Thursday, 20 February 2014

BBC Antiques Road Trip 24th February 2014

Charles Hanson is a character alright and the last time he came to my shop with the BBC Antiques Road Trip, it was funny.
 I couldn't resist taking the Charles out of Hanson and he is a good sport to have run with it.
All the wit and sarcasm was cut.
 They certainly wont show the damage he caused when he backed his car into a structural post in the garage.
It went on air 24th February.
 May be worth a look.

The crew were well entertained with Charles clowning around with his mothers hat on.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Save The Curzon-Old Swan Liverpool

This is a decent building a brick built Art Deco block that should not be demolished to make do for some B&Q shed that will only last 10 years.
We have yet to quantify all the 1930’s buildings in the city.
This is a really nice one that we should not let go.

We tend to think of saving old buildings like the Georgian or Victorian ones Only a few decades ago that these period properties were being demolished hand over fist and it took a while for attitudes to shift, when people started realising that the more that are lost the more we will regret it.

Ex Councillor Jan Clein has whose ward was Greenbank has expressed an interest in this strange planning application to demolish a decent Art Deco stylised structure.

Can we trust the Liverpool Conservation Office to respect this style of architecture when they cant even protect the Georgian. It may be hard.

It may have been mucked around with and had some naff shop signs and frontages slotted in. But this can all be put right.

The Futurist and the ABC on Lime Street are also at peril.

Does anyone care?

Save The Curzon.   Application No: 14PM/0257 Case Officer/Team: City North
Ward: Old Swan
To demolish former Cinema building.

Location: Applicant: Applicant Address: Agent (if any): Agent Address

599-607 Prescot TJ Morris Portal Way Quod Ingeni Building
Road Limited Liverpool 17 Broadwick Street
Liverpool L11 0JA London
L13 5XA W1F 0AX

See Also  

Friday, 14 February 2014

Big In Japan-My Shop Is Featured........In Japan.

Following the visit of a Japanese film crew late last year the programme Europe;Scenery of Water (yes that was the title) went out  on BS Japan.
Japans Judith Chalmers was doing the travel programme. She even bought something a rather nice vase with which had been painted well with a slightly oriental lady.
 Liverpool looks great the shop is featured at 00:26minutes  into the video and is on for about 10 minutes.
I may be dubbed. I even told a joke that I shouldn't have, when she asked me where I was born.
"Ten minutes from Liverpool F.C's ground in Anfield" I said. "I learnt to know the score from the crowds reaction. nil. Hoorayyyy.....two nil.....Hoorray .....three nil, although it could be confusing when the meat pies arrived".
 To my amazement and relief, the crew all fell about laughing which is more than I can say happens when I tell it in Liverpool.

 I try to talk up Liverpool pottery and Herculaneum to be precise. Well someone has to do it, as Liverpool museums have given up on it.

 Liverpool Vision have put it on their You Tube channel

There you go..........Big in Japan watch it here

Thursday, 6 February 2014


Peter Hyland called in today with a copy of his new book ‘THE DELLA ROBBIA POTTERY’

I had given him an image of a piece that I consider the best piece of Della Robbia that I have seen. I bought it in France.

Peter wrote the book The HERCULANEUM POTTERY Liverpool’s Forgotten Glory.

My image was not as high resolution as he needed for publication, which is a shame, but there you go. I love it.

The book is enriched with illustrations and on first glance it looks extremely comprehensive.
Della Robbia had a brief lifespan from 1894-1906. It was founded by Harold Rathbone.
Walter Crane attended a VIP ceremony at the Walker Art Gallery on 10th February 1894 when the prominent speaker Sir William Forwood spoke of the need to keep tradition with pottery and the applied arts on Merseyside. And he said he is pleased to think that Mr Rathbone and some members of his family had already made a departure in that direction.
In the same month Della Robbia opened.

You have to ask in retrospect why a pottery was formed, to produce wares of an antique Italian tradition than of a thrusting enterprise in a modern age.

Arts and Crafts had swept the country and we see at this time the same principles being laid down in numerous potteries the length and breath of the British Isles.
Liberty sold Della Robbia.

The Birkenhead based pottery had a retail outlet in Berry Street Liverpool.

Some of its pottery ladies would be trained at the Art Sheds under the influence of Herbert MacNair and his wife Francis MacDonald who were half of the Glasgow Four. The others being Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Margaret MacDonald.

CRM would submit a design for the proposed Anglican Cathedral.

Cassandra Annie Walker who is recognised as one of the top pottery ladies at Della Robbia must have fell under the influence of The Glasgow Style.

Her designs for the cover page of The Sphinx certainly bear that out.

That style would be swept away by Charles Reilly at the Liverpool School. He hated Art Nouveau and led the city into a Beaux Arts style, not only in his architectural teaching but also in the practice of applied arts and decoration.

The Della Robbia covers such a small period in the development of art and architecture on Merseyside, slightly idealised with sentimentality and rustic ideals.

This would be swept away with the industrial scale killing in the Great War that would employ methods of mass production that would later be employed in the domestic manufacture of almost everything.

Though it closed in 1906 we see through the beginnings of Della Robbia a microcosm of society and its ideals.

Della Robbia prices have been on the increase for a while now, but beware, as a potter, I see it as some of the worst pottery that should not have been let out of the workshops…and some of the best.

The pottery is an oxymoron of itself.

My personal opinion is that its rustic antique style is hiding, on a far too often occasion, bad workmanship.

Yet ‘Boy and Lanthorn’ a panel by Conrad Dressler which was exhibited at the Walker Art Gallery in 1895 is of the highest quality in design and workmanship.

Frank Watkin was the thrower. And Dressler was the chief designer and modeller until 1896. Carlo Manzoni took over the role in 1898.

It was quite a going concern.

There is a huge collection in the Williamson Art Gallery.

They designed a fountain for the Savoy Hotel and a monumental fountain in Newsham Park with Hippocampus holding a monumental bowl aloft.

There are amazing pots and plaques and tile panels.

The main decorators were….well you will have to buy this well put together book that Peter has exhaustively compiled for your delectation.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Charles Rennie Mackintosh Cabinet pops out after being lost for 50 years.

It is some time ago now but whilst writing an article about Mackintosh and his links to Liverpool I recalled this article I had seen. It always makes you think just what is still out there when a recorded design surfaces after being lost for at least half a century. Check your attics!

Mackintosh cabinet offered without reserve takes £36,000

February 2013

This Arts and Crafts music cabinet, entered into a recent sale at Robertson’s of Kinbuck, near Dunblane, without reserve, turned out to be a hitherto lost design by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

The consignor was a local lady who had stored it in her garage for several years. Her grandmother had purchased it from a Dumfries saleroom sometime in the 1950s although its significance was never appreciated.

Research shows that a watercolour for the design (available online) is in the collection of the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery in Glasgow. Signed and dated 1898, it is inscribed Music Cabinet for Mrs Pickering, Braxfield, Lanark.

A stencilled or embroidered panel would have covered the shelves below the stained glass.

Mackintosh produced cabinets with the same distinctive cornice for other clients during the same year, including those made for the Edinburgh printer Alex Seggie.

After vigorous bidding in the saleroom on January 24, the Kinbuck cabinet was bought by a trade buyer for £36,000 (plus 15% buyer's premium).