustrations of Mary Gregory style glass from an American collection. So, by a strange stroke of fortune, this name has come to cover the somewhat earlier and the finer European child figure glass: the only known artist now stands in history for the earlier nameless ones. In descriptions of glass pieces will be Mary Gregory style, Mary Gregory manner, or in the manner of Mary Gregory for example. So, paradoxically, the finest examples of Mary Gregory glass are Bohemian from factories such as Hahn and Moser, and date from the middle of the nineteenth century onwards. The different kinds of Mary Gregory style vessels seem to have no end: in fact, almost any object made of glass could be so decorated. There is also diversity of colour of pieces. Red is much sought after, and is to be found in all shades from a rich ruby, through. cranberry to palest pink. The glass may be flashed or stained with copper red or even painted, and there are shaded reds developed with the use of gold. The cobalt and turquoise blues, and the viridian, apple and canary greens show much diversity, even to a shading from clear to canary glass which may have entailed the unusual use of silver. Amber Mary Gregory glass is to be found and, very occasionally, a fine, light amethyst. Sometimes high quality pieces of clear glass turn up, but more often the colourless pieces are debased examples. When the enameller has stretched his terms of reference to include coloured faces and hair and even clothes, this extravagance seems rudely to sever the decoration from the simple beauty of the glass design. Again, except for some of the earliest Bohemian pieces, this use of colour in decoration is usually only found on debased examples. Mary Gregory glass is still, from the collectors’ point of view, not too easy nor yet too difficult to find. Its painting gives it an aura of intimacy and it has a pliable decorative value which makes it at home in any environment. Mary Gregory Glass Scene Examples Mary Gregory Glass related Mary Gregory Glass Price Guide / Value Guide
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
Post-war ceramics arrived in an explosion of style and colour, creating contemporary ‘new look’ that is so desirable among collectors today. One of the most innovative potteries was Midwinter Pottery, largely due to one of its most celebrated designers – Jessie Tait. She was the only full time in-house designer to work for Midwinter, and her simple yet stunning designs are keenly appreciated by collectors. Her early 1950s designs such as the black and white Festival, Zambesi, Red Domino and Toadstool are among her most well known. Her later 1960s designs such as Mexicana and Spanish Garden are much easier to find and collect. Her style was often detailed and geometric, making an effective transition to transfer printed wares. Jessie Tait was in Stoke-on-Trent in 1928 – 14 January 2010 and studied at the Burslem School of Art. She first worked as a junior designer to Charlotte Rhead, and then as designer for the Midwinter Pottery between 1946 and 1974. The Midwinter Pottery was taken over by J. & G. Meakin in 1968, and again by Wedgwood in 1970. She moved from Midwinter to Johnson Brothers, another part of the Wedgwood group, and retired in the early 1990s. More Designs Related Charlotte Rhead Pottery Jessie Tait designs on ebay Jessie Tait at Catawiki auctions
The Who celebrate 50 years of rock in 2014 and we take a look at their history, impact and most importantly for us their collectables. The Who are an English rock band that formed in 1964. Their best known line-up consisted of lead singer Roger Daltrey, guitarist Pete Townshend, bassist John Entwistle and drummer Keith Moon. They are considered one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century and are one of the world’s best-selling bands. Pictured left: The Who My Generation LP 1965 on the Brunswick label. Mono 1st Press. In mint condition this record can sell for around £300. This actual LP sold on ebay for £283 in Nov 2014. The Who developed from an earlier group, the Detours, before stabilising around a line-up of Daltrey, Townshend, Entwistle and Moon. After releasing a single as the High Numbers, the group established themselves as part of the mod movement and featured auto-destructive art by destroying guitars and drums on stage. Pictured right: The Who A concert poster THE WHO in A Two-Hour Non Stop Concert To Include Tommy, London Coliseum, Sunday, 14th December, 1969. Sold for £1,000 at Christies, London in June 2010. They achieved recognition in the UK after their first single as the Who, “I Can’t Explain”, reached the top ten. A string of successful singles followed, including “My Generation”, “Substitute” and “Happy Jack”. Although initially regarded as a singles act, they also found success with the albums My Generation and A Quick One. In 1967, they achieved success in the US after performing at the Monterey Pop Festival, and with the top ten single “I Can See for Miles”. They released The Who Sell Out at the end of the year, and spent much of 1968 touring. Pictured left: Pete Townshend / The Who: A cherry red Gibson SG Special guitar, serial number 884484 stamped 2, circa late 1967, owned and used by Pete Townshend in the early 1970s – early 1980s; the double cutaway body in cherry red finish, mahogany neck, Grover machine heads, 22 fret bound fingerboard with dot inlays, two P90 pickups, four rotary controls, selector switch, metal bridge, black pickguard bound in white, tailpiece removed; original Gibson contour hardshell case with scarlet plush lining; accompanied by a letter signed by Townshend detailing the provenance. Sold for £37,500 inc premium at Bonhams, Knightsbridge, June 2014. The group’s fourth album, 1969’s rock opera Tommy, was a major commercial and critical success. Subsequent live appearances at Woodstock and the Isle of Wight Festival, along with the live album Live At Leeds, transformed the Who’s reputation from a hit-singles band into a respected rock act. With their success came increased pressure on lead songwriter Townshend, and the follow-up to Tommy, Lifehouse, was abandoned in favour of 1971’s Who’s Next. Pictured right: A rare Quadrophenia film poster, 1980, large format for the Italian release of the film starring Phil Daniels, Leslie Ash and Sting, directed by Franc Roddam, 140 x 100cm, framed and glazed. Sold for £525 inc premium at Bonhams, Goodwood , July 2013. The group subsequently released Quadrophenia (1973) and The Who by Numbers (1975), oversaw the film adaptation of Tommy and toured to large audiences before semi-retiring from live performances at the end of 1976. The release of Who Are You in August 1978 was overshadowed by the death of Moon on 7 September. Pictured left: The Who David Bailey Live Aid – A black and white limited edition photograph of The Who by David Bailey, 1985, signed by the photographer and on the verso in black felt pen by Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle and Kenny Jones, additionally signed in pencil by the photographer, dated 85 and numbered 1/3. Sold for £960 at Christies, London in May 2006. Kenney Jones, formerly of the Small Faces and the Faces, replaced Moon and the group resumed touring. A film adaptation of Quadrophenia and the retrospective documentary The Kids Are Alright were released in 1979. The group continued recording, releasing Face Dances in 1981 and It’s Hard the following year, before breaking up. They occasionally re-formed for live appearances such as Live Aid in 1985, a 25th anniversary tour in 1989 and for a tour of Quadrophenia in 1996. Pictured left: The Who – A very rare concert poster Uxbridge Blues And Folk Festival, 19th June, 1965, artists include The Who, Marianne Faithfull, John Mayall, The Birds, Long John Baldry, Spencer Davis, Zoot Money, and others — 29x40in. (75×101.6cm.) Sold for £9,375 at Christies, London in June 2010. The Who resumed regular touring in 1999, with drummer Zak Starkey, to a positive response, and were considering the possibility of a new album, but these plans were stalled by Entwistle’s death in June 2002. Townshend and Daltrey elected to continue as the Who, releasing Endless Wire (2006), which reached the top ten in the UK and US. The group continued to play live regularly, including the Quadrophenia and More tour in 2012, before announcing in 2014 their intention to retire from touring following a new album and accompanying live shows ending the following year. Pictured right: This Japan Polydor 7″ 45 The Who Won’t Get Fooled Again / Don’t Know Myself DP 1817 sold for £819 on ebay in August 2014. With 50 years behind them many studio albums, live albums, many tours, numerous singles and ephemera, there is plenty for the collector to collect. Many of the international pressings of The Who’s albums can be more valuable than the UK pressings. Japanese pressings are of great interest to certain collectors. With the re-emergence of record players, there is once again an increased market for records.
Everyone I know who has seen Wicked the Musical has become a massive fan. As with the original Wizard of Oz it has captured the public’s imagination and is now performed all over the world. The original production of Wicked premiered on Broadway at the Gershwin Theatre in October 2003, and its original stars included Idina Menzel as Elphaba, Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda, and Joel Grey as the Wizard. It’s full title is Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz had has music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Winnie Holzman. There are some fans who have seen the show scores of times and many who have started to collect Wicked related merchandise, collectors items and collectables. We take a look at some of the items available to Wizomaniacs and look further at the Wicked phenomenon. The show is based on the 1995 Gregory Maguire novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West which is an alternative telling of the original The Wizard of Oz film and L. Frank Baum’s classic 1900 story, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Gregory Maguire has written a series of Wicked books which also include by Son of a Witch (published in September 2005), A Lion Among Men (published in October 2008), and Out of Oz (published in November 2011). Most fans and collectors first see the musical and then some discover the books. The original 1995 Gregory Maguire book has become quite desirable with 1st editions in good condition selling for upwards of £300. Signed copies fetch slightly more and some copies even have drawings by the writer himself. The book can be somewhat of a surprise to fans of musical as it dark, has serious political undertones, a lot of sex and some think does not show Elphaba in a good light. I read the book after seeing the musical and without going into an in depth analysis, although I was intrigued Maguire’s explanation of the history and origin of the Oz characters, I found parts disturbing. On a positive the musical came out of it. Wicked the Musical Dolls Doll companies love Wicked! It is full of strong female characters with colorful costumes and has the history of Oz behind it. Madame Alexander have created some wonderful re-creations of the characters notably Elphaba and Glinda in various situations and dress. Wicked the Musical Collectables The musical is told from the perspective of the witches of the Land of Oz; its plot begins before and continues after Dorothy’s arrival in Oz from Kansas, and it includes several references to the 1939 film and Baum’s novel. Wicked tells the story of two unlikely friends, Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) and Galinda (whose name later changes to Glinda the Good Witch), who struggle through opposing personalities and viewpoints, rivalry over the same love-interest, reactions to the Wizard’s corrupt government and, ultimately, Elphaba’s public fall from grace. Wicked the Musical Plush Toys A Wicked film is in production for release in 2019 which should see a massive increase and attention to the story and related merchandise. So start collecting now. Wicked the Musical 10th Anniversary A number of special editions were created for the 10th anniversary of the show.