Louis Wain Cats Louis William Wain was born on August 5, 1860 in Clerkenwell in London. His father was a textile trader and embroiderer, his mother was French. He was the first of six children, and the only male child. None of his five sisters ever married. At the age of thirty, his youngest sister was certified as insane, and admitted to an asylum. The remaining sisters lived with their mother for the duration of their lifetimes, as did Louis for the majority of his life. Pictured: The Contented Cat signed ‘Louis Wain.’ – bodycolour 11 x 9¼ in.. Sold for £5,250 ($8,022) against an estimate of £700 – £900 ($1,070 – $1,375) at Christies, London, July 2010. Wain was born with a cleft lip and the doctor gave his parents the orders that he should not be sent to school or taught until he was ten years old. As a youth, he was often truant from school, and spent much of his childhood wandering around London. Following this period, Louis studied at the West London School of Art and eventually became a teacher there for a short period. At the age of 20, Wain was left to support his mother and sisters after his father’s death. Pictured: A Louis Wain Pottery Model Of ‘The Laughing Cat’, Manufactured By Royal Staffordshire, Early 20th Century, modelled seated wearing a bow tie printed and painted marks 7½ in. (19.1 cm.) high. Sold for £563 ($1,018) at Christies, London, September 2008. Wain soon quit his teaching position to become a freelance artist, and in this role he achieved substantial success. He specialized in drawing animals and country scenes, and worked for several journals including the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, where he stayed for four years, and the Illustrated London News, beginning in 1886. Through the 1880s, Wain’s work included detailed illustrations of English country houses and estates, along with livestock he was commissioned to draw at agricultural shows. His work at this time includes a wide variety of animals, and he maintained his ability to draw creatures of all kinds throughout his lifetime. At one point, he hoped to make a living by drawing dog portraits. Pictured: An early 20th Century Amphora (Austrian) pottery figure of a cat in the “Cubist” manner designed by Louis Wain, the octagonal head and angular body decorated in yellow, orange and black on a turquoise ground, 10.5ins high x 9.5ins overall (green printed mark to base with registration No. 637132 and signed in black). Sold for £8200 at the Canterbury Auction Galleries, June 2008 a then record for a Louis Wain ceramic cat figure. At the age of 23, Wain married his sisters’ governess, Emily Richardson, who was ten years his senior (which was considered quite scandalous at the time), and moved with her to Hampstead in north London. Emily soon began to suffer from cancer, and died only three years after their marriage. It was during this period that Wain discovered the subject that would define his career. During her illness, Emily was comforted by their pet cat Peter, and Wain taught him tricks such as wearing spectacles and pretending to read in order to amuse his wife. He began to draw extensive sketches of the large black and white cat. He later wrote of Peter, “To him properly belongs the foundation of my career, the developments of my initial efforts, and the establishing of my work.” Peter can be recognized in many of Wain’s early published works. In 1886, Wain’s first drawing of anthropomorph ised cats was published in the Christmas issue of the Illustrated London News, titled A Kittens’ Christmas Party. The illustration depicted 150 cats, many of which resemble Peter, sending invitations, holding a ball, playing games, and making speeches over eleven panels. Still, the cats remain on all fours, unclothed, and without the variety of human-like expression that would characterize Wain’s work. Under the pseudonym George Henri Thompson, he illustrated numerous books for children by Clifton Bingham published by Ernest Nister. In subsequent years, Wain’s cats began to walk upright, smile broadly and use other exaggerated facial expressions, and wear sophisticated contemporary clothing. Wain’s illustrations showed cats playing musical instruments, serving tea, playing cards, fishing, smoking, and enjoying a night at the opera. Such anthropomorphic portrayals of animals were very popular in Victorian England, and were often found in prints, on greeting cards and in satirical illustrations such as those of John Tenniel. Pictured: The choristers signed ‘Louis Wain’ (lower left), watercolour and bodycolour, 7 x 9in. (17.8 x 22.8cm.). Sold for £7,050 ($9,976), Christies, London, December 2001. Wain was a prolific artist over the next thirty years, sometimes producing as many as several hundred drawings a year. He illustrated about one hundred children’s books, and his work appeared in papers, journals, and magazines, including the Louis Wain Annual, which ran from 1901 to 1915. His work was also regularly reproduced on picture postcards, and these are highly sought after by collectors today. In 1898 and 1911 he was chairman of the National Cat Club. Wain’s illustrations often parody human behavior, satirizing fads and fashions of the day. He wrote, “I take a sketch-book to a restaurant, or other public place, and draw the people in their different positions as cats, getting as near to their human characteristics as possible. This gives me doubly nature, and these studies I think [to be] my best humorous work.” Wain was involved with several animal charities, including the Governing Council of Our Dumb Friends League, the Society for the Protection of Cats, and the Anti-Vivisection Society. He was also active in the National Cat Club, acting as President and Chairman of the committee at times. He felt that he helped “to wipe out the contempt in which the cat has been held” in England. Pictured: The Cat in his Garden, 287 by 320mm., fine watercolour and gouache drawing, signed in lower right corner “Louis Wain”, mounted, framed and glazed. Sold for £15,000 at […]
Royal Dux Porcelain has been produced since 1853, in the small town of Duchcov, located about two hours to the North West of Prague, the capital city of the recently formed Czech Republic. From 1918 until December 31st 1992 the country was known as Czechoslovakia, situated behind the so called “Iron Curtain” from 1948 till 1990. As the Berlin Wall crumbled so did the hard line communist government in Czechoslovakia. The “Velvet Revolution” (so called because of its lack of blood-shed and violence) began in November 1989, in the streets of Prague, initiated by students, but supported by the entire country. In January of 1990 Vaclav Havel (the famous dissident writer) was elected president of a free Czechoslovakia. However, in the winter of 1992 the Czech and Slovak factions decided to split and form two separate countries, The Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic. This split has become known as the “Velvet Divorce”. Today the Czech Republic is a thriving country on the rocky road back to capitalism. Tourism is absolutely unbelievable, with millions of visitors per year. The country is very beautiful and full of historical buildings, castles and natural wonders with at least five different sites, (one of them being the city of Prague) protected by UNESCO. From Nazi occupation just before World War II, all the way through more than forty years of communist tyranny, the Royal Dux factory never stopped to produce the beautiful porcelain pieces, figures and figurines for which they are so famous. Now, no longer part of a huge government owned monopoly, Royal Dux Porcelain has now been fully privatized and is making great strides to return to its once impressive past. Although most “Westerners” don’t realize it, the short time span between World War I and World War II was all that was needed to give the Czechs a chance to become one of the five wealthiest and most industrialized countries in the world. This era is most often referred to as “The First Republic” and holds a fond place in the hearts of all Czechs. Before the Nazi invasion in 1938 the company had produced over 12,000 different molds and exported beautiful porcelain and faience figurines all around the world. The fall of the Iron Curtain has made it possible for all lovers of fine porcelain art to once again have access to the amazingly wide range of porcelain items that are produced at the Royal Dux factory. However the fall of the communist government in 1990 brought about many new and painful changes which have, at times put the company’s survival in peril. Changes in management and chaos followed the revolution and for a time no one was sure what was going to happen. With the lack of accountability always comes fraud and deception and the Royal Dux factory suffered its share. Huge amounts of inventory “mysteriously” disappeared to customers who just couldn’t be located and company assets went missing without a clue as to who could be the culprits. Now the company is in the hands of private owners who have an agenda to put the company back on its feet. The company is in the process of developing its own sales and marketing strategies, which until now were dictated by government owned trade and export companies located in Prague. At the present, some of the molds dating from before WWII are being brought out of the archives and being revamped for production. New decors and glazing techniques are being used, and the company is making plans to produce “Limited Edition” pieces and to begin concentrating more on the “Collectible” market. Fresh ideas are being examined by the new directors and those that are needed will be implemented as quickly as possible. With plans to attend this year’s “International Collectible Exposition” in Rosemont, Illinois, Royal Dux hopes to make a statement to collectors worldwide that Royal Dux porcelain, Royal Dux figurines, and Royal Dux figures will indeed take its rightful place among the world’s top collectibles. Royal Dux Porcelain Price Guide These three amazing Art Nouveau centers sold for 75,000 EUR at Balclis Auctions, Barcelona in 2013.
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 […]
The Della Robbia Pottery was established in Birkenhead in 1894 and took its name from the celebrated Italian renaissance sculptor Luca Della Robbia whose colourfully glazed creations had graced Florentine churches since the 15th century. This Merseyside Company was founded by Harold Rathbone and the sculptor Conrad Dressler at a time when the Birkenhead area was witnessing a dramatic influx of workers seeking employment in the shipbuilding industry. In 1820 the village of Birkenhead numbered 200, however by the time Messrs Rathbone and Dressler opened their doors for business the “town” boasted a population of close to 100,000 souls. Pictured: Della Robbia Chalice and cover decorated by Cassandia Annie Walker Harold Rathbone, (1858-1929), had the benefit of being a member of the wealthy Liverpool merchant family of that name – a name which to this day still figures prominently in the financial sector based on Merseyside. He was also a man of vision at a period in time that had begun to witness the emergence of the Arts and Crafts Movement. This radical cause was essentially a reaction against the products of debatable taste emerging from the factories and dark satanic mills of that machine age. In contrast the Movement’s mission was to re-establish the importance of hand crafted objects of unquestionable artistic merit at affordable prices, and consequently to re-affirm the position and importance of the craftsman or woman. Rathbone was unquestionably a man on such a mission and it was his aim to supply the growing wealthy classes setting up home on the southern shores of the river with beautiful hand crafted “art” pottery. He did not however limit his parameters to the domestic and soon began executing commissions for public buildings and churches – this was a time when the growth in church building exceeded that witnessed last during the 15th century. Rathbone has been described as a painter, designer and a poet. Pictured: Della Robbia two handled albarello decorated by Marianne de Caluwe after Peruginos 1902 His father Phillip Rathbone was not only the head of a wealthy and socially wellconnected family but also the Chairman of the Arts and Exhibitions Sub- Committee at Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery between 1886 and 1895. His son would have accompanied him to the studios and workshops of some of the most respected artists and craftsmen of that time and almost through a process of osmosis would have been influenced into recognising the talented and the brilliant in later years. The fact that the celebrated pre- Raphaelite artist William Holman Hunt painted his portrait gives a reasonable indication of the circles within which he made regular orbits. Add to this the non-conformist leanings of the Rathbone clan and you soon begin to appreciate that young Harold was, at least at an aesthetic level, also a man of his time. Here was also a man determined to achieve and maintain high artistic standards that within a short period of time attracted the patronage of Queen Victoria, the Prince and Princess of Wales and that great patron of the arts, Sarah Bernhardt. Outside the pottery he was able to call upon the services of such artistic luminaries as William Morris, Walter Crane, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Lord Leighton and not forgetting William Holman-Hunt. But it was inside the pottery that he was able to establish a team of talented designers and decorators that collectively provided the individual spark which ignited a range of wares that made strong use of incise carved (sgraffito) decoration complemented by colourful glazes. Subject matter tended to be dominated by floral and figural themes that also provided the staple for many of their contemporaries both in the United Kingdom and the United States. Rathbone was determined to provide a working environment that allowed for individual interest and dignity, which contrasted starkly with the harsh conditions and mindless toil personified by the Victorian factory system that was the lot of the working masses. These “Utopian” ideals attracted a loyal artistic workforce that included several lady decorators such as Cassandia Annie Walker, Ruth Bare, Emily Margaret Wood, Liz Wilkins and Annie Smith. Pictured: Della Robbia twin handled bottle vase decorated by Ruth Bare When it comes to value, size and quality of decoration is always an important factor, with collectors often paying a premium for portraits and Art Nouveau inspired subjects. All decorators tended to sign their work using a painted signature or monogram on the base of a pot near the incised ship trademark motif flanked by the letters D and R. In Conrad Dressler he had a co-director who was keen to establish the company’s credentials as a supplier of fine quality architectural pottery and who initially shared Rathbone’s artistic ideals. This was made manifest in a lecture Dressler gave to the Liverpool Ruskin Society in1896 titled “The Curse of Machinery”, which in all honesty fails to sit well on the epitaph of a man who in later years was to invent the revolutionary “Tunnel Kiln” that allowed for the continuous gas firing of tiles and pottery with great energy savings. Regrettably Dressler was unable to achieve any meaningful success and left the pottery in 1897. The name of the sculptor Carlo Manzoni, originally a native of Turin, is also synonymous with the Birkenhead venture, having opened his Hanley Granville Pottery in about 1894 with limited success and which appears to have terminated as the result of a disastrous fire. In 1898 he accepted the invitation to join the company and stayed until the pottery’s closure after which he continued to work in Birkenhead where he provided headstones and crosses until the need for the same with his death in 1910. Even so, Manzoni’s artistic contribution is difficult to determine, as only a few pieces appear to survive bearing the painted letter M. From all accounts this most mild mannered of men appears to have stoically endured Harold Rathbone’s apparent eccentricities and is credited with maintaining a presence that contributed artistically whilst helping to maintain a fragile solvency issue. As a result of this on-going problem, in 1900 Rathbone joined forces […]
Holly Hobbie was an artist specialising in drawing greetings cards, lending her name to the characters she drew, which were later issued in doll form. Pictured: 1975 Knickerbocker Holly Hobbie doll During the 1960s, people became intrigued by her designs featuring a little girl, facing sideways, dressed in a long patchwork frock, with a large bonnet totally obscuring her face. This pose tended to create an urge to see the expression which lurked beneath the brim. Grannies, especially, adored this nostalgia theme, imagining it was their granddaughter lurking under that floppy bonnet, and the whole concept happily coincided with the fashionable look of the day – long, floaty dresses, small prints, Laura Ashley, country style, femininity and pastel shades. Holly Hobbie created her designs for the American Greetings Card Company for many years, featuring children in idyllic settings, each illustrated by a motto such as ‘Life’s greatest blessing is a happy heart’, ‘Happiness is found in little things’ or ‘Start each day in a happy way’. The designs appeared not only on stationery items, but on products such as kitchen towels, oven gloves, plates, cups, aprons, bed linen, china ornaments, trays and, of course, as dozens of different dolls. Many of these were rag dolls, as befitting the nostalgia theme. Today, Holly Hobbie lives in Conway, Massachusetts, and is a successful author/illustrator of picture books featuring the adventures of two pigs called Toot and Puddle. Pictured: Tomy Party Days Holly Hobbie Dolls representing Holly Hobbie have been made by several companies over the years, including Knickerbocker, Tomy and, most recently, Ashton Drake. During the 1970s a Holly Hobbie made from a very soft thin rubbery vinyl was issued by the American Greetings Corp. This doll had barely-there features, a round head, straggley hair and tiny eyes. She looked rather strange. Knickerbocker created a whole range of rag dolls in various sizes, and, as well as Holly Hobbie, there were friends such as Amy, Heather, Carrie, Robby and Grandma. Amy tended to wear green, Heather pink or beige and Carrie, red. Robby was a little boy in blue striped dungarees, while Grandma, naturally, was an old lady doll. Pictured: Ashton Drake Holy Hobbie doll As well as the rag dolls, vinyl types were available – one unusual one stood just 6″ tall, but wore an enormous skirt. Underneath the skirt was a three-roomed dolls house, complete with Holly Hobbie-style furniture and accessories, such as a gramophone with a horn, a rocking chair, a butter churn, a kitchen dresser and a round table. Tomy introduced a range of Holly Hobbie dolls in 1989, featuring some beautiful rag types 16″ high, dressed in pastel-coloured dresses, each bearing a message such as ‘Make each day a sunshine day’ and ‘A gift from the heart is the best gift of all’. The box stated ‘Every day is a Holly day’. During the 1990s, Holly Hobbie was revamped again, this time by Knickerbocker, appearing as a vinyl, soft-bodied doll with a snub nose, cheeky smile and masses of curly hair. She wore a long patchwork frock and matching bonnet, available in several colourways. Smaller versions were sold too. The recent Ashton Drake issue of porcelain Holly Hobbie dolls was probably the most delightful representation of the character ever produced. Created by Dianna Effner, and standing 16″ high, they represented the four seasons. Autumn, the first to be released, showed the little girl in her famous patchwork dress and bonnet clutching a flowering twig. The next in the series, Summer, had Holly dressed in patriotic red, white and blue, holding the American Flag, while Winter had her in a red dress and Spring wore green. These dolls had delightful expressions – a combination of a shy smile and a cheeky grin – and the detailing on the costumes was excellent. Related Holly Hobbie Doll Features Greetings from Holly, Sarah & Betsey – feature on Holly Hobbie, Sarah Kay and Betsey Clark
For collectors of Royal Doulton, Leslie Harradine is a well known name having designed some of the most famous and iconic Doulton figures including the Balloon Seller, Scotties, Sunshine Girl and the popular Dickens Series. He was prolific and modelled figures for Doulton from the late 1920s to the 1950s, as well as initially designing vases for the Lambeth Art Studios. His first figure for Doulton was Contentment with model number HN389. In 1929 he created another model Contentment featuring a Mother and Child sleeping (model HN1323). Although known as Leslie Harradine he was born Arthur Leslie Harradine in Lambeth to parents Charles Percy and Jessie Harradine (nee Tealby) in 1887. He first joined the Doulton Lambeth studio as an apprentice in 1902 working under George Tinworth, whilst at the same time studying at the Camberwell School of Arts. He initially worked in the studios on vases and Toby jugs, but his main interest was in clay sculpture and the design of free standing figures. His designs came to the attention of Charles Noke who was Art Director at the time but as he was not able to model figures as much as he wanted or to start his own factory he actually left Doulton in 1912 to start a farm with his brother Percy in Canada. Farming proved difficult, but when possible Leslie continued to create and paint models from clay. In 1916 Leslie and his brother Percy left Canada for the Great War. He was injured and whilst in hospital he met his future wife Edith Denton whom he married in 1917, and the following year became a father to his first child Jessie. Leslie and his family moved back to England in 1918 with the intention of opening a studio in London. Shortly after his return Charles Noke offered Leslie a job as a figure designer at the Burslem. However, the position was refused but eventually he agreed to work on a freelance basis and in 1920 his Royal Doulton figure entitled Contentment was released. Harradine modelled and created figures for Royal Doulton on a freelance basis for over forty years. He had a way of working peculiar to him and probably only allowed because of his undeniable talent and genius – he would decide what to model and when to send those models in to the factory at Burslem, sometimes up to three at a time, on a monthly basis. It is said that the other designers and painters would all gather round eagerly when his monthly shipment was unpacked to see what he had “come up with this time”. Many iconic and popular models were created, as well as series of models including those already mentioned earlier in the feature the Balloon Seller, Scotties, Sunshine Girl and the popular Dickens Series but also figures from his rendition of The Beggars Opera, and the famous and slightly risque models of The Bather. Many of Harradine’s models stayed in production for many years but some only for a year or two. These models are often the rarest and sometimes the most valuable. Harradine’s last model for Doulton was The Beggar with a model number HN2175 and was released in 1956 and was produced until 1962. Arthur ‘Leslie’ Harradine died on 6 December 1965, in Gibraltar at age 78, leaving an amazing legacy of models and designs that makes him one of the world’s finest modellers. Related George Tinworth – The Greatest Doulton Lambeth Designer
During the Wartime years of the 1940s, and for a few years afterwards, books for adults and children alike were economy editions, due to paper shortages and restrictions.
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
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.
I first fell in love with USSR porcelain in the late 1960s – 1969, to be precise – when I purchased a small figurine of a badger. I loved it because it was so smooth, so tactile and was so different from the fussy, whimsical ornaments that were around at the time. Slowly, over the years, I added to my collection – birds, lion cubs, rabbits and squirrels. Most of these items bore stamps on their bases, the letters ‘USSR’, plus a mark rather like an ornate letter ‘L’ with three noughts and a backwards ‘3’. This was the mark of the Lomonosov company, which was founded in 1744, in St Petersburg, initially to make fine porcelain for the Russian Royal Family. It supplied other European Royal families too, and underwent several changes of name before settling on its present title. In the eighteenth century, during the reign of Catherine the Great, the institution was known as The Imperial Porcelain Factory. After the Revolution, it became the State Porcelain Works, and later was named Lomonosov after the founder of the Russian Academy of Science. The range of ceramics produced over the past 267 years is tremendous and includes vases, plates, dinner services, snuff boxes and numerous figurines. It wasn’t until the 1990s that I began to research the pieces that I owned, discovering in the process the enormous and exciting range of Russian ceramics. It was then that I found the ‘She-Bear and Cubs’. This vigorous sculpture depicts a seated, rather fierce bear, paws held protectively over a cradle containing twin cubs draped in an orange-red coverlet, and I think it must still be my favourite piece today. Unlike the other various animal pieces that I had, this animal figurine screamed ‘Russia’, from the bear subject through to the colouring. I found this piece at a local antiques centre for around £50, and I learnt that it dated from the 1950s. It now sells for three times as much. It’s a sturdy piece, not so smoothly modelled as the later items, but is full of character. I began to look for other 1950s’ pieces, and soon came across a delightful inkwell featuring two bear cubs eating a bowl of berries. One cub is greedily tipping the berries into his mouth, the other is impatiently waving a spoon as he waits for his turn. Between them is a tree-stump table, with another spoon on top. That spoon forms a handle, enabling the tabletop to be lifted off. Underneath is a small ceramic pot to hold the ink. Many of the 1950s’ USSR pieces are based on Russian folklore, such as the ‘Lion and the Hare’, the ‘Fox and the Beaver’, the ‘Goat with the Little Kids’ and the ‘Crane and the Fox’, and, of course, bears crop up quite a lot, too. Folklore depicts them as clumsy and not very clever; the tales often involving another creature outwitting the bear in the simplest of ways. The Lomonosov ‘Crane and the Fox’ piece is an inkwell; beneath the spoon and dish is hidden a small ceramic container for ink. The tale depicted is that of the fox asking the crane to dine, but providing a shallow plate so that her beak couldn’t take up the food. In return she asked him for a meal and put the food into a tall vessel that he couldn’t get his mouth into. Another story piece, the Lomonosov ‘Lion and the Hare’ is based on a fable in which the hare gets the lion to believe its reflection in a lake is another lion. A series of Lomonosov figurines that I particularly enjoy are the Eskimo or Yakutian children, such as the small boy gazing lovingly at a samoyed dog. The boy has shiny black hair and wears a warm embroidered coat, leggings and mittens. Other Yakut figures include a young girl with a book and a flower, and a girl holding a large sturgeon. Another favourite piece of mine is a Lomonosov figurine of a young Uzbek girl with a large basket. Her face is exquisitely painted, and the original sculpt was by G. S. Stolbova, who was famed in Russia for his sculpting. She wears a bright, striped robe in purple and orange, and is seated cross-legged, with the basket across her lap. Frequently, collectors concentrate on the Lomonosov animals as these are the easiest to obtain, and are still manufactured today. A vast menagerie can be acquired, such as dogs, birds, zebras, rabbits, cats, fish, racoons, squirrels, foxes, badgers, mammoths, chipmunks, giraffes and plenty more besides, all in that smooth, tactile, rounded flowing porcelain with soft, exquisitely-placed, naturalistic colouring. For instance, the tiger cub, five inches tall, is a warm, goldbrown, with the black stripes boldly painted, and excellent detailing of eyes, claws and muzzle spots, while the sleek, shapely wildcat, with flattened ears and narrowed eyes is a masterpiece of design. Painted warm grey, with white, black and ginger markings, he sits upright with his tail curved around his body, tip poised ready to twitch. The standing bear cub is a frequently found piece. Six inches high, he has his paws crossed in front, and his head tilted as though he is slightly apprehensive. This appealing bear is dark brown, with lighter brown highlights, and is finished in a glossy glaze. Sometimes, an older piece in a very similar pose is found. This bear cub has rounder ears, a smaller muzzle, white face and underparts, and though lacking the smooth glossy finish of the later model, has an endearing, innocent expression. Standing bears such as these can still be found for £20 or so. It’s no wonder that so many people collect Russian bears – there are so many different models, both naturalistic and humorous. Although Lomonosov is the largest and, perhaps, best known of the Russian porcelain companies, there are many others. Pieces by Kanakova, Dulevo, Verbilki, Seesert, Kuznetsov, Kiev, Gzhel and Polonye are frequently found, and all these companies […]