Norah Wellings Dolls – Norah Wellings was a British toymaker and designer, well known for her cloth dolls. We take a brief look at her career and at her unique dolls along with some doll values. Norah was born in Shropshire in 1893 and began her career as a milliner’s assistant before moving to Chad Valley Co Ltd in 1919, where she worked as their main doll designer. It was at Chad Valley that Norah developed her unique dolls styles. She stayed at Chad Valley until 1926 when she left and with her brother Leonard opened their own toy factory, the Victoria Toy Works. The Victoria Toy Works initially comprised just 8 staff including Norah and Leonard. In 1927 the company had two positive pieces of exposure including gifting Queen Mary (the grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II) a Cora doll when she visited Shropshire, and after displaying her designs at the British Industries Fair in London, Norah and her company was mentioned in the Games and Toys magazine: ‘Miss Wellings has not long been manufacturing on her own account, but evidently there is a very big future for her in the trade, for her caricatures, dolls and animals are produced as saleable lines which every high-class store throughout the country will feature’. The company grew rapidly creating a quality line of soft toys which were sold in many high end stores such as Harrods, for which she designed toys for their Christmas displays. Norah remained lead designer and managed all the designs. The company is said to have employed around 250 people at one time exporting dolls to a number of countries including the United States, Canada, Australia and South Africa. The Typical Norah Welling Doll Norah’s dolls were typically made of cloth: felt, plush, velvet and in some instances cotton were used. The dolls were constructed entirely of soft materials including the heads which were moulded buckram over a layer of plastic wood which was then overlaid by a steam pressed layer of felt, stockinet or velveteen. The faces were hand- painted and sealed with a waterproof coating to make them washable. All faces were hand painted in sections, allowing one part to dry before the adjoining portion was painted. Over the years the company produced baby dolls, fashion dolls, dolls dressed in native costumes, storybook characters as well as a range of animals including monkeys and rabbits. All dolls were fully marked with sewn-on labels on the wrist or the foot with the words: ‘Made in England by Norah Wellings’. In 1929 the company once again exhibited at the British Industries Fair and were listed as: Manufacturer of Soft Fabric Toys of Distinction, including “Cora”, “Babimine” and “Cuddly” Dolls, “So-Soft” Nursery Animals, Plush and Velveteen Novelties, Mascots, etc. Discriminating buyers are cordially invited to inspect this exhibit. (Stand No. D.28). The company was also very successful in marketing to the tourist industry and principally to the cruise ship industry. Norah’s range of sailor dolls were sold on many ships. The Norah Wellings novelty line of dolls included the sailor dolls, which were initially released in 1929. They quickly rose to the top of the Wellings catalogue as the most well-liked novelty dolls. The original “Sailor,” model 140, was known as “Jollyboy.” He had glass eyes, a painted smile with teeth visible, and an intensely coloured curly wig. His torso was blue velvet with bare feet, and his head was made of velvet. Only his head was jointed, and he was wearing a white cotton hat. The name of the navy ship or ocean liner was always on the hatband of the “Jollyboys,” which came in a wide range of sizes and almost always had bare feet. The Jollyboy sailor dolls are the most common found and examples can be purchased relatively cheaply. The company managed to continue during World War Two with Wellings making dolls representing characters from the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, including Harry the Hawk, which was sold to raise money for the Royal Air Force Comforts Fund. In 1959 the Victoria Toy Works closed its doors after the death of Nora’s beloved brother Leonard. Nora did not want to sell her designs and burned all her tools, designs and unfinished dolls in a huge bonfire. The finished dolls and toys were donated to various institutions and societies. We will feature Norah’s rabbit and monkey designs in future features. Related Grace’s Guide To British Industrial History Norak Wellings Norah Wellings and her novelty dolls Norah Wellings Rabbits information and price guide .
What a combination – America’s most collected living artist Thomas Kinkade and Disney. Disney have recently opened their archives to Thomas Kinkade and his first picture which was released in August 2008 is based on the Disney version of Snow White, and in particular her first encounter with the Dwarves cottage. Thomas Kinkade says about Disney and Snow White: As a child my imagination was stirred by the great animated films of Walt Disney. Imagine my delight when Disney recently opened their archives to me as I prepared for my first-ever series of images inspired by classic Disney moments. In the first piece of this series, Snow White’s world is alive with color. The Prince’s castle where Snow White will eventually discover happiness looms majestically in the distance, while a foaming waterfall and fanciful animals remind us that Snow White is at peace with all of nature. Of course, I also included my iconic colorful flowers which festoon the scene with hopeful reminders of spring. I hope that Snow White Discovers the Cottage will be a fairy tale come true for Disney and Kinkade collectors everywhere. Thomas Kinkade has also worked with Disney on two previous occasions with the Disneyland 50th Anniversary painting in 2005 and A New Day at Cinderella Castle in 2007. Released in September 2005. Thomas Kinkade wrote of the Disneyland 50th Anniversary painting: When the Disneyland 50th Anniversary gala was announced, I jumped at the chance to paint this place of golden memories. I set up my easel on Main Street to paint a plein air study of Sleeping Beauty Castle, soon to be festooned with decorations, flags, and banners celebrating Disneyland’s 50th. I couldn’t resist painting my own family among the crowd. The drama of sunset suggests the end of an era at Disneyland, while the glowing lights at the base of the castle remind us that a new age of imagination and celebration awaits. Released in October 2007. Thomas Kinkade wrote of A New Day at Cinderella Castle painting: “Two of the dream-memories we take from childhood on our life’s journey, if we are fortunate, are the wonder and excitement of Disney World and the soaring majesty of castles. Perhaps that is why the Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World, Orlando, is such an enchanting inspiration to young and old. My family makes a pilgrimage to this favorite spot on every visit. This year, I went in my imagination to explore a vision of the regal castle gently kissed by the golden light of a perfect day. A New Day at the Cinderella Castle discovers a morning every bit as festive and delightful as the castle itself. A double rainbow arcs over the towering castle; fluffy clouds dapple its many towers with light and shade. Lavish, rainbow-hued trees and shrubs frame the building; quaint gas lamps dance along the walkway. I used a more whimsical style in keeping with the subject: Is Bambi on the lawn? Tinkerbell above the castle spires? The Ugly Duckling in the pond? You decide.” With access to the Disney archive and Thomas Kinkade’s artistic talent there are sure to be many wonderful paintings arriving in the years to come.
The Tiffany family might not have made it to the New World aboard the ‘Mayflower’ but they might still qualify as early arrivals when, sometime around 1660, a certain Squire Humphrey Tiffany arrived and settled in the Massachusetts Bay colony. Some 150 years later his descendants were in business running a general store in Connecticut. The son of this concern, Charles Louis Tiffany, together with his college friend John Young, decided to try their luck setting up shop in New York at 259 Broadway, aided by a $1,000 loan from Charles’s father – the year was 1837 and Charles was 25 years of age. Initially trading as Tiffany and Young the firm is known to have offered stationery and fancy goods. Pictured: Tiffany Glass Lustre Vase – part of the Haworth Art Gallery Tiffany Glass collection. Image copyright Haworth Art Gallery. The enterprise eventually became Tiffany and Co and gained a reputation for carefully selected European objects that benefited from being tastefully displayed attracting both a discerning and growing clientele. By 1850 the company was importing jewellery and that same year acquired a collection of jewels that had once been owned by Marie Antoinette. The firm had prospered to such an extent that by 1887 they were in a position to purchase a significant proportion of the former French crown jewels for the sum of two million French francs. By now Tiffany and Co were jewellers and silversmiths to an elite clientele of multi millionaires with such legendary names as Havemeyer, Gould, Astor and Vanderbilt. This was a stratum of US society keen to offload vast sums of cash on the best that their money could buy and Charles Tiffany was a master at keeping his customers satisfied. His son Louis Comfort Tiffany was born into this rarefied retail outlet in 1848 and had benefited at birth from growing up in a home surrounded by tasteful furnishings of the finest quality. Despite the expectancy that the son would naturally join the family firm it became obvious that he had other ideas and by his teenage years had shown intent to develop his painting skills by studying under George Innes the celebrated American landscape artist working in the Barbizon style. In 1867 he travelled to London and Paris where he developed a fascination with the ‘Orientalist’ approach to painting that sought subject matter of both middle and far eastern themes. The young Tiffany had the additional benefit of being mentored by Edward C Moore who worked for his father and was recognised by all as a significant expert in all matters of historical design and fine art. Over the years LCT made several painting trips to Europe and North Africa where he had become particularly inspired by the simple and pleasing colours of the buildings, instilling an ambition of bringing colour into the buildings and homes of his native country. On one trip he was joined by his friend and much respected fellow artist Samuel Colman with whom in later years along with Candace Wheeler, the much respected needlework and textile designer, they collectively traded as Louis Comfort Tiffany and Associated Artists. Their relatively short lived joint venture was aimed at providing a total interior design and decoration service with Candace Wheeler in particular admitting LCT to be difficult to work alongside due to his obsession with his experimentation with all things glass. Their success appeared to be well and truly consolidated after being commissioned by President Chester Alan Arthur to redecorate several rooms in the White House. Other significant clients included Mark Twain and Lily Langtry – referred to at the time as the ‘Jersey Lily’. Tiffany’s fascination with glass had been nurtured during his early visits to Europe where he studied medieval stained glass in the many cathedrals as well as the early glass displayed in important museums. This interest was also stimulated by the ancient Roman and Islamic glass that he came across whilst travelling around the Middle East. His preoccupation with the commercial possibilities offered by producing aesthetically pleasing art glass began to override his expected involvement with his interior design company. As early as 1878 he had set up his own glassworks employing Venetian glass maker Andrea Boldini as his partner. Unfortunately their enterprise appears to have failed after the works had burnt down on two occasions leading the Italian to resign. Tiffany was however determined to pursue his dream and in 1880 began to file various patents including one that made use of metallic lustres and was to become manifest as his now legendary ‘Favrile’ glass. The term being a derivative of the word ‘Fabrile’ an old English term for being hand made. His efforts and further trialling appear to have taken place across the East River in the Louis Heidt glassworks located in then fashionable Brooklyn. In 1882, three years after parting company with Candace Wheeler and Samuel Colman, his continuing fascination resulted in the founding of the Tiffany Glass Company. The company was initially involved in the making decorative windows that had witnessed a growing demand that was also providing commissions for his one time friend John La Farge. Tiffany’s experimentation included iridescent glass that emulated that uncovered from archaeological sites and eventually retailed as ‘Cypriot’ glass. Other techniques included coloured lustre, wheel carving, paperweight, agate, reactive, lava, cameo and aquamarine. The latter might be considered to be a novelty type of glass albeit extremely difficult to perfect, which therefore accounts for such pieces being relatively rare. The intention was to emulate aquatic weeds, marine life and fish within a solid mass of clear glass encased within an integral vase or bowl or as simple doorstops and paperweights. In 1892 he made the decision to rename his business the Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company, thereby making it known that his interior design service was still operating and attracting no shortage of commissions. More importantly Louis Comfort Tiffany had by now secured the position and reputation of being able to claim the accolade as the […]
Emmett Kelly Collectibles The Worlds Most Collectible Clown Emmett Kelly, Jr ‘The World’s Most Famous Clown’ has become a classic images of Americana. Born in 1923 into a Circus family Emmett was always destined to perform but it was not until 1960 that he answered the Circus call and began performing as ‘Weary Willie’, the lovable mime character his father Emmett Kelly, Sr had played all his life. Pictured Emmett Kelly, Jr In 1964 Emmett Kelly Jr shot to fame when he was employed by Eastman Kodak at their Pavilion at the World’s Fair and he became one of the top attractions during the Fair’s two year run. After the Fair Emmett Kelly, Jr became a touring Ambassador of Goodwill for them. This relationship lasted for over four years during which Emmett visited thousands of towns and hospitals. During these years Emmett Kelly , Jr. became America’s most photographed and recognized clown. Emmett Kelly, Jr. continues to perform in public appearances nationwide and helps promote various lines of merchandise and collectibles, which bear his name and likeness. Green Stuff Licensing is the exclusive licensing arm of Emmett Kelly, Jr. The licensing of his products was almost prior to 1980. Green Stuff were careful in selecting its first major licensee because its marketing strategy is not to have fad-type licensing. A line of ceramic figurines was developed with Flambro and through a well-planned merchandising program, the Emmett Kelly, Jr. figurine collection became the third best seller in America according to Giftware News. Pitured Emmett Kelly Sweeping Up by Flambro The recently released “Nostalgia Collection” by Flambro is a recreation of original designs from 1980. Additionally, “Nature’s Palette” is a wondrously colorful range of decorative porcelains in five different motifs from an English artist. Pitured Sculpture Route 66 in Arizona by Ron Lee Other companies producing merchandise and collectibles include Suns Out, Bachman Trains, and figurines by sculptor Ron Lee. Pictured Bachman Emmett Kelly Train Set Flambro also run the Emmett Kelly, Jr Collectors Club e-club which produces a newsletter which has over 4000 members providing information, news and special offers. NOTICE – This site is not affiliated or associated in any way with Emmett Kelly, Jr. The purpose of these pages is to provide information to collectors of Emmett Kelly, Jr Collectibles.
The first Moomin book was published over 70 years in 1945 and the stories and character have since inspired puppet animations, TV shows, animated series, collectables, collectors items, a museum, Moomin shops, Moomin cafes and even a Moominworld theme park. For collectors of Moomin collectables and merchandise there is especial interest in the Moomin books, Moomin art, vintage Moomon items and the Moomin mug. The Moomin characters and Moominworld were the work Finnish-Swedish writer and artist Tove Jansson. Her stories about the adventures of Moomin family (Moomintroll, Moominpappa, Moominmamma and friends) of white and roundish trolls with large snouts have delighted generations and interest continues today. Tove Jansson was born in Helsinki in 1914 into an artistic family. She studied art from 1930 to 1938 in Stockholm, Helsinki and then Paris and her first Moomin-like character appears in the magazine Garm in 1943. Her first Moomin book was published in 1945 by Söderström & Co – The Moomins and the Great Flood. The first book was a minor success but her next two books Comet in Moominland and Finn Family Moomintroll, published in 1946 and 1948 respectively, saw high sales and assured her fame. Most of the Moomin books were translated into English in the 1950s to the 1970s. The first book Moomins and the Great Flood was only translated into English in 2005 to mark its 60th Anniversary. The character Moomintroll was born out of chance when Tove, on one childhood summer day, discussed literary philosophy with her brother Per Olov Jansson by the outhouse next to their summer cottage in the archipelago. Tove drew the ugliest creature she could imagine on the outhouse wall. That drawing is the first glimpse of the Moomins, although Tove called it a Snork. Source moomin.com The modern interest in Moomins coincided with the release in 1990 by Telecable of a 104 half-hour Moomin animations names Tales From Moominvalley. The series was produced in Japan by Dennis Livson and Lars Jansson and Tales From Moominvalley was eventually sold to over 60 countries. The series was followed by full-length movie Comet in Moominland. The success in Scandinavia and principally in Japan created what has been term The Moomin Boom (muumibuumi in Finnish). The Moomin Books Tove Jansen write 9 books and 5 picture books. The original publication date is given below along with English title. 1945 The Moomins and the Great Flood (Originally: Småtrollen och den stora översvämningen) 1946 Comet in Moominland (Swedish title Kometjakten / Mumintrollet på kometjakt / Kometen kommer) 1948 Finn Family Moomintroll (Original Swedish title Trollkarlens hatt, ‘The Magician’s Hat’), 1950 The Exploits of Moominpappa (Originally: Muminpappans bravader/Muminpappans memoarer) 1952 The Book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My – The first Moomin picture book (Originally: Hur gick det sen?) Some Moomin books – First Edition English book covers 1954 Moominsummer Madness (Swedish title Farlig midsommar, ‘Dangerous Midsummer’) 1957 Moominland Midwinter (Swedish title Trollvinter, Finnish title Taikatalvi) 1960 Who Will Comfort Toffle? – The second Moomin picture book (Originally: Vem ska trösta knyttet?) 1962 Tales from Moominvalley (Originally: Det osynliga barnet) 1965 Moominpappa at Sea (Originally: Pappan och havet) 1970 Moominvalley in November 1977 The Dangerous Journey (Originally: Den farliga resan) 1980 Skurken i Muminhuset (English: Villain in the Moominhouse) 1993 Visor från Mumindalen (English: Songs from Moominvalley) As well as books the Moomins also appeared in comic strip form in a number of papers all over the world originally in 1947 in the children’s section of the Ny Tid newspaper, and internationally to English readers in 1954 in the London’s The Evening News. The Moomins cartoon strip reaches up to 20 million readers daily in over 40 countries. Tove Jansson drew and wrote all the strips until 1959. From 1960, Tove’s brother Lars Jansson drew the strip until 1975 when the last strip was released. The Moomin Mug – Collecting moominmugs Other than books one of main areas of interest is collecting Moomin Mugs (collecting moominmugs). Arabia have been responsible for the Moomin mug since 1990. Arabia are a Finnish ceramics company, founded in 1873 by Rörstrand, who specialize in kitchenware and tableware. The first Moomin mug was released in 1990 and began a series entitled Teema. The Mug Green is also known by the name The Green Comic Strip. The original artwork featured on the mug is from Tove Jansson’s comic strip #8 Moomin Builds a New Life (1956). Tove Slotte was the graphic designer responsible for Arabia’s Moomin products. He used the images from the strip more or less as they were, only removing the speech bubbles. In the same year Mug Blue, Mug Rose and Mug Yellow. The Mug blue is also known by the name Painting Moomins, the mug rose is also known by the name Rose Comic Strip and the fourth Moomin mug is also known by the name Mug yellow, Moominmamma. The early Arabia Moomin mugs are extremely collectable with prices for perfect example of Mug Green being over £400. The other colours also fetch prices from £100 to £300. There is an excellent series of articles on the history behind the Moomin mugs on the moomin.com blog. A visit to a Moomin shop, to their website or a look on ebay will show the wide variety of collectables, books, merchandise and household items that are available. If you have not read a Moomin book do go and find the recent special editions of the original books and immerse yourself in this wonderful fantasy world.
The glass of Emile Galle is attracting increasing attention among collectors, not only for its inherent beauty and refinement, but also because every piece, so far as we know, has that favourite feature of the collector, a signature.
In the 21st Century they put the finishing touches to any outfit and are a sign of status and adornment but shoes were originally the simplest way to protect the feet. Early shoes were made of large leaves, bark and grass tied together with vines. The decades have seen progression in the design of footwear so it is the modern shoes that are sought after by collectors. Boots were the favoured footwear for the 19th century, worn by both men and women styles varied from the front laced Balmoral boot to the button boot. Delicate shoes were also worn and made of satin, silk, reptile and leather. The styles were not too different from modern day shoes with mules being popular with both sexes for indoor wear and the classic court shoe being worn from 1860s/1870s onwards. Towards the end of the 19th century shoes with extremely high heels became fashionable, almost impossible to walk in. Known as “Barrette” because they were fastened with bars and buttons. The Northampton Museum houses over 12,000 pairs of shoes dating from 1620 to the present day. One of the highlights of their collection are shoes worn by Queen Victoria on her wedding day. Made of white satin and trimmed with bands of ribbon they were made by Gundry & Son, shoemakers to the Queen and are the epiphany of Victorian style By the 1920s and the “Age of Jazz” shoe design became more prolific. Bar shoes were still popular and brightly coloured fabrics were the height of fashion which reflected in the fancy footwear. The 1930s saw more innovative styles with radical modern shapes being introduced. The middle of the 20th century saw the biggest turning point for shoe design; the 1950s introduced the stiletto heel or “little dagger” as it was also known. A complete turn around from the chunky designs of previous decades, highly collected the retro 1950s is where most collectors start buying. Good examples can still be found around car boot sales and jumble sales for a few pounds – also vintage clothes shops stock many 1950s and 1960s shoes for as little as £50 upwards. From the Rock ‘n’ Roll years into the swinging sixties shoes became a fashion statement. Beatlemania saw the reintroduction of the elastic-sided Chelsea boot, which had been fashionable over 125 years previous. Fashion designers such as Mary Quant, started to experiment with plastics using bright psychedelic colours producing hip and trendy footwear for the fashion conscious. The platform boot dominated the mid 1970s with inspiration taken from the “Glam Rock” pop groups of the decade. The film “Tommy” was released in 1975 and starred “Elton John” as the pinball wizard. The famous boots worn by the star were modelled on “cherry red” Dr Martens, moulded in fibre glass they stand 4ft 6.5″ high. These boots can be viewed at the Northampton museum as they are on loan from R Griggs makers of Dr Martens who purchased them at auction when Elton sold them through Sothebys in 1988. The museum also owns a pair of Vivienne Westwood green mock crocodile super elevated Gillies. M ade especially for the museum they are similar to the blue ones worn by supermodel Naomi Campbell when she toppled over on the catwalk in 1993. Westwood is one of the top names in the collecting world and her products can make large amounts of money on the secondary market. Expect to pay from between £400 to £600+ for a pair, especially those dating from the 1980s. This may seem a lot of money but when you take into consideration a brand new pair of Jimmy Choo’s can cost up to £1,000 from a retail outlet, the vintage ones are a bargain. Modern shoe designer Patrick Cox is constantly aware of the collectors market and produces limited edition shoes for this purpose. Last year an exclusive pair of his Swarovski crystal-encrusted red stilettos was auctioned for “Art of Fashion” and raised £7,000 for Breakthrough Breast Cancer. Other lots included white stilettos by Stuart Weitzman customised by celebrities such as Dido and Sophie Ellis-Bextor, these raised £200 – £220 a pair. Shoes design has progressed increasingly over the last century with new technology and material available allowing shoe designers to become more innovative and experimental.. Rebecca Shawcross of Northampton Museum’s advice is “shoes will not make you a fortune but buy what you like, wear them and love them”. FACTS Judy Garland’s “Ruby Slippers” from the film “Wizard of Oz” made $666,000 at Christies in 2000. The first Dr Marten rolled off the production line on 1st April 1960 Shoes have been found in buildings where they have been hidden to protect the house and the inhabitants from evil and misfortune St. Crispin is the patron Saint of shoemakers. The oldest shoe in the world was made 8,000 years ago and found in the USA in a cave. For further information on the Northampton Museum and its shoe collection visit www.northampton.gov.uk/museums
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
The term “American Stoneware” refers to the predominant houseware of nineteenth century America–stoneware pottery usually covered in a salt glaze and often decorated using cobalt oxide to produce bright blue decorations. Pictured right: Fenton & Hancock Water Cooler sold at auction for $88,000 in Nov 2006 at Crocker Farm Inc auctions The vernacular term “crocks” is often used to describe this type of pottery, though the term “crock” is not seen in period documents describing the ware. Additionally, while other types of stoneware were produced in America concurrently with it–for instance, ironstone, yellowware, and various types of china–in common usage of the term, “American Stoneware” refers to this specific type of pottery. Pictured left: Baltimore Stoneware, (H. Myers) Water Cooler, Made By Henry Remmey, Sr. Water Cooler sold at auction for $72,600 in July 2004 at Crocker Farm Inc auctions Stoneware is pottery made out of clay of the stoneware category, fired to a high temperature (about 1200°C to 1315°C). The pottery becomes, essentially, stone. Salt-glazed pottery is a type of pottery produced by adding salt to a kiln to create a glass-like coating on the pottery. At just over 900°C, the salt (sodium chloride) vaporizes and bonds with the clay body. The sodium in the salt bonds with the silica in the clay, creating sodium silicate, or glass. A very commonly employed technique seen on American Stoneware is the use of cobalt decoration, where a dark gray mixture of clay, water and the expensive mineral cobalt oxide is painted onto the unfired vessels. In the firing process, the cobalt reacts to produce a vibrant blue decoration that has become the trademark of these wares. While this type of salt-glazed stoneware probably originated in the Rhineland area of Germany circa 1400’s, it became the dominant houseware of the United States of America circa 1780-1890. Pictured right: Early NY Figural, Stoneware Jar, Inscribed “Bill Remey” sold at auction for $63,250 in March 2008 at Crocker Farm Inc auctions Americans began producing salt-glazed stoneware circa 1720 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Yorktown, Virginia. By the 1770’s, the art of salt-glazed stoneware production had spread to many centers throughout the United States, most notably Manhattan, New York. There the Crolius and Remmey families (two of the most important families in the history of American pottery production) would, by the turn of the nineteenth century, set the standard for expertly crafted and aesthetically pleasing American stoneware. By 1820, stoneware was being produced in virtually every American urban center, with potters from Baltimore, Maryl and, in particular raising the craft to its pinnacle. While salt-glazing is the typical glaze technique seen on American Stoneware, other glaze methods were employed by the potters. For instance, vessels were often dunked in Albany Slip, a mixture made from a clay peculiar to the Upper Hudson Region of New York, and fired, producing a dark brown glaze. Albany Slip was also sometimes used as a glaze to coat the inside surface of salt-glazed ware. Pictured left: Taunton, MA, Stoneware Figural Cooler, 1834 sold at auction for $34,500 in March 2008 at Crocker Farm Inc auctions While decorated ware was usually adorned using cobalt oxide, American Stoneware potters used other decorative techniques. Incising, a method in which a design of flowering plants, birds, or some other decoration was cut into the leather-hard clay using a stylus, produced detailed, recessed images on the vessels; these were usually also highlighted in cobalt. Stamped or coggled designs were sometimes impressed into the leather-hard clay, as well. Potters occasionally substituted manganese or iron oxide for cobalt oxide to produce brown, instead of blue, decorations on the pottery. In the last half of the nineteenth century, potters in New England and New York state began producing stoneware with elaborate figural designs such as deer, dogs, birds, houses, people, historical scenes and other fanciful motifs including elephants and “bathing beauties.” A significant percentage of American Stoneware was signed using maker’s marks and, much more rarely, incised signatures. Many pieces can be attributed to particular makers based on the cobalt decoration, clay body, form, etc. The gallon capacity of the vessels was often denoted using numeral stamps or incised or cobalt oxide numbers or hash marks applied in freehand. Pictured right: John W. Bell, Waynesboro, PA, Redware Figure of a Whippet Dog sold at auction for $41,800 in May 2005 at Crocker Farm Inc auctions American Stoneware was valued as not only a durable, decorative houseware but as a safer alternative to lead-glazed earthenware pottery produced in America before and during its production there. This earthenware, commonly referred to today as American Redware, was often produced by the same potters making American Stoneware. Pictured left: “Anthony W. Bacher / 1879”, VA Redware Wall pocket sold at auction for $35,650 in March 2008 at Crocker Farm Inc auctions Stoneware was used for anything we might use glass jars or tupperware for today. It held everything from water, soda, and beer to meat, grain, jelly, and pickled vegetables, and was produced in a very wide variety of forms. These ranged from common jars and jugs to more specialized items like pitchers, water coolers, spittoons, and butter pots, to much rarer banks and poultry waterers and exceptionally unusual pieces like bird houses, animal figures, and grave markers. With the proliferation of mass production techniques and machinery throughout the century, in particular the breakthrough of John Landis Mason’s glass jar (see Mason jar), the production of what had been one of America’s most vital handcrafts gradually ground to a halt. By the turn of the twentieth century, some companies mass-produced stoneware with a white, non-salt glaze (commonly referred to as “bristol slip”), but these later wares lacked, for instance, the elaborate decorations common to the earlier, salt-glazed stoneware. Copyright (C) 2000,2001,2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc. 51 Franklin St, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed Related American Stoneware at Auction
Beads, Bobs And Babies – Dolls in The 1920s by Sue Brewer What a time it was! Carefree, sparkling, crazy; the 1920s was a decade for the young. It was fashionable to be youthful, with thin bodies, no busts and long legs ending in strappy-shoes. Parties were held at the slightest excuse, and dances such as the Charleston were all the rage, performed by arm-flailing, leg-kicking youngsters in fringed and beaded dresses with feathered headbands worn low across their foreheads. The Music-hall was still popular, with roguish singers such as Marie Lloyd playing to packed houses every night, while wind-up gramophones ensured that music was always available – and at least one member at every celebratory gathering was an ace piano-player. My grandmother held parties in her flat next door to the Palace Theatre in Walthamstow, and the artistes would call in after the show, dancing and singing and filling the air with laughter and love, something her children would always remember. She was one of the first so-called `flappers` in the area, rushing to get her hair bobbed as soon as she heard of the fashion. There was a feeling of optimism – the devastating Great War was over – and women were becoming much more independent. During the hostilities, they had worked in previously male-dominated occupations, and having acquired a taste for freedom and life outside the home environment, were determined not to give it up again. Naturally, not everyone was affected by this wave of euphoria. Thousands of people lived in abject poverty, and families still grieved for the men who never returned from the war. In Britain, King George V and Queen Mary were popular monarchs, and George had spent much of the War visiting the troops abroad. He wanted to fight for his country, but was not permitted as it was feared he could be captured as a prize hostage. Queen Mary was very fond of dolls and was presented with a wonderful doll`s house, exhibited at the British Empire Exhibition in 1924. It can still be viewed today at Windsor Castle. This enormous, five foot tall house, designed by Sir Edward Lutyens, contains hundreds of items made by crafts people of the time, such as tiny bottles filled with champagne, ornamental figurines, Doulton china, Cartier clocks and carved furniture. It boasts running water, electric lights and a working lift. German dolls were exceedingly popular during the 1920s, and it was during this time that Armand Marseille introduced one of his most popular lines with the `My Dream Baby` doll. This pretty baby, with a bisque porcelain head, is a favourite amongst today`s collectors. Available in several sizes, with a hard or soft body and in various `skin tones`, there was one to suit every little girl. There was even a choice of open or closed mouths. The open-mouth My Dream Baby was marked with the mould number 351 and was bald-headed with a moulded few curls. Her mouth revealed two tiny bottom teeth. These babies featured the recently-introduced bent-limbed body (as opposed to the `traditional` straight-limbed bodies jointed at knees and elbows.) The closed-mouth version, mould number 341, is particularly sought after today. She has a rather dreamy expression and sweetly-shaped lips, and is not quite so plentiful as her open-mouthed sister. My Dream Baby dolls had either flange or socket heads (indicated by a letter `K` on the back of the neck), and could be obtained as caucasian, black or oriental types, though no attempt was made to alter the features, it was just the colouring which differed. The oriental dolls had a creamy complexion, while the colour of the black dolls varied from milk-to-dark chocolate brown. In America, Grace Storey Putnam developed another top-selling baby doll, the Bye-Lo baby, which was introduced shortly before My Dream Baby – though Armand Marseille claimed he had designed his doll first but not produced it! The Bye-Lo had more realistic face-modelling than the Dream Baby, managing to achieve a `screwed-up` look with the porcelain. Apparently, it was based on a new-born baby, and little creases were put into the composition limbs. Issued in 1922, these sweet dolls became nicknamed the `million dollar babies` because they were so much in demand. They were made by various German companies, including Kestner. Many other manufacturers such as Ernst Heubach, Schoenau & Hoffmeister, Kammer & Reinhardt, Kestner and Simon & Halbig produced bisque dolls at this time, most using the new bent-limbed baby-type body, though girl dolls with multi-jointed bodies were still available. Armand Marseille made other baby types, too, including a particularly attractive character-faced 990 mould. This doll was produced in various sizes, and the larger-than-life model tended to find its way into shop windows, where it was used to model baby wear. Babies were in fashion, because a very special little girl was born in 1926 to the Duke and Duchess of York, who later became Queen Elizabeth II. Little all-bisque dolls were popular, too. These could fit into a dolls` house, or neatly into a pocket to be carried around as a child`s companion. During the Great War, when German exports were discouraged, Japanese dolls made from a coarse white bisque had been introduced, but now, the finer-quality German dolls were back in the shops. Celluloid, wood and cloth dolls were also produced, with manufacturers such Dean`s issuing exquisite moulded-cotton-faced dolls, including the Princess doll from 1927, Posy dolls, boudoir dolls and a range using the newly-developed `Evripose` jointing system. Chad Valley was another company manufacturing cloth dolls at this time; these beautiful dolls featured moulded-felt faces with glass eyes. Their dolls included the Bambina series, made from felt and velvet, and a leggy Boudoir doll. Norah Wellings, originally a designer with Chad Valley, began producing her own collection of dolls during the 1920s, setting up a factory in Shropshire. Her Cora dolls featured felt faces, velveteen bodies and were dressed in pretty frilly frocks. Later she became known for her cheeky sailor dolls. The […]