Ceramic Decoration

Over time there has been a huge variety of techniques used to decorate all types of ceramics from earthenware pots to ornate sculptures. Some very traditional, while others revolutionary.

Developed by John Sadler and Guy Green, the transfer printing process began in Liverpool in 1756. Josiah Wedgwood being one of the first to embrace it on his ivory based “Creamware”. It was developed in response to consumer demand for cheaper, mass produced wares – something more embellished than the previously plain merely functional alternatives. Most early patterns had an oriental theme as Chinese blue was a favourite at the time.

Ceramics, more specifically porcelain, is commonly gilded. Gilding is where surfaces are decorated with gold leaf or fine powder before being fired at low temperatures. Mixing the gold with mercury gives a brighter metallic finish, while honey creates a dull but very rich effect.

Gilding has been around for centuries, as has the lustre technique which involves dissolving oxides of metals such as gold, silver and copper in acid and combining them with an oil medium. This is then painted onto the object before firing, it creates a metallic or iridescent shimmering finish.

As well as differences in the design techniques there are also different types of glazes. Underglaze is popular as it is less expensive; designs are applied to an unglazed surface so objects are only fired once. While an overglaze, as the name suggests, sees designs added onto an already glazed surface and re-fired at low temperatures to fuse the colours to the surface. They frequently require multiple firings making them much more expensive.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Moulded Jugs

A few years before Victoria came to the throne moulded jugs had developed into an art form. Almost every potter of the time began producing them and on the whole all followed each other as the moulded jug developed and changed throughout the century.

The jugs of the 1830s were moulded in a crisp and deep relief. Apart from a few angular exceptions the body was generally round. In terms of decoration, this was a period when designs and inspirations seemed limitless. Hunting scenes were popular, as were religious, mythological, historical and even drinking themes. But inspiration was also found in books, poems and art. In fact almost every aspect of Victorian life.

By the latter part of the 1840s the earlier distinctive pedestal foot had become a foot rim and the lip was a little less flared. The body was still essentially round and the relief had become shallower. The new trend in design was naturalistic plant life, with some jugs being completely covered, examples being the Cob of Corn jug and the Pine Cone jug.

By the 1860s the relief was very shallow and the naturalistic designs were replaced with stylised flowers and foliage. By the time, towards the end of the century, that the Art Nouveau style had arrived the moulded jug had largely had its day.

Made usually in earthenware, stoneware or Parian the moulded jug makes a lovely addition to any collection which is why they have always remained popular in the auction room.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

The “Greystones Collection”

Is that the largest you do?

An overwhelming theme when auctions talk of toys and models is a presumption that they are quite small. However with cabinets the size of small coffee tables housing single models, and models over one metre tall and over one metre in length, the norm has been broken with the latest single owner collection soon to be offered for sale by Sheffield Auction Gallery.

The late Raymond Housley
The late Raymond Housley

The “Greystones Collection” of models was the passion of Sheffield collector Raymond Housley; whose driving interest was Plant and Heavy Haulage models, amongst other items.

A local Sheffield man, Ray Housley spent all his working life in the Family recycling business. However, away from the work place he had two great passions, his family and collecting models. Starting with an original interest for Dinky toys Ray built up a collection in excess of 2,000 models based on Heavy Haulage, Plant, Steam outline, Cars (especially racing cars) and Model Railway. Along with his family, Ray would tour not only the United Kingdom’s model shops and fairs but the rest of the world looking for items to add to his collection. There is one memory often recalled of a holiday to Australia and from a search on the internet a model shop was identified for a visit. Taking them hundreds of miles out of their way the shop was found to only contain a dozen or so models!
Part of the Greystones Collection

Part of The "Greystones Collection"

Ray had an obvious eye for detail and how things worked, and often choose bespoke models from the like of ASAM, Sun Motor Company, DJH, Manitowoc amongst many others and would often redefine how many hours a man can spend with a reel of cotton, rigging up model cranes. And here is perhaps a difference between Ray and many collectors – his belief that all the models should be displayed regardless of their size, eventually taking up over three rooms in his family home.

Following Ray’s death the family sought guidance on what to do with the collection and approached Specialists Valuers, Sheffield Auction Gallery. On seeing the collection for the first time, Specialist Valuer and Auctioneer John Morgan said “After my initial excitement my thoughts turned to one of logistics, however a team of trained staff, large vans and two days saw the collection safely moved to the Gallery, with the largest crane being moved between a colleagues knees for stability!” He went on, “as we prepare the collection for sale I can only say that if you collect models connected with Pickfords, Wynns, BRS or anything that moves earth, you are in for a real treat.”

Specialist Valuer John Morgan with part of the collection
Specialist Valuer John Morgan with part of the collection

The collection is to be offered for sale at Sheffield Auction Gallery’s Specialist Collectable Toys & Models Auction on Thursday 27th August, which is also a live internet sale.

For more information please visit our Sheffield Auction Gallery website.