The Ridgway Homemaker Pattern is a classic retro design that is now becoming very collectable. The range was mass produced in the 1950s and 60s and was sold exclusively through Woolworth’s stores. The pattern was created by Enid Seeney and was manufactured by Ridgway Potteries of Stoke-on-Trent. The pattern was to be used on the Metro shape designed by Ridgway designer Tom Arnold. It was Tom Arnold, himself, that asked Seeney to create a pattern that could be produced in large quantities using the new the Murray-Curvex litho process. The pattern was applied in reverse to the bottom of a gelatine pad (or ‘bomb’). The wet paint was then transferred to the piece in a way that would allow it to mould to the shape. This process made all-over patterns such as Homemaker possible. The pattern was later released on Cadenza shape. The Homemaker pattern was initially given the name ‘ Furniture ‘. It was first shown at exhibition in Blackpool in 1956 but only took off when spotted by a Woolworth’s buyer in 1957. It was trialed in a few London shops and proved a success appealing to the contemporary market of the late 1950s and 1960s. The pattern itself was a distinctive black on white featuring illustrations of the latest home furnishings and utensils against a background of irregular black lines. Items illustrated included a boomerang or kidney shaped table, a Robin Day armchair, a Gordon Russell type sideboard, plant holders on legs, tripod lights and lamp shades, and a two seat Sigvard Bernadotte style sofa. The Ridgway Homemaker Pattern Price Guide / Value Guide Homemaker was produced in large quantities from 1956 to 1970 so few pieces are rare. The range is becoming increasingly collectable and prices at auction are rising. Rarer pieces include the Bon Bon Dish, the Cadenza Teapot and other teapots and coffee pots. The plates are the most common items to find. 7″ plates estimate £5-£8 each. 9″ plates estimate £8-£12 each. Did you know? The Ridgway Homemaker pattern was also produced in a Red colour. This red and white colourway was produced in very limited numbers as a trial in 1960 and as such are very rare. There are very few examples coming to traditional auction houses or ebay and very few in shops. A single plate such as the one below sold on AntiquesAtlas for £350/$483. Further information Ridgway Homemaker at RetroWow
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 […]
Robert Harrop created this wonderful set of official Roald Dahl figurines based on the illustrations by Quentin Blake in 2003. There are 27 figurines in the collection featuring all of Dahl’s most famous characters with RD01 being Willy Wonka. As with all Harrop figurines they are very accurate and a true portrayal of Blakes illustrations. The Roald Dahl Robert Harrop collection is very collectable and is one of the few collections increasing in value. Robert Harrop Roald Dahl figurines RD01 Willy Wonka RD02 Charlie Bucket RD03 The BFG RD04 Mr Twit RD05 Mrs Twit RD06 Matilda RD07 Georges Marvelous Medicine RD08 Fantastic Mr Fox RD09 The Grand High Witch RD10 The Enormous Crocodile RD11 The Giraffe, the pelly and me RD12 Alfie RD13 James and the Grasshopper RD14 The magic finger RD15 Miss Trunchbull RD16 Violet Beauregarde RD17 Grandpa Joe RD18 Danny the champion of the world RD19 Badger RD20 Augustus Gloop RD21 Boggis RD22 Bunce RD23 Bean RD24 Veruca Salt RD25 Mike Teavee RDCP Collection plaque RDLE1 Dream Catcher/BFG For more information about Robert Harrop visit https://www.robertharrop.com/
Throughout the horrors of the First World War, artist Bruce Bairnsfather managed to raise smiles with his drawings of life in the trenches. But who was he?
Freaked Out!!!!! Speed Freaks! I am the first to admit that I know next to nothing about cars and to be honest, was not really interesting in learning anything about them either – but that was until I met Terry Ross, an enthusiast on the subject, it didn’t take him long to convert and introduce me to the fascinating world of Speed Freaks! Terry has a passion for cars, for thirteen years he wrote for a motoring magazine on the subject and owns an amazing display of small models cars that he has built from scratch. Each of these models could take up to 2 years to complete and one in particular – the “Dragster” has won him a real car when it was entered into a competition. “I am a class 1 petrol head and wanted to do a MA in car design when I left school, but I was introduced to the world of advertising and ended up owning my own agency.” Terry worked as a Creative Director and Art Director for many years but his passion for cars was always at the forefront of his social life. He came up with the idea of Speed Freaks around 5 years ago; using his artistic background he began to sculpt three-dimensional abstract cars. Terry makes sure that each model is based on an existing car; however, there is a slight twist to the design being that they are really miniature caricatures rather than straightforward replica models. For the first year Terry concentrated on creating private commissions. He produced very limited production runs of the Ferrari 355, McLaren M8D and Valentino Rossi on the motorbike that won him the 2001 500cc MotoGP season (Valentino himself is the proud owner of the last in the production run). Each of these exclusive limited editions retailed at £995 as they were exceptional pieces, made to order. Terry’s first small car piece was the classic Ford Anglia based on the 1200 Super, then the Cortina joined the family, shortly followed by an Escort and a Capri. Demand was high as everyone who owned a car wanted one of Terry’s Speed Freaks especially as he also offered a custom made service allowing purchasers to order exact replica’s of their own cars. By this point Terry no longer owned the Advertising Agency and realised that he had discovered a whole new lifestyle but he would have to look down the lines of mass production to meet with the demand and make a living out of the hobby that he was so passionate about. A friend introduced Terry to Country Artists just 2 years ago, the company loved his models and snapped him up immediately, the rest – as they say – is history! Country Artists launched 12 of Terry’s original Speed Freak Cars at the NEC Spring Fair in January 2004 – they were greatly received by retailers ensuring that the same year Terry’s Speed Freaks were awarded “Gift of the Year” – which is a major achievement for someone so new to the market. Country Artists are now exclusively responsible for getting Terry’s innovative designs into the market place. A great deal of work goes into the production of Speed Freaks with Terry working on each of the master models from his home in London. A master can take up to four weeks to complete from beginning to end. Once the master has been sculpted it is placed into the oven to bake at 100 degrees for ½ hour. The car is then sanded and blocked down to smooth (this is the principal when preparing to paint a real car). Terry then uses real car spray paints to ensure he gets the exact colour that the car should be. Once Terry is completely satisfied that he cannot improve on his master Speed Freak, it is then sent to Country Artists who start the process of reproducing the retailed amounts in resin, issuing them with boxes and certificates before going on sale. These little cars are both original and wacky. Each one has so much character that even if you are not a Speed Freak yourself, but have a good eye for the unusual, you just have to own one. Terry’s passion for the subject really comes out in his art and you know that he has created each one with love and affection, making them even more desirable to own. Speed Freaks Cars and Speed Freak Collectables are a fun product, so different to anything else on the giftware collectables market. The vibrant colours of the cars, the abstract design and the workmanship that goes into making each piece could only have been created by someone like Terry who lives cars. He takes pride in his work by paying attention to every detail; including painting the windscreens to reflect a fantastic sun set. Collectors are always on the look out for something new and innovative; and I think that these models are just what collectors are looking for. Speed Freaks Cars and Speed Freaks Figurines have all the credentials that make them a hot collectable – high quality, unusual in design, great fun, and most of all – affordable. I have never really classed myself as being a Speed Freak but after spending the morning with Terry and peering into his world I am most definitely converted.
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
From their home studio tucked away on the rural coast of northern California, a pair of sisters create works of art that look good enough to eat. Dinah and Patty Hulet have created stunning art glass that you’ll find in museums, galleries, and the finest gift shops in the world. Both went through college and pursued meaningful careers. While working as a librarian for a chemical company, Dinah found inspiration in the creations of the scientific glassblowers and it wasn’t long before both sisters were fully entranced with the captivating medium of glass art. By the mid-1980s, the sisters created Hulet Glass. They sold their works at local art and wine festivals with plenty of success, but they both felt it best to move to a rural portion of northern California to put their sole focus on creating their art and marketing to galleries and high-end gift shops across the country. Looking at their works, it’s amazing to discover that they are both self-taught in the field of glass art. Dinah excels at lampworking torch methods while Patty’s artistic focus involves the kiln with fusing, casting and pate de verre. What started as a hobby for both women became a full-blown career in art glass. Hulet Glass is now known around the world for upstanding quality and impeccable craftsmanship. Dinah’s portrait murrine have been exhibited in places like the Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York. Patty’s pate de verre was represented at SOFA. After years of experience in glass art, they’ve lectured to aspiring glass artists, taught their techniques locally, nationally, and internationally, and Dinah is a past board member of the Glass Art Society. In addition to these accomplishments, the sisters have found the perfect recipe for success in the form of art glass chocolates. Under the name Hulet Glass Confections, Dinah and Patty began creating these delectably-designed art glass treats in 2005. Lavish details make each piece look good enough to eat, perfectly mimicking the look of gourmet chocolates, petit fours, tartlets, cupcakes, chocolate drops, and other delightful treats. The truly astounding embellishments include art glass chocolates topped with nuts that look so real you might attempt to taste them. When they displayed the glass chocolates at the Buyer’s Market of American Crafts in Philadelphia in 2007, buyers responded in a frenzy. Since then, the Hulet sisters have continued to create their art glass chocolates for collectors in the US and around the world. Each piece is crafted by the sisters only. They take great pride in ensuring the precision and quality their glass art brand is known for. A display of gorgeous chocolates adds a touch of class to any room, a symbol of both romance and opulence. As we eat with our eyes, the sight of stunningly-detailed chocolates evokes memories of innocence, love and happy times. Collectors will go out of their way to find a unique piece to add to their Hulet Chocolate collection. Many times when one friend or relative starts collecting, others in their close circle begin to do so as well, creating a partner to assist in tracking down that perfect piece. One look at Hulet Glass Confections and you’ll be amazed these pieces aren’t real gourmet treats. The sisters continue to craft them, coming up with new designs every year to tempt collectors to add to their growing collections. The sisters also devise decorative boxes for their art glass treats, making them the perfect vessel to commemorate special occasions like weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and more. The creations they make are the ideal special gift for anyone that wants to give something unique. The Hulet sisters’ Chocolate Drop is a beautiful piece that can be used as a necklace or ornament and given for holidays like Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, or as a sweet treat for teachers at the end of the year. For more details on these great creations visit Hulet Glass Chocolates
Unlike us, bears have discovered the enviable secret of eternal youth. An eighty-eight-year-old Rupert? Ridiculous! A seventy-eight-year-old Mary Plain? Unthinkable! An eighty-eight-year-old Pooh? Preposterous. And as for a fifty-year-old Paddington – you must be joking! How can a bear who creates mischief and mayhem wherever he goes – admittedly a bear whose sole aim in life is to be helpful and polite, but who is unfortunately accident prone, impulsive and always in deep trouble – be well on the way to collecting his bus pass? Bears always find an age with which they are comfortable and stick to it. So, believe it or not, Paddington really does celebrate his fiftieth birthday this year. Pictured left: Paddington Bear by Gabrielle No doubt he will be hosting a party with an iced cake cooked by Mrs Bird, buns and cocoa donated by Mr Gruber, and a ‘here’s one I made earlier’ wobbly jelly from the Blue Peter team. (For many years, Paddington was a regular in the Blue Peter studio.) Of course, there will be a huge pile of sandwiches too, but the vital question is, will they be filled with marmalade – or Marmite? Up until recently, the choice of filling would have been a forgone conclusion, but suddenly our loveable bear has developed a taste for the sticky brown stuff. Of course, he still loves marmalade very much. In fact, when Paddington was first approached by the advertising company he exclaimed, “But I always have marmalade in my sandwiches!” The agency explained, “That’s exactly why we think you would be perfect for the campaign. We want people who normally have something different in their sandwiches to try Marmite.” Pictured right: Paddington Bear with Marmalade Hidden Treasures from Arora Design – each figurine has a secret compartment containing a hidden treasure. So, rather tentatively, Paddington took a sniff, and then a nibble, and finally a big bite. He discovered that he enjoyed Marmite very much indeed, and though it could never really replace his beloved marmalade, it certainly made a jolly acceptable change. The pigeons and the ducks are not too sure, though, as can be seen in the adverts. Michael Bond is not too sure, either, and in a letter to The Times wrote, “Paddington likes his food and tries anything, but he would certainly never be weaned off marmalade”, saying that Paddington’s characteristics are “set in stone and you shouldn’t change them.” In the past he has always tried to avoid any hint of commercialising Paddington Bear, so he added darkly, “Now there’s no going back.” What actually is Marmite? Well, it’s a spread made from yeast extract, vegetable extract, salt and various spices and, as the adverts proclaim, ‘You either love it or hate it’. You certainly can’t be indifferent to that tangy, tongue numbing taste. Although Paddington has been weaned off the marmalade for a while to promote the new, squeezy Marmite, I’m sure it won’t be long before he reverts to his favourite marmalade chunks. A marmalade-free Paddington is about as unthinkable as a Paddington who has lost his duffel coat and floppy hat. When Michael Bond found a small toy teddy bear on a shelf in a London Store on Christmas Eve 1956, he decided to buy it as a present for his wife. He called the bear Paddington. Just for fun, he wrote some stories revolving around the bear, and after a few days realised he had a book on his hands. However, he admits that while he was writing he didn’t consciously set out to write a children’s book – which is good, because, as all Paddington enthusiasts know, the books are far too special to be the sole prerogative of youngsters. Eventually, the book was placed with William Collins and Sons (now HarperCollins), and illustrator Peggy Fortnum was commissioned to produce the delightful sketches which complemented the stories so well. ‘A Bear Called Paddington’ was published in 1958, and as we all know, the rest is history. Amazingly, the Paddington series of books have sold over thirty million copies world wide and have been translated into thirty languages. Pictured left: Paddington Bear by Steiff As the birthday bear’s big day approaches, as well as planning his party shopping list and putting both Marmite and marmalade at the top of it, how else will Paddington be celebrating? For starters, he will be starring in a new book, the first Michael Bond Paddington Bear book to be published for thirty years. Rumour has it that a mysterious stranger will cause Paddington to reflect where home really is – surely he won’t forsake 32 Windsor Gardens and return to darkest Peru? ‘Paddington Here and Now’ will be published in June, while in October, to commemorate the publication of that very first book, HarperCollins will issue a special anniversary edition of ‘A Bear Called Paddington’. And there’s more – in March, as part of World Book Day, a £1 read, ‘Paddington Rules the Waves’, will be amongst the titles on offer. There will be plenty of new Paddington Bear collectables and merchandise this year, too, including a new Steiff creation. As we all know, Paddington was first discovered by Mr and Mrs Brown on Paddington Station, hence his name. The optimistic little refugee was sitting hopefully on a suitcase containing his worldly goods, and Steiff have depicted him, carrying his case, in a limited edition of 1,500 pieces. This 11 inch tall Paddington wears a pale blue coat and is complete with a gold-plated button-in-ear. He is based on the FilmFair Paddington Bear from the television series, a super bonus for fans of the animated episodes. Other items include puzzles courtesy of Hausemann en Hotte/Falcon, while Robert Harrop has produced a gorgeous commemorative figurine of Paddington munching a marmalade sandwich (not a blob of Marmite in sight!). More planned Paddington releases include a commemorative coin, a pewter figurine, clothing, greetings cards, a cookery book and gift wrap, as well as a range of soft […]
Robert (Mouseman) Thompson (7 May 1876 – 8 December 1955) was a British furniture maker whose designs were both functional and very collectable. His designs with their clean, simple lines, careful workmanship, classic construction and mouse carvings have attracted and continue to attract considerable interest from collectors not only in the UK but worldwide. Pictured: A Robert Mouseman Thompson Refectory Table c1935. Sold for £2,250 at Bonhams, London, Nov 2013. Robert Thompson lived in Kilburn, North Yorkshire, where he set up a business manufacturing oak furniture, which featured a carved mouse on almost every piece. Pictured: A Mouseman Oak Cheesboard and Mouseman Breadboard, c1935. Estimate £300-£500. It is claimed that the mouse motif came about accidentally in 1919 following a conversation about “being as poor as a church mouse”, which took place between Thompson and one of his colleagues during the carving of a cornice for a screen. This chance remark led to him carving a mouse and this remained part of his work from this point onwards. The mouse carvings can often be used to date pieces. Pictured: A Robert Mouseman Thompson Pair of Monk’s Chairs, c1940. Sold for £7,500 at Bonhams, London, Nov 2012. Image Copyright Bonhams, He was part of the 1920s revival of craftsmanship, inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement led by William Morris, John Ruskin and Thomas Carlyle. More specific to furniture making in this genre and era include Stanley Webb Davies of Windermere. Pictured: Robert Mouseman Thompson oak ashtrays – of similar form but with slight differences, each dished rectangular and with two canted corners, carved in relief to the opposite end with the mouse trademark ashtrays. Sold for £168 at Bonhams, Knowle, June 2011. Image Copyright Bonhams, The workshop, now being run by his descendants, includes a showroom and visitors’ centre, and is located beside the Parish Church, which contains “Mouseman” pews, fittings and other furniture. The company is now known as “Robert Thompson’s Craftsmen Ltd – The Mouseman of Kilburn.” Mouseman Related The Mouseman Visitor Centre Mouseman Furniture at auction Robert Thompson Mouseman Price Guide Early Mouseman pieces are highly desirable and unlike a great deal of Victorian and early 20th century furniture, pieces are bucking market trends and are increasing rather than decreasing. The factory still produces furniture so new pieces are available. Below are realised prices from auction rooms and online auctions. Click for Mouseman Price Guide for Smaller Items.
Perfume Bottle Collecting has grown in popularity forming a part of our social and design history. Walk into any cosmetics department and the sweet smell of perfume fills the air. You can choose from designer brand names such as Christian Dior and Chanel to celebrity endorsed scents by pop princesses’ Jennifer Lopez and Brittany Spears. But from a collectors point of view it is not the smell that entices them to the shelves but the collectability of the innovative designed bottles. The word perfume is taken from the Latin word per fumum, which translated means through smoke and has been used for different reasons throughout the Centuries. The Egyptians used scented bandages when embalming, as it was supposed to be a symbol of eternity, in later centuries perfume was used as a method of hygiene to cover up repulsive smells but today it is purely for cosmetic reasons, to make us smell nice and attract the opposite sex. Throughout the ages perfume has been packaged in various shaped bottles made of many different materials. The ancient world used blown glass and alabaster whilst the Victorians favoured silver topped glass bottles. One of the most collected Victorian bottle is the dual-purpose double-ended one, two bottles fused together they are usually found in green, ruby or blue coloured glass, one end contained the flowery scent that the Victorian ladies liked to wear and the other for their smelling salts. Prices vary depending on where you buy but expect to pay £200 retail or £100 plus for one at auction (in April 2005 Dreweatt Neate Saleroom sold a collection of three double-ended bottles for £310.) It was the turn into the 20th Century when the perfume industry began to introduce pre-packaged scents for women to buy directly over the counter. Perfumeries commissioned glass manufacturers like Baccarat and Lalique to produce high quality bottles to house these scents. The Lalique ones have become highly sought after by collectors and some command big money at auction, a rare “Bouchon Mures” Lalique bottle was sold at Bonhams saleroom in 1990 for a staggering hammer price of £38,000, but don’t despair if this is a little harsh for your pocket, as you can purchase Lalique bottles for much more affordable prices. The “Girlandes de Perles” and “Cactus Pattern Globular” bottles each made a hammer price of £240 at Dreweatt Neate’s salerooms, and if you shop around you can buy a small bottle of the well-known scent “L’Air du Temps” by Nina Ricci for about £100. A Lalique perfume bottle of any sort would be a centrepiece for any perfume bottle collection. Baccarat was other leading glass manufacturer that created amazing innovative bottles to house ladies scents. One of their most recognised designs was for French Perfume h ouse “Guerlain”. The bottle has an inverted heart shaped stopper and displays the “Guerlain Paris” label on the front. “L’Heure Bleue” was the first scent to be launched by Guerlain in this bottle in 1912 and they used the same design for “Fol Arome” and “Mitsouko” in the following years. I managed to buy an example in its original box holding half the scent for £85 but I suspect it is probably worth in the region of £120 – £150. As with any female fashion collectable such as handbags or jewellery, perfume bottles really came into their own in the 1920’s. Women became more aware of their looks embracing the Jazz Age with vibrant colours, short skirts and even shorter hair. Many designer houses moved with the times and encouraged the women to complement their looks with classy scents in stylish bottles. Coco Chanel launched its signature scent “No.5” in 1921, the bottle was very stylish and chic epitomising the era that it was launched, very simple in design it oozed class and also enabled women to buy a piece of Chanel at an affordable price, especially appealing to those who could not afford the Chanel clothing ranges. One of these original bottles today, can fetch around £35-£45 if still with box or £20-£25 without the box. “Schiaparelli” was another leading fashion designer who presented her perfumes in beautiful designs, “Shocking” one of her most famous scents was inspired by the actress Mae West, this bottle is very similar to Jean Paul Gaultier’s designs today as it is in the shape of a shopmaker’s dummy, whilst Jean Paul Gaultier bottles are in the shape of female and male torsos. A rare piece, the Schiaparelli bottle can cost £250+ on the secondary market. Another of her sought after bottles are those shaped like candles, they housed the scent called “Sleeping” and were designed by Baccarat, these can fetch around £100 – £200 depending on the size and condition. The fifties continued with imaginative bottles; Max Factor produced the velour covered cat to hold their scents “Electrique”, “Primitif” and “Hypnotique.” These dome covered felines are reasonably common and cost around £10 – £20. The 1960’s saw Avon dominate the novelty perfume bottle industry producing containers for scent in every possible guise, also producing solid perfume containers that could be worn as pins on ladies clothing. Another major fashion designer of the 60s was Barbara Hulanicki founder of the Biba chain. She produced everything from scents to oils in stylised black bottles with the trademark gold logo, and these bottles are highly reminiscent of the Art Deco period in design. Today there is a huge array of different scents and novelty bottles to choose from in the commercial perfume industry but collectors are also attracted to the studio glass bottles that are skilfully made by various glassmakers. All leading manufacturers of these art glass creations, each bring a different trait to their trade and have their own personalities imprinted into their designs, these bottles are made as decorative pieces rather than functional and are to be displayed and admired. Look to manufacturers such as Isle of Wight, Okra and Glasform for high quality hand created art glass perfume bottles. Perfume bottles have […]