Vetting – Behind The Scenes, Today & Tomorrow

This has nothing to do with animals, obviously. Vetting is the process that occurs the day before certain, usually higher end, art and antiques fairs open. Teams of independent experts grouped by discipline (silver, glass, jewellery etc) move around the fair looking at every object in the fair in their category, closely examining any they […]

A Minton Tile and The Great Exhibition

A few years ago, I bought a Minton majolica tile (above and below) at auction that, according to the handwritten labels on the back (see below), had a rather interesting provenance to the Great Exhibition of 1851. I wrote a blog post about it appealing for more information, which you can read by clicking here. […]

I Love Ephemera!
A Rare Ticket

I love ephemera! By that term, I mean things that were produced for a single use, or for short term enjoyment, before being discarded or thrown away. They are literally ‘ephemeral’, which is where the term is obviously derived from. Good examples are tickets, flyers and similar promotional material, or even things like ‘sample cups’ […]

A Rare Communist & Soviet Terracotta Plaque

One of the aspects I love about my job the most is finding objects I love but don’t know anything about. It’s almost like a challenge – the piece taunts and teases me. Who am I? Where was I made? Who designed and produced me? When? What do I mean? Often looking at them periodically […]

Skrdlovice Glass Exhibition at Antiques For Everyone Fair

In April this year, I was lucky enough to be able to secure the central exhibition space at the Spring Antiques For Everyone fair at the National Exhibition centre in Birmingham to promote Skrdlovice glass. Although the accompanying book ‘Berànek & Skrdlovice: Legends of Czech Glass‘ was launched later that month, we were able to […]

‘Flower Painter’ Mid-Century Italian Ceramics – An Update

A few months ago, I published a post about some exciting new Italian ceramics by the mysterious ‘Flower Painter’ that I had found. You can read the post by clicking here. As they sadly didn’t reveal the identity of the designer or factory, but just tantalised with more clues, I set the challenge of finding […]

Fratelli Fanciullacci Marks & Labels

It’s pretty typical for really rather good things to appear and come in just after I’ve printed a book on them. And, typically, those pieces answer a question that I hadn’t been able to solve before printing the book. In this instance it concerned Alla Moda, my new book on Italian mid-century pottery. My keen-eyed […]

Frank Thrower’s Rare Dartington Glass Jar

Just because something is rare, it doesn’t have to be expensive. High values come from a mercurial combination of condition, age, rarity and the ever-present law of supply and demand. So I was delighted to stumble across this curvaceous Dartington storage jar for £22 at last week’s National Glass Fair in Birmingham. It was designed […]

More About The Flower Painter Mystery

Those of you who have bought Alla Moda, my new book on mid-century Italian ceramics, will have seen a double page spread of quirky ceramics by an as yet unknown company and designer who ‘signs’ each piece with a stylised four petalled flower. I’ve pretty much fallen in love with them! At the Midcentury Fair […]

Dartington Glass: I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles!

2006 saw the 40th anniversary of Dartington Glass, one of the UK’s only surviving independent glass companies. To commemorate this event, Graham Cooley exhibited hundreds of pieces of Dartington Glass dating from 1967 into the 1990s from his private collection. In conjunction with that, I wrote and published a book with Eve Thrower, the daughter […]

Alla Moda Italian Ceramics Exhibition Launches

It’s out and it’s on! Last Saturday I joined Graham Cooley at the King’s Lynn Arts Centre in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, to launch Alla Moda, the exhibition behind my latest book. With over 750 ceramics on display, Graham’s private collection is almost certainly the largest private collection of Italian ceramics in Europe, if not the […]

What’s behind my latest book?

My new book on mid-century modern Italian ceramics, Alla Moda, has just arrived, and the exhibition is about to be launched. Sitting last night looking through the book made me remember the long journey I’ve made putting it together. I also thought about all the elements that went into making it, here are some statistics: […]