Saturday, September 29, 2012

The object of the day: Wombwell's Menagerie

Wombwell's Menagerie, 19th century Staffordshire pottery
Pearlglazed earthenware with overglaze painted decoration
14 5/8 inches
In private collection

Wombwell's Menagerie was a travelling circus that doubled up as a zoo between performances, travelling the length and breadth of the country. In 1835 it visited Wolverhampton and it is possible that Stoke potters made the trip south to see the extraordinary assembly of caged, wild beasts and were inspired to model them. traditionally, these groups depicting the Menagerie are attributed to the factory of Obadiah Sherratt, who is also credited with a number or arbour groups showing subjects such as The Blacksmith of Gretna Green and the Tithe Pig, and The Teetotallers and Dr Syntax, an 18th century caricature of a cleric. Sherratt's work is rare and keenly sought after both in Europe and America. 

Price could reach £10,000 - 15,000

Antique glass decoration techniques

Many techniques may be applied to glass objects to produce different types of decoration, both internal and external. We will mention here some principal types of decorations.

Internal decoration

Cased. When one layer of glass is applied over another, or when three or more layers are fused together and then outer layer or layers cut away (cameo).

Acid cut cameo glass vase
Simple coloured tint. The glass is mixed with a metallic oxide while still in powder form.

Latticinio. Clear glass embedded with white glass threads giving the appearance of spiral fluting. The threads are woven into the semi-molten metal.

Lithyalin. Opaque glass which shows visible striations of various colours and, when polished, gives the appearance of agate.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

British and American Studio Wares

The reaction against the mass-produced pottery and porcelain of the early Victorian age came to a head after the Great Exhibition of 1851. Inspired by the writings of John Ruskin, small groups of artisans formed art union groups and thus paved the way for the Arts and Crafts Movement. Led by William Morris in England, its members sought to return to the values of the medieval guild system where hand-made objects were produced in small numbers by groups of dedicated craftsmen.

Early Lambeth Doulton 
On the whole, their ideas proved commercially unworkable, but many art potteries that started up at this time proved more successful and continued producing throughout the 19th and into the 20th century. Probably the largest commercial enterprise making hand-decorated stoneware and pottery was the Lambeth studios of Doulton.
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