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About Nic Saintey
Nic Saintey is a director and a specialist in ceramics. His effervescent nature and wide experience has seen him regularly appear as an expert on the BBC's Bargain Hunt and Flog It programmes
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The material published in this web log is for general purposes only. It does not constitute nor is it intended to represent professional advice. You should always seek specific professional advice in relation to particular issues. The information in this web log is provided "as is" with no warranties and confers no rights. The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions.

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Review Entries for Day Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Well today was one of those rarities not one unsold lot and with a sale total of £107000, but enough of the self congratulation. I have to eat Humble Pie after my disparaging feline comments a couple of blogs ago!


Staffordshire Pottery: a rare pair of Saluki

As the world is divided into dog lovers and cat lovers I admit to being in the former camp so was pleased that the pair of Staffordshire pottery Saluki made £980 and that Billy the Rat Catcher has gone back to his former stomping ground in London for £740, but they pale in the shadow of Lot 70 the Staffordshire pottery ‘fat cats’ that made a ‘bankers bonus’ selling at £1700.


Staffordshire Pottery: the cats that got the cream

In fact it was the animal kingdom that won out over the portrait figures with both giraffes and lions beating Lady Hester Stanhope into 5th place and even then she was perched on a camel, and Florence Nightingale into 10th spot.



Staffordshire Pottery: Lady Hester Stanhope, Queen of the desert

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012 6:09:25 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Friday, September 07, 2012

So far I have focussed primarily on portrait groups, but the Staffordshire potters also made plenty of buildings. We have seen from previous blogs there was the odd enemy fort a few domestic castles and the odd royal residence.


Staffordshire Pottery models of Caernarvon Castle and Beaumaris Castle

Of more interest would be Stanfield Hall (incorrectly captioned Potash Farm) the scene of James Rush’s infamous murder of Isaac Jermy. However the most common model building is the pastille burner. Whilst the use of smell or incense holds great symbolism within the church as a means of guiding prayer towards heaven its use in the domestic setting was far more practical.


Staffordshire Pottery: An incorrectly captioned model of Stanfield Hall

In the days before plumbing and daily personal hygiene a smouldering scented tablet discretely hidden within a small but decorative pottery abode did much to mask the smell of unwanted body odour. Whatever your opinion on that unsavoury fact they are certainly more collectable than soap dishes.



Staffordshire Pottery: a group of pearlware pastille burners

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Friday, September 07, 2012 8:23:48 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Thursday, September 06, 2012

I guess any patriotic individual would be able recall their country’s ‘war heroes’ and amongst them as an Englishman you would expect Nelson’s defeat of the French Navy at Trafalgar to be near the top of the list.



Staffordshire pottery: a portrait group of the Death of Admiral Nelson

Ten years later and the Duke of Wellington did the same to Napoleon’s Army at Waterloo. Deeply ingrained in the nation’s psyche there are plenty of well modelled and brightly coloured Staffordshire figures of both protagonists.



Staffordshire Pottery: a Thomas Parr figure of Wellington directing the battle at Waterloo

But why did ‘we’ make so many pottery figures of Napoleon Bonaparte? He is found in similar poses to Wellington and even playing the role of reposing intellectual at St Helena. Did we have a begrudging respect for a worthy opponent or was he seen as a bogey man? Can you see a mother pointing to old Boney on the mantelpiece and threatening little Tommy with a French invasion if he didn’t eat his greens?



Staffordshire Pottery: Napoleon as 'man of letters' whilst at St Helena and more traditionally in uniform.

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Thursday, September 06, 2012 8:18:12 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Wednesday, September 05, 2012

There was a time when ‘gay’ meant happy and ‘bad’ meant – well it meant not very good and ‘fat cats’ were merely corpulent felines. Cats were often made by Staffordshire potters, though far less so than dogs, but for me there seems to be a distinction, I’ve never seen a fat Staffordshire dog.


Staffordshire pottery: a pair of mid 19th century fat cats

They were perceived as working beasts or alternatively as over sentimentalised or heroic companions, but cats are modelled like cushions with a face on them that just happen to be capable of independent movement. Judging by the size of the pictured mouse I can only assume that saucers and cream have something to answer for.


Staffordshire pottery: a pampered cat and a stoneware mouse.

Bearing in mind that Queen Victoria’s spaniel Dash was the reason for the popularity of the Staffordshire Spaniel I just checked to see if she had a cat and guess what she had a fat Angora that outlived her, but you can’t believe everything you find on the internet can you?



Staffordshire porcelain: hardly a mouthful

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Wednesday, September 05, 2012 8:50:37 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Tuesday, September 04, 2012

As I have already shown the Crimean war coincided with the period of highest productivity from the Staffordshire Potteries so there are plenty of portrait groups of the upper echelons, but ‘ordinary’ soldiers and sailors from other conflicts were also popular source material.


The front of a Staffordshire jug depicting Wellington being cheered by his troops

I guess we are all familiar with the motivations of individuals wishing to be part of the Armed Forces. Whilst some may wish to do the morally right thing, for others it is just a job and for some it is a means of seeking out excitement.


Staffordshire Pottery figure Sailor's Return showing our hero stood on a chest of dollars and dutifully handing over his purse

During the 19th century there was also the chance to make a little extra at work which is dealt with subtly in ‘The Sailor’s Return’ where he is depicted kneeling on a chest of dollars and handing over a purse to his wife and less subtly on the Peninsular War jug where the soldiers are happily filling a chest marked ‘Plunder’ (which contains a crucifix) I guess by today’s standards that’s a war crime.



The other side of the Staffordshire Peninsular War jug showing soldiers collecting plunder

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Tuesday, September 04, 2012 9:23:08 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Monday, September 03, 2012

The Stockman collection contains what I have loosely termed Staffordshire and related ceramics – because I had to call it something – but it does also contain other ceramics also made in the Potteries.


Staffordshire pottery: a pearlware bough pot in the form of a lady's head - very Jane Austen don't you think?

Most striking is a pearlware bough pot in the form of a young ladies face that looks straight out of the pages of a Jane Austen novel and indeed was produced at the same time. Despite lacking a base and the pierced top (where the flower stems would have gone) she looks gorgeous with her crisp curly hair, ruby red lips and lacy bonnet.


Staffordshire Pottery: A beautifully decorated pearlware documentary jug for Edward Winser, Goodwin, 1805

There are also several documentary jugs – meaning those with a name, date and place – which are always popular, particularly with today’s fashion for genealogy. Despite my cursory research I still can’t track down a Maltese Cardinal called John Myatt and bizarrely why has he got snails on his coat of arms and what does that say about his family?



Styaffordshire Pottery: detail of a pearlware documentary jug for John Myatt,1804

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Monday, September 03, 2012 8:48:39 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Sunday, September 02, 2012

Many of the Staffordshire pottery portrait groups I have highlighted are of individuals be they man or beast who existed during the 19th century, but with today’s group one has to go back to the 12th century.

Prince Llewellyn was a great hunter who was proud of his pack and particularly the leading dog Gellert. However, on the birth of his son Gruffudd, Gellert fell from favour as he chose to stay in the nursery with the young heir. One day on return from a successful hunt Llwellyn went to his son only to find the cot upturned and blood on the jaws of Gellert – believing his dog a turncoat the prince ran him through only to hear the whimpering of his son and see the carcass of a wolf beside him.


A Staffordshire Pottery figure of Gellert and Prince Llwellyns son (Gruffudd) - is it just me or does he look ...well a bit girly?

The grave of Gellert is at the foot of Snowdonia and there is now a village named after the resting place called Bedgellert.

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Sunday, September 02, 2012 4:58:08 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Saturday, September 01, 2012

After highlighting the plight of Jumbo a few days ago another interesting group has appeared although though this one predates Jumbo by forty years I guess and unfortunately this pachyderm protagonist’s name is not recorded.

The group depicts a trainer or little known actor called Mr Hemming in the starring role of Prince Almansor in the play called either The Elephant of Siam or the Fire Fiend and shows the climax of the play when the prince and attendants escape from a burning palace.


Staffordshire Pottery the first elephant on the English stage

Whilst the information is a little vague what is known is that the play was first performed in the Adelphi Theatre on 3rd December 1829 and it was the first time that an elephant appeared on the stage. I’m guessing that this elephant didn’t have Jumbo’s temper or proportions.

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Saturday, September 01, 2012 9:09:04 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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