Tuesday, May 26, 2009
For antique creamware collectors, this issue also has a small ad for a blue feather edge covered tureen with undertray and ladle. The dealer had a set of 64 pieces and wouldn't it be interesting to know where it is now! You can't miss this cover, green with pink romantic Staffordshire figurines - very much a Valentine look for the February issue. These old issues are fun to look for in antiques shops and malls. Take your list with you when you shop!
Sunday, May 24, 2009
THE WEDGWOOD MEDALLION
By Emily Beatrix Coursolles Jones, Published in London by Chatto & Windus, 1922
Scouting the internet one day, I found this little volume on eBay from a Welsh seller. He was honest that it wasn’t in the best condition, but it is hard-bound and the pages are all intact. Having no pre-conceived idea of its content or subject really, I dug right in. It takes a number of chapters to arrive at the first mention of the Wedgwood medallions collected by the father of some of the main characters. The symbolism comes out as he gives the medallions away to the fiancée of one of his nephews. The book is a love story, very Victorian in style, very much a “coming of age” story. Sweet, innocent people leading sweet, innocent lives. The main character, a young girl living a cloistered life with her mother & sisters on the Devon coast of England, discovers love when a group of young men vacation near her home one summer. She meets one of them and falls in love, but in her own way loves all of them. In the end things change, but the circle remains intact. Her maturation from child frolicking on the beach to young Englishwoman living on her own in London is traced through the adventures of her new-found friends, their loves, lives, tribulations and family ties and her own discovery of the meaning of love.
The Wedgwood medallions owned by her uncle-in-law-to-be mesmerize her and many others in the family. Her fiancée’s sister has already married into the family and has been given a doublet made from two of the small medallions, sometimes called cameos in today’s world. The owner of the medallions sees them as small works of art, not different from many Wedgwood collectors even today. The star of the story is named Sophie which will help clarify the following quote:
‘Come here, little Sophie,' said Mr. Watergate with a lightening of his solemnity, as he took out a large, flat jewel-case, 'and you shall see your prototype.’
She rose;...to her host’s side. He displayed his treasures-a double row of little Wedgwood medallions, some round, some square; and one blank space,in the puckered velvet of their bed. ‘Here were Euterpe and Terpsichore you see; Enid has them as a locket. And here is the lady tying her sandal, and her companion.’
Sophie, fascinated, leaning closer, saw, on the background of clear, definite, yet delicate blue, the tiny white figure of the Grecian Sophie and on the reverse of the medallion that of a young man, standing upright, with both arms raised to tie the fillet round his head.
‘Here, you see’, he pursued after a moment, 'is another pair; Hebe and Hermes, cup-bearer and messenger to the gods of Greece-and, subsequently, of Rome. That finishes the pairs; the rest are single.’
‘I think they are perfectly lovely....they are so complete. Aren’t they? That, little Sophie, is Art. Completion. You recognize, and yet you are startled...shall I give you that fillet-holding swain, and the lady whose sandal he is not worthy to unloose?’
Further along in the story we hear a commentary by one of his sons:
“Yes; those Wedgwood plaques, for instance-father admires them, of course; but half the excitement about them is because he inherited them from his father, with a lot of the Hepplewhite and Chippendale and William-and-Mary furniture. It’s not so much as works of art that he worships them as because they are heirlooms, and symbols of his solid position in society- honest back-bone of England, patron of the arts, father of a family, and so on”
There is more symbolism, but I’ll let each reader come to his or her own conclusion. Don’t expect a rousing adventure story here, if it were made into a movie, it would definitely be called a “chick flick”!
This book can presently be found in a few libraries around the country, to wit: Chicago Univ., Northwestern, Miami U, Ohio, Cincinnati Pub Library, Milwaukee Co. Library Sys., Western Mich U., Ohio State, UAB Sterne Library, Birmingham, U Michigan, Minneapolis Pub Lib, Atlanta Pub Lib, Cleveland State U Lib, Cleveland Pub Lib, Texas A & M, Smith, Cal State, Duke U, Los Angeles Public Library, Whittier College, CA.
It’s a small compact volume, of course bound in a slate blue color. Enjoy!
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Martha Stewart Living for December 2008 - Page 54 - gorgeous photo of two plates of different patterns beautifully blended - Queen's Shape under an antique laurel leaf pattern...much like Ceres.
Page 68 sports more similar patterns and page 72 shows off two very old Queen's Ware patterns with great recipes! The piece de resistance however, is page 98, an article entitled Cameo Appearances, where you can learn to make decorations for a cake or your tree in the Wedgwood jasper image. THIS issue would be worth the trouble to get for all you gals who love to do Martha Stewart activities for the holidays and have a passion for Wedgwood. Page 168 isn't to be missed either, with its great photos of a selection of green glazeware, a 6 page article full of photos. Many people mis-describe green glazeware as majolica, but according to the experts it's not, it's a class of its own. Whatever we call it, it's beautiful and still popular and in vogue today!
Martha Stewart Living for May 2008 - This issue which stresses color and its effect on our lives also sports a great article about tea pots (in many colors of course), to include a great photo of two Wedgwood examples, one of which we have in stock currently in two different colors.
The Magazine Antiques for December, 2008 - One of Leo Kaplan's elegant and colorful half page ads showing a pair of vases with Lady Templeton sprigging. The Kaplan ads in TMA are frequently Wedgwood items, but always gorgeous ads!
Bonham Auction House magazine Ceramics & Glass for Winter/Spring 2008 illustrates a Wedgwood portrait medallion of Captain Cook from the Lord Hirst Collection, sold on 6 Jun 2007 for 7,440 GBPs and an encaustic painted plaque, c1770, also from the Hirst Collection for a whopping 31,200 GBPs....a lot of money in any currency!
The Magazine Antiques for February, 2008 - Beautiful coverful of blue & white plates and article about American china manufacturer Bonnin & Morris. Also illustrated is my favorite black & white jasper engine-turned covered vase, in the holdings of the UBS Art Gallery, New York City. There is also a good amount of information and plenty of pix about Massachusetts samplers and a gorgeously illustrated article about one of my all-time favorite cities, Key West.
The American Heritage Society's AMERICANA Magazine is always full of interesting articles on a multitude of antiques subjects. The March 1977 issue brings news of the restoration of Gadsby's Tavern in Washington, DC, the site of a Wedgwood exhibition in 2002. Many of our Wedgwood fans in the DC area still enjoy this venue. An excellent catalog from the exhibition was prepared but is not longer available unless one were to be found through a used book dealer or such. The Gadsby's Houdin bust of Washington by Wedgwood is pictured in the article which has other pictures of the Tavern. There is a very interesting and timely article on collecting prints of Abraham Lincoln, an article about the still interesting town of New Harmony, IN, spongeware, antique roses, harpischords, maple sugaring and several other interesting subjects.
May 19 - While doing research for an appraisal, I came upon an article inserted into an old Staffordshire pottery book which at one time belonged to Elizabeth Chellis & Elizabeth was well-known for her notes and addenda!. It's a short poem entitled "Stafford Canal":
Where lichened locks all dripping cool
So deeply store their limpid pool,
Gay-painted barges dream & drowse
In soft shadows of haymows.
And by the inn with open door
Old bargemen speak of water lores,
Crews or cargoes, miles per day,
Copper bars, and bales of hay.
While off in distant growing gloom
I see dark massive Wrekin [large hill in Shropshire] loom
Low lightning-lit in Shropshire sky,
An anchored cloud as night flows by. R. N. T.
Wonder if this is how Josiah I thought about the Canal~~it certainly caught Elizabeth's sharp eye.
May 19 - another article, dated 4 Feb 1947, from Elizabeth's book and so timely even today: "Hensley [sic] Wedgwood...arrived in this country on a business trip. He was interviewed by a group of ...writers about the manufacture & sale of Wedgwood. One interviewer noticed that in his lapel he wore a tiny pin on which was the letter "E". When asked if this was a British award, he answered, 'It's there to remind people about the correct spelling of my name - that there's only one "E" in Wedgwood.'" Hensleigh is no doubt spinning in his grave.....
They also paid a visit to the Corning Museum of Glass in New York and of course came away enthralled with the glass Portland Vase held there. The photo shows side by side a Wedgwood Jasper Portland Vase & the cameo glass version.
The big black plaque by which Al & Adele stand is the VERY famous black basalt plaque made for Beeshy's Department Store.
Peter Kaellgren, Ph.D., Curator of Decorative Arts at the Royal Ontario Museum, treated Al & Adele to a great day of visiting and viewing at the ROM. Thanks to A & A for sharing their adventures with us!
May 7 - Somehow we didn't get the video of the balloon ceremony and interview with Lord Wedgwood at Barlaston on May Day, but thanks to Adele Barnett of WSWDC, we have it now! GO HERE to see the short video about the celebration of the Wedgwood Company's 250th birthday at the factory.