Japonism - a new perspective

When trade relations between Japan and the West were restored in the 1850s, it sparked a new fashion for Japanese art and design. The market got flooded with beautiful woodblock prints and teaware. The prints offered a very different perspective than Western art; they were engaging, taking away the distance between the art and the viewer. Rebelling young designers saw the answer to their unhappiness with the staleness and pomp of Victorian design, which had become more about signifying the wealth of the owner's object than with beauty. And so the Aesthetic Movement was born, and a major strand of it was Japonism. Today I am offering this wonderful tea service by Coalport, made between 1875 a

English flower painting - or is it Welsh?

In the 1820s, English potteries started to develop a typically English style of flower painting. But if you look well, can see that the first painters who started painting flowers in this way were in Wales, a few years earlier. Painters at Swansea and Nantgarw started painting flowers the way they grow: not planned and organised, but where ever the light is. The flowers were often humble weeds that you can find at the side of the road - not just exotic garden flowers that were bred by gardeners. And what is also special about these flowers is the way they play with the light. Coalport coffee cup and saucer, 1820 It was the Welsh flower painters who first became famous for this style and they

It's for the birds!

If you follow my Instagram feed, you will have seen that I have posted a beautiful item by the famous porcelain painter John Randall every Monday for the last few months. Today I am finishing this series with the final blow out: the single most amazing piece I have ever had in my collection. It is a large dessert service consisting of 15 plates and 3 high footed comports, made by Coalport between 1865 and 1870. All of it is painted with beautiful birds by the famous John Randall. John Randall started young as an apprentice in his uncle's workshop, where he learnt to paint birds in the French style of Sèvres. When he was about 20 years old, he was hired by Coalport and he kept painting for th

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