Meet Miranda and Lalage

I have been busy finding new stock, in case you have been wondering why there haven't been any videos lately! Today I have a treasure that is completely new to this collection: a very fine pair of Minton parian figures called Miranda and Lalage. Minton, arguably the most sophisticated porcelain factory of 19th Century Britain, employed the sculptor John Bell. He already had a career of his own, exhibiting in prestigious places. Working for Minton meant that he could bring his works mainstream through mass production. He modelled many popular figures, and here we have Miranda and Lalage. Miranda means "worthy of admiration", and in Shakespeare's "The Tempest", Miranda is an innocent girl ra

A Basket of Flowers

If you have followed my work, you will know that I love the 19th Century Belleek items. There is nothing quite as fine and light as this wonderful "egg shell" porcelain from County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland. Today I am showing an item I have never shown yet: a porcelain basket. Belleek became very famous for these baskets, which are "woven" in porcelain and then decorated with beautiful flowers - in fact they still make them today! The basket you see here is of extraordinary quality and craftsmanship. It has a beautiful greyish pearl lustre finish and hardly any damage. And a nice detail on this is the flowers themselves... and there is a story to them. You can see roses, thistles and sh

The Boy with the Butterfly

This week I am introducing a new line to my collection: Chinese Export porcelain from the 18th and 19th Centuries. Before Europeans were able to produce porcelain, it was imported in huge quantities from China and Japan. Many of these items were made to order and the patterns, although seemingly wholly Chinese, were often a fusion of various cultures. And of course, once the British started making their own porcelain, they incorporated many of these familiar designs into their own designs, creating a whole new fusion of styles. It is the cultural fusion and exchange that I find most fascinating about Chinese Export porcelain; while the quality was not always top-notch, the items have great

Imari Riddle

Lately I have featured several "Imari" designs in my shop and today I have a beautiful and very rare little tea service made by Wileman in 1889. But what is Imari? The Imari style is named after the Japanese city Imari, because that's from where Japanese porcelain was traditionally shipped to the Netherlands to be traded in the West. These items were usually decorated in a colour palette of orange, cobalt blue or black, and gilt. So gradually this colour combination was dubbed "Imari". It became hugely popular and was soon imitated in China for export to European customers. Once the English started to produce their own porcelain, designers quickly took to this style and made it their own. Th

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