Royal Worcester Porcelain: Snippet Of The Day Number Three
When I decided to write a mini blog on Royal Worcester Porcelain, it was with some trepidation, as it has such a long and interesting history! I’m not sure I can do such an iconic company justice with just a few hundred words!
The company was founded back in 1751 by Dr John Wall (a Physician) and William Davis (an apothecary). They developed a method for producing porcelain and obtained investment to purchase a factory at Warmstry House, Worcester, England.
Royal Worcester porcelain is believed to be the oldest or second oldest remaining English porcelain brand still in existence today. Royal Crown Derby was established about the same time, so there is some debate as to which came first!
Early production at the Royal Worcester factory was rather haphazard. Significant improvements were made after the purchase of Benjamin Lund’s Bristol company, which brought additional technical expertise in to the company.
Worcester also obtained licences to mine soapstone in Cornwall. Worcester soapstone porcelain did not crack when boiling water was poured into it. This gave Worcester a significant advantage over other manufacturers.
The pottery have had some wonderful designers, potters, and artists through the decades. Here are a few of my favourite 19th and 20th Century landscape and animal painters. Many of these pieces sell for thousands of pounds!
The most enduring pattern produced by the porcelain manufacturer is “Evesham Gold.” First produced in 1961, it is still manufactured today. The pattern was named after the Vale of Evesham, an area of outstanding natural beauty in Worcestershire, England and famed for it’s autumnal fruits, which are depicted on the porcelain.
In 1976, Royal Worcester merged with Spode and production switched to factories in Stoke and abroad. The company has been part of the Portmeirion Pottery Group (Stoke- on- Trent) since 2009. Unfortunately, both the Royal Worcester and Spode Manufacturing facilities were shut down.
The Royal Worcester Museum is the only part of Royal Worcester left. The museum is currently closed for refurbishment but is well worth a visit! It was originally named after Charles William Dyson Perrins, whom took ownership of the Worcester factory in 1927. If that name sounds familiar it will be to those whom love Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce!
Today, is the first of December, and I wanted to celebrate the start of advent with you by sharing a post entitled All I Want For Christmas Is Memories. Intrigued? Then please continue reading!
What does Christmas mean to you?
I don’t think it really matters where you are in the World, or what faith, as many people now celebrate Christmas by exchanging gifts with loved ones. It is a time when families get together, put disagreements aside (hopefully!), for one day and focus on one another and spread some ‘Good Will’ to most people you come across. Even in the holiday traffic jams and travel chaos, people seems to have more patience and tolerance at this time of year!
Contrary to popular opinion amongst some children and adults, the 25th December isn’t about celebrating the birth of Father Christmas but, for Christians, the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. Whether or not you have faith, I think it is striking that 2000 years after His birth people are still celebrating. Or is it?
Most theologists agree that Christ wasn’t born on the 25th December, so why do we celebrate on this day? In fact, early Christians only celebrated Easter.
One of the theories is that the date was set to coincide with the Roman festival of Juliana around the time of the winter solstice (~ 21st December in the Northern Hemisphere). Or the birth of the Roman sun god, Mithra, on the 25th December.
Christianity only came permanently to the shores of the, then pagan, British Isles in the 4th-6th Centuries.
How Do You Celebrate Christmas?
Many parts of Europe, the Commonwealth, and USA have similar traditions during the festive season, but it is the country specific differences which I love hearing about.
Most of us have a gift giver who’s name differs from country to country including; St Nicholas (many parts of Europe), Kris Kringle, Father Christmas (UK), and Santa Claus (U.S and Canada). Many of these Christmas personifications appeared during mediaeval times in Europe. At this stage, Christmas was predominantly celebrated by adults. It wasn’t until Victorian times, at least in the UK, that Father Christmas appeared in the guise we now know him today and started giving gifts to children. He often wore a green cloak too!
Christmas trees were brought to the UK in the 1830s. They were popularised by Prince Albert, husband to Queen Victoria and born in Germany. In 1848, he had one put up and decorated in Windsor Castle. The rest is history!
The tradition of Yule trees at Christmas had been around in most of Northern Europe from the 1400s but in Germany there was a special legend to celebrate. The folklore said that the Christ Child arrived on a Forester’s door step on Christmas Eve, as a poor, cold, boy. The forester, though poor himself, took the boy in and gave Him food, shelter and a bed. On Christmas morning, the boy appeared as the Christ Child with a choir of angels. He thanked the forester for looking after Him by breaking a branch off a fir tree and bringing it in to the home for the fire.
One UK tradition that always intrigued me is ‘Boxing Day,’ the 26th December or St Stephen’s Day. The name is said to be derived from the custom of young boys collecting money in clay boxes after the Church service on the day after Christmas. Once full, the boxes were broken and the money distributed to the needy.
The arrival of the U.S gift giver, Santa Claus, (supposedly derived from the Dutch word for St Nicholas (Sinterklaas), dates back to the 17th Century. But the Santa Claus, whom lives in the North Pole, wears a red suit, and has a sleigh with reindeer, didn’t arrive in the U.S until 1863 following notable appearances in literature from the early 1800s. The UK’s Father Christmas and the U.S Santa Claus are now essentially the same person.
There are lots of lovely country specific traditions in mainland Europe but one I particularly like is the Santa Lucia ceremony, celebrated on the 13th December, in Sweden. St Lucia was a Christian virgin martyred for her beliefs in the 4th Century. The youngest female in the family dresses as Santa Lucia; usually with an evergreen crown with candles, a white robe and red sash. She then participates in a candlelit procession with other girls , whom are accompanied by ‘star boys’ in white shirts and pointed hats. It is such a simple ceremony but very poignant and beautiful on a cold, snowy, day.
What does Christmas Mean To Me?
To me, Christmas is about family memories. One of my earliest Christmas memories was as a 4-year old, just a few days before Christmas, when I was sat with my maternal grandmother watching Hansel and Gretel on the TV. I was worried that it wasn’t going to snow, and if it didn’t snow then how would Father Christmas use his sleigh? My Grandmother went over to her dresser and pulled out a small jewellery box and handed it to me.
‘Open it and make a wish’, she said.
I tentatively opened the box, it was quite big in my small hands, and inside was this wonderful Christmas tree brooch. With eyes sparking, I laid the brooch on the palm of my hand, closed my eyes and made a wish. I then put the brooch back in the box and returned it to the dresser drawer.
Within 5 minutes it started to snow! I think you can guess what I wished for and why that memory will never fade!
My Grandmother died a couple of years later, and I pleaded to be allowed to keep the brooch after fervently promising that I would always look after it. I was given the brooch and still have it to this day. I wear it at this time of the year, every year.
To me, this is what Christmas is all about. I don’t remember what my Gran gave me as a present, possibly a doll. The gift really does’t matter. What she did create was a wonderful memory of Christmas and I hope that it creates notable moments for you all too!
The Christmas Tree Brooch
As I was thinking of writing this blog a few days ago. I went and retrieved the Christmas Tree brooch from its resting place and was intrigued to know more about it.
The costume jewellery brooch measures 7cm (2.8″) x 4cm (1.6″). It was bought in the 1950s (we think!) for my Grandmother (a housekeeper for a wealthy industrialist), as a Christmas gift from Saks, 5th Avenue (see the non-returnable sticker). I wasn’t sure about the back mark impressed on the plant pot at the back of the brooch, so I turned to the Vintage and Antiques Community on Google+ for their help. It didn’t take long before several members of the community came back to me!
Originals by Robert which was part of The Fashioncraft Jewelry Co. NYC 1942 to 1979 founded by “Robert” Levy, David Jaffe and Irving Landsman.
The copyright mark makes it post 1955.
Thanks once again to my wonderful guest blogger, Eiffion, owner ofhttps://www.collectibulldogs.com, for his light hearted blog about Noddy and Bonnie who really fit Eiffion’s blog title of Mischievous should be plural for feline.
Eiffion is a dedicated collector of all sorts of things related to English Bulldogs, and also has an English Bulldog blog at collectibulldogs.com. His World class collection of Bulldog ephemera is museum listed and has even made its way into a display in Brighton Museum, UK. Quite a feat!
Eiffion isn’t just a lover of bulldogs, he is also pretty fond of felines too! Read the following blog to find out more.
The goodbye that never was
Hi there readers of Mullard Antiques blog articles, it’s me, Eiffion, the bulldog fella. I wrote a blog for you guys n gals a while back and I’m guest posting again. So, Hi! How are you all?
I thought I’d make a change from bulldogs and talk about cats instead. Two cats in particular and both close to myself and my family but alas one is not here anymore, as the header suggests we lost one cat a few summers ago and never knew what happened to him. He just disappeared.
Noddy (our first cat) was a brazen yet chilled out cat that loved nothing better than to either sunbathe out on the window sill winding up the pigeons or on a hot day he would be outside in the middle of the pavement licking where cats lick and not scared of any dog that walked past.
We had this friend of ours for years, he was our first kitten as a family and the day he went missing I remember myself crying because my little girl was so upset. I put up a reward and defied the council twice by putting up bill boards outside the home but it wasn’t to be. We looked everywhere. In a city that never sleeps anything could of happened to Noddy and, even though I want my daughter to experience the responsibility of owning an animal, I feel something was taken from her in the sense she felt loss but unlike past pets couldn’t properly say goodbye.
The fact I’m a doggie fella is neither here nor there when it came to Noddy, he was one in a million. I mean what cat comes for walks, often miles, just to be with the dog. People used to stop and take pictures the vision was so cute. We have heard stories of cats reappearing months sometimes years after going missing but I have, and had, the sinking feeling that we may never see Noddy again nor ever have another cat like him.
I’d like to dedicate this article to Noddy if I may and wish him all the meows in the world whether this one or where cats go after. Get ready here comes trouble. So if Noddy had of gone by say mis – responsibility through the vets I wouldn’t have allowed my daughter the luxury of a second cat, and some may think that sounds a bit harsh, but as parents you must know when we agree to our kids having pets whom takes on most of the chores… hmmm.
Our daughter was anxious that the same thing would happen again if she was to get another cat and ironically about 6 months later a kitten popped up on Facebook and was classed as a house cat. I read this up and realised it is frowned upon but we hadn’t made the cat that way and it seemed ideal to have this kitten as a pet. We went to get the kitten from a ladies home and the kitten meowed from its old home right till we got to ours and as soon as we were in she went quiet.
Folks meet Bonnie the most aggravating The most mischievous The most aghhhh ball of cuteness in the feline world.
We all live in our homes day-to-day, most have routines and, I swear, all you hear from my 15 year old whom just normally answers anything with a grunt or ‘I don’t know’ is constantly telling off the cat. I will use cat now as Bonnie is a couple of years old now and I swear she’s got a dreamies addiction (I think all cats have, Eiffion! You ought to see ours when the dreamies appear. I would love to know what is in them to make them so addictive!)
I do not know where to start with her naughtiness, let’s start with just yesterday. I’m insomniac so needed some rest. No one else was here so Bonnie decided to get a whole cupboards worth of clean washing out whilst I was asleep.
Speaking of asleep this next one even made me giggle at first. She must have started with my wife first as it was her that noticed cat fur on her lips and sometimes in her mouth, I came home late one night from evening with the lads and I caught Bonnie in the act, she was sitting on my wife’s chest with one paw trying to open her mouth. We thought, weird cat!
Hands, hands, hands, it’s all about the hands. Bonnie is such a spoilt cat she’s craving attention and in her mind when you’re in bed and she cannot find your hands she goes looking for them. Funny how she thinks they maybe down the throats! Lol! I now play peek a hand with her so she knows where our hands go.
Who needs a scratch post when expensive leather will do? I will be the first to admit I am careful with my income. My only extravagance is my daughter and, at the age of 15, has a better, more grown up, bedroom than is needed. Unlucky for me, my daughter has expensive taste! The crowning glory of her new bedroom was a bed even more luxurious than ours!!!
My wife took me in the other day and OMG Bonnie has taken upon herself NOT to use the posts provided but the beautiful suede coloured leather that covers my daughters bed. I do not feel angry towards Bonnie, she spends a few hours a day on her own or with me, if the dog’s not around, whilst my daughter attends her education, so I understand the craving of attention. This would be easily accomplished if only Bonnie would let somebody pick her up, that way she can be made a fuss of, played with and hopefully knacker her out but, ever since we got her she’s hated a pick up and this, somehow, was how she was raised before we got her.
Not long now…
So there’s the spoilt little fur ball from selective eating to constant attention seeking but she really takes the biscuit when she decides to re arrange our home. So far, this naughty nature is confined to our daughter’s bedroom and the linen from our room. You see it on You Tube all the time where cats sit there and out of the blue knock of an object for no reason other than to annoy you: lol.
Bonnie takes this to a whole new level in my daughters room, as stated “Bonnie, no” isn’t just day time but can be all hours of the night! She starts with the smaller drawers batting what she can out and onto the floor before playing football getting bored and on to emptying her larger drawers.
I do not want to jinx myself but with a cat like Bonnie, and a world class ultra expensive collection, it’s only time before she gives me the same treatment and God forbid should one or any of my expensive breakables hit the floor I think I would cry…
Touch wood, as we say in the UK, and hopefully that day never arises.
Lastly and until next time. Well that’s my definition of trouble all packed up in a ball of cuteness and I still giggle when I see Bonnie’s tail going along the other side of the coffee table. Don’t know why, it’s just funny!
If I’m invited back (course you will be Eiffion!) I’ll tell you all about Wiggles, our bulldog, and the antics she gets up to just to have as lazy a life as possible.
Stay safe and be kind to one another folks and to any collectors keep up with your passions collecting is great.
Her hair is soft and her Meow is ever so sweet
From under your legs to preening your sheet
Lucky with living thanks to those sure feet
The cuteness of felines we have is like a treat.
Bonnie looks so cute and sweet you wouldn’t believe she gets up to all these antics unless you are a fellow cat owner!
If you love Eiffion’s blog, then please read his other guest blogs by clicking on the links at the top of this blog or the following links:-
What is a Wall Pocket Vase? An Introduction To Wall Pockets
What Is A Wall Pocket Vase? Today, we probably think of them as a flat backed ceramic vase, which can be wall mounted and filled with flowers but they are much more versatile than this.
A wall pocket is not to be confused with a:
Wall sconce, which is effectively a wall light or a receptacle for holding a light e.g. candles or, these days, electrical wires.
Wall plaque athin,flatplateortabletofmetal or porcelain intended for use as ornament.
Wall pockets date back many centuries to when they were made out of cloth or wood. In fact, they are an early form of storage for those things you wouldn’t want to lose if you hadn’t the luxury of a chest of drawers or cupboards!
Cloth pockets stored things like scissors, needles and thread. Prior to the 17th Century, wooden wall pockets became popular for holding pipes, spills, candles, matches and eating utensils. Even today, you will often see a mounted wooden candle box holder in a church or stately home. Some of these may be modern reproductions but there are many antiques out there too!
It wasn’t until the 18th century that we first saw stylish porcelain wall pocket vases with the arrival of the potteries in UK and abroad.
Most of these early pottery wall pockets were just too expensive for many people but, during the industrial revolution, cheaper methods of making ceramics were introduced, and the popularity of these wonderful objects just exploded.
Most potteries and manufacturers produced a version of a wall pocket including:
UK potteries: too numerous to mention e.g. Bretby, Royal Worcester, Wedgwood, Royal Doulton, Grays, Crown Devon, SylvaC, Arthur Wood.
U.S.A e.g. Roseville, whom produced wall pockets in the form of art vases which are now highly prized.
Japan e.g Noritake.
Germany e.g. Meissen, Dresden
This lasted until about the 1960s when their popularity started to decline as fashions in homes changed. I blame the arrival of stores like Habitat with their range of more affordable, must have, home designs: only joking!
Wall pockets can be found in all sorts of shapes and sizes from people, characters from books, musical instruments, hats, clothing, shoes, household objects, animals, birds, houses, seashells, fantasy/ mythical/ biblical creatures, flora and fauna. In fact, just about anything you can think of! Sizes can vary from small, 5-10cm (2-4 inches), to over 30cm (approx. 1 foot).
Manufacturers didn’t just stop at using ceramics either. Wall pockets were also made out of glass, wood, metal, cloth and plastic.
There are not many survivors from this era as they had a habit of falling off walls… Just look what was used to hang this Aldridge Easter Bonnet shaped Wall pocket!
Prices for antique and vintage wall pockets vary from just a few pounds to 1000s of pounds for some of the rarest designs.
They had, and still have, a multitude of uses including displaying fresh and dried flowers, living plants, herbs, storing soap bars, pan scrubs, hair and tooth brushes, filing papers, and house keys. I even heard of one lady who bought a vintage mouse shaped pocket vase and kept her pet mouse in it. The mouse was able to run up and down the flocked wall paper to its house whenever he pleased…. Ugh!
Wall pockets are still made today and from all sorts of materials and called by a range of names e.g. wall planters, holders, racks but rarely pockets or even just vases. They include reproductions of vintage and antique wall pockets, sometimes using the original moulds, to glass test tubes, holding a single flower stem or herbs, with a suction cup to enable you to stick it on to a window.
In fact upcycling of old light bulbs and chemical glassware has led to a whole range of wonderful wall mounted vases and holders. Have a look on Etsy and Amazon if you need some ideas!
Love them or hate them, these versatile household items have been with us for centuries and are here to stay!
Vintage and Antique Pin Cushion Lady Porcelain Half Dolls- What are they?
I have always been a fan of pin cushion ladies or half-dolls with their delicate features and vibrant colours.
I remember, as a small child, my Granny having one attached to a huge patchwork skirt, which she used as a tea cosy over the enormous brown earthenware family, 10-cup, teapot. It was so heavy when filled that you couldn’t lift it! You just tipped it to pour!
The tea was always made from tea leaves and she used sterilised milk, which smelt and tasted absolutely disgusting! It’s no wonder that I prefer to drink coffee. Anyway, I digress….
Pincushion dolls are not really dolls. They were mainly used to show off your needlework skills, including embroidery, bead knitting, cross stitch, embroidery, quilting and patchwork. They are often referred to as “half-doll.”
The top half of each doll is made of porcelain and the bottom edge has several holes for the thread. This enabled you to stitch the half-doll on to a voluminous fabric skirt.
The finished figure was used to cover a hot pot of tea, (as already mentioned) but you can also find them covering a powder puff, pincushion, broom, brush (as in the image below), loo roll or lamps, and were also used as flower frogs or just to sit on shelves or trinket boxes.
They were made in sizes from less than an inch (2.5cm) to over 9 inches (22.9cm) high. The one in the following image is only 4cm (1.6″) in height.
Pin cushion dolls were often hand-painted and date from the mid to late 19th century, to the mid 20th Century. Unfortunately, many bear no back mark or are just marked ‘Foreign’.
The finest half-dolls were made in Germany from renowned manufacturers such as Ernest Bohne Söhne (EBS). Reproductions are made to this day using some of the original moulds. The original EBS were slightly different in that they attached to wire frames, and hence their bases were solid and not hollow like the reproductions.
Other notable makers include W.M Goebel, Dressel & Kister, Heubach & Lichte, and Sitzendorfer. The figurines ranged from bathing beauties, princesses and Queens, flower sellers, and ladies with pompadours. Some of the more unusual half-dolls are highly prized by collectors and can command quite high prices.
The half-dolls make great display pieces with their lovely colours and finery. I have been half-tempted to start collecting the reproduction half-dolls but I have resisted, so far….
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