Beswick Animals

Having recently changed my car from a two seater “sports” model to a five seater estate, I am finding it a mixed blessing. While being much more value on a run to the tip or a visit to the DIY store, it also means it will accommodate more grandchildren. I am not saying this is a bad thing, but it has made driving a less peaceful pastime.

This was the case last weekend, when fully loaded with some of the said grandchildren we set out on the road to Chester zoo. At the zoo, in addition to the animals we also met more grandchildren. I have to say the zoo is amazing. We are not regular zoo attendees, but I think that may change in the future.

Strangely the whole experience made me think of the Beswick factory, the wonderful variety and quality of their animal production and that wonderful man Arthur Gredington who was chief modeller from 1939 to 1957. Thanks to him there is a huge selection of animals to choose from.

Horses, cows and bulls are the most popular, especially the larger more impressive variations. Because of the immense variety collectors tend to concentrate on one particular animal. Some models were only made for a short time and therefore more desirable today, for example the Galloway Bull which was only made from 1963 to 1969. He is available in three versions, with the all black being the rarest and so most prized.

Beswick was eventually sold to Royal Doulton in 1969, but animals marked “Beswick” continued to be made until 1989. They are without doubt a very exciting collectors field.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items you’re thinking about offering items in auction or you simply would like a valuation, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Chelsea Porcelain

The Chelsea Factory was established sometime between 1743 and 1745 by Nicholas Sprimont. Sprimont’s background as a silversmith is evident in many of the Chelsea designs, particularly the early pieces. He ran a hugely successful and innovative company until 1769 when he sold to William Duesbury of the Derby Porcelain factory who maintained Chelsea until 1784, producing what is commonly referred to as Chelsea-Derby ware. In 1784, the Chelsea workshops were demolished with the majority of the moulds destroyed and a few removed to Derby along with some of the workers.

Chelsea Porcelain is very clearly divided into four periods defined by the marks used. The first period; the triangle period (1745-49) saw pieces marked with an incised triangle. Wares from this period have a glassy white body due to a proportion of crushed lead glass in the soft paste that can appear to have ‘pinholes’ in it when held to the light. Designs tended to be based on silver work with particular Rococo influence.

By the raised anchor period (1749-52) marked with an applied anchor on a small oval medallion, there had been some improvement in the quality of the glaze with less translucency. Many designs had a Meissen influence and scenes from Aesop’s Fables were popular. A small red or occasionally brown anchor defined the Red anchor period (1752-56) which saw fashions favour decorative tableware with designs such as fruit, animals and vegetables becoming popular. Figures from this period are particularly notable; the best produced by Flemish modeller Josef Willems. Finally the Gold anchor period (1757-69) where the small anchor was now painted gold saw an increased use of gilding and coloured grounds, the return to Rococo designs and many more elaborate figures produced.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse
Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items you’re thinking about offering items in auction or you simply would like a valuation, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Goldscheider Figurines

Last weekend’s sunny Sunday found me lying on my deck chair, my eyes closed and listening to the soothing sounds of birds singing and bees buzzing, along with the gentle ‘clip, clip’ of my wife’s hedge cutting endeavours. My thoughts turned, as they so often do in similar settings, to Goldscheider figures.

The Goldscheider Porcelain Manufacturer and Majolica Factory was founded in Vienna in 1885 by Freidrich Goldscheider. It quickly earned itself international acclaim becoming one of the leading ceramics companies in Europe opening branches in Paris, Florence, Leipzig and Berlin. Freidrich worked with his sons Walter and Marcell who would later move to America and England respectively to continue expanding the business after Hilter’s regime forced the family to flee Austria in 1938.

The Goldscheider factories are probably the most well known of the potteries who made the beautiful Art Deco figurines that were so popular in the 1920s and 30s. The figurines depicted elegant, slim-lined and fashionable ladies typically displayed in movement, whether it was mid-dance, an acrobatic stance or simply a sweeping gesture, with dramatic curves that allowed their flowing dresses and sleeves to produce eye-catching, decorative features for the pieces.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse
Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

The large flat areas of the extended dresses, scarves or sleeves were decorated with intricate, colourful designs that contrasted with the light, porcelain-like skin tones of the women. A high quality of detail and skill in the artwork as well as a characterful and appealing face all add value to these figurines. Erotic subjects are particularly popular. Damage or poor restoration can dramatically reduce desirability and thus value.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items you’re thinking about offering items in auction or you simply would like a valuation, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Doulton Figures

At this time of year present buying is constantly on my wife’s lips and the poor old moths have no peace inside my wallet. This is also the time of year I think about Royal Doulton figures. They have never been more reasonable to purchase and they make wonderful Christmas presents.

Royal Doulton figures were one of the company’s most popular products. Firmly established by the early 20th century, their range now numbers around 2000. Popular amongst collectors are the “fair ladies” who, as the name suggests, are ladies posed in carefree romantic postures.

Values tend to be highest for the early figures from the 1920s and 1930s, or those with extremely short production runs, typically a year or less. Key designers to look out for include Charles Noke, fascinated by entertainers; Leslie Harradine, known for his ladies in crinoline dresses; Peggy Davies, known for her teenagers and historical personalities; Nada Pedley, for romantic Victorian and Edwardian ladies and Pauline Parsons, the leading modeller of the “fair ladies”.

Besides the “fair ladies” , other popular collections include children, historical and literary personalities and miniature figurines. The miniature figurines were launched in 1932 and again in 1988 and the most popular types are the Charles Dickens characters and the small versions of the “fair ladies”. Some of the miniatures, if rare or desirable, will realise similar or even higher prices than their larger versions.

Royal Doulton figures at very reasonable prices, coupled with Christmas, perhaps now is the time
to buy one.

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

Hummel Figures

I have always thought that an ideal subject for a new collector would be the charming Hummel figures of children. These endearing figures were developed from drawings by a Franciscan nun Berta Hummel drawn for the Goebel Company in Bavaria. Introduced in 1935 Hummel’s figures were an instant success. By the time she died in 1946 she had drawn around 600 sketches, which was enough to keep the company producing Hummel figures for decades.

Hummels from the 1950s and 1960s are the cheapest on the market. Earlier pieces, groups and larger figures are more desired and so more expensive. The more recent or common a figure is,
the more vital the condition becomes in determining value.

Many of the figures are made in more than one version. For example, “Weary Wanderer” was first produced in 1949 but has been made regularly ever since. The rather rare version with blue eyes
is more valuable than all the others. Also “Puppy Love” which is one of the first models to be produced and therefore rare and valuable still has a rarer and even more collectable example which faces right instead of left.

Factory marks help in dating Hummels. During the 1930s the firm used a script “Goebel” mark under a crown. After 1950 a “V” mark with a small bee was used and from 1960 the bee became
further stylised as a simple dot with triangular wings.

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

Half dolls

Half dolls were essentially that, half a doll. They typically stood waist high with head and arms and were used as a decorative item. The upper bodies were usually attached to cloth skirts that were either stuffed to be used as a pincushion or used to cover household items such as teapots or powder boxes. Some later versions had separate legs which were attached to a base under the fabric skirt.

There is reference made to these pincushion dolls in the mid-18th century, however, it wasn’t until later in the 19th century and early 20th century that the half dolls were in popular demand and it was short lived as by the 1940s production had dwindled and eventually ceased altogether.

The majority of half dolls were made from porcelain or bisque but examples made from wood and wax can also be found. Key factories include Dressel & Kister, Goebel and Heubach. Some designs were very simple, while others were highly stylized, particularly the later 1920s and 30s examples when the half dolls were extremely popular and followed the clothing and hair fashions of the period. Some half dolls were even left completely naked and bald and clothes and wigs were fitted after.

Half Doll
Half Doll

The value of the half doll is placed principally in the form of the doll. If the piece is made all in one mould, with arms tucked close into the main body then these tend to hold the least value. More desirable examples will have gaps between the arms and bodies showing several moulds were used with the best having outstretched arms or even added accessories like handheld flowers. Large
examples and those still retaining original skirts are also desirable to collectors.

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

Lladró

The Lladró factory was established in Almacera, near Valencia in Spain in 1953 by three brothers Juan, José and Vicente Lladró who started to make vases and jugs from hard-paste porcelain. It was not until 1956 that the first figures were made, for which the company became so famous.

Lladró figures are easily identified by many common features used by almost all their different designers. Colouring is important with most pieces favouring the pale pink, white and blue glaze combination, this soft colour palette helping to add to the delicate, angelic nature of the figures. Lladró is also celebrated for its elegant smooth lines and elongation of form which again contributes to the character of their work. Lladró figures are often said to have faces full of character and more importantly to help identify genuine pieces is the fact that the colour black is never used on the eyes, eyelids or eyebrows of a Lladró figure.

lladro

The majority of Lladró figures were glazed in high-gloss so matt pieces or the preproduction pieces with a more creamy finish are both therefore rarer and generally more valuable. Figures that are larger or those with more complex mouldings are also considered more desirable.

Although Lladró figures have been made since the 1950s, it is actually quite rare to find these older pieces. The earliest examples are easy to spot as they have incised marks, by 1960 an impressed mark was the standardised format. In 1971, the blue mark was introduced and included the logo as well as name and it wasn’t actually until 1974 that the accent ever appeared over the ‘o’.

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

Heubach bisque dolls

The Heubach factory was established in Lichte, Germany in 1843 after brothers, Georg Christoph and Phillipp Jakob, bought an existing porcelain business. They initially made porcelain dolls’ heads and other figurines but later as the fashion for using bisque travelled to Germany from France where they had been experimenting with it from the late 1860s, Heubach began to use bisque as their main material from about 1910.

Bisque Dolls
Bisque Dolls

While the porcelain dolls were glazed and therefore shiny, the bisque allowed for a much more realistic skin tone as they remained unglazed; initially fired and then re-fired after layers of decoration had been applied. It was very uncommon to find a doll made completely of bisque as it was so delicate and breakable, most
dolls had bodies made of cloth or leather and later composition, a substance made by mixing glue with sawdust or wood pulp.
Heubach made figurines completely in bisque, most famously their piano babies.

The piano babies were, as the name suggests, figurines of babies which many households sat upon their piano; perhaps just as decoration or more often than not
to hold in place the fabric that often adorned grand pianos as was fashionable at the time.

The babies were often nude but were also made with carefully painted clothes and bonnets. They ranged from about four to twelve inches in length and the babies posed in a variety of positions. They are difficult to find in mint condition due to the fragile nature of bisque. Other companies also made these ‘Piano’ babies but Heubach’s are all marked. Heubach marks include the word ‘Heubach’ enclosed in a square and more commonly on the ‘Piano’ babies, a sunburst.

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

Goldscheider Figurines

The Goldscheider Porcelain Manufacturer and Majolica Factory was founded in Vienna in 1885 by Freidrich Goldscheider. It quickly earned itself international acclaim becoming one of the leading ceramics companies in Europe opening branches in Paris, Florence, Leipzig and Berlin. Freidrich worked with his sons Walter and Marcell who would later move to America and England respectively to continue expanding the business after Hilter’s regime forced the family to flee Austria in 1938.

Goldscheider
Goldscheider

The Goldscheider factories are probably the most well known of the potteries who made the beautiful Art Deco figurines that were so popular in the 1920s and 30s. The figurines depicted elegant, slim-lined and fashionable ladies typically displayed in movement, whether it was mid-dance, an acrobatic stance or simply a
sweeping gesture, with dramatic curves that allowed their flowing dresses and sleeves to produce eye-catching, decorative features for the pieces.

The large flat areas of the extended dresses, scarves or sleeves were decorated with intricate, colourful designs that contrasted with the light, porcelain-like skin tones of the women. A high quality of detail and skill in the artwork as well as a characterful and appealing face all add value to these figurines. Erotic subjects are particularly popular. Damage or poor restoration can dramatically reduce
desirability and thus value.

Many talented designers worked with Goldscheider at this time and work by two of the best, Stefan Dakon and Josef Lorenzl is particularly desirable. Dakon and Lorenzl worked on a huge range of these stylish and stylised women, working not just in ceramics but also in the more desirable and expensive bronze and ivory.

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

Doulton Figurines

Doulton may have produced figurines from the mid-19th century but it wasn’t until the early twentieth century that the figures so popular with collectors today were made. In 1913 one of Doulton’s modellers, Charles Noke, who was recruited from Royal Worcester, began to design a new range of figurines. They were launched that same year when King George and Queen Mary toured the Burselm factory. It is even documented that the Queen commented on one of the figures of a little boy saying “Isn’t he a darling!” and subsequently the figure was named ‘Darling’. This first range was released complete with a new model numbering system; the HN numbering system invented by Harry Nixon, head of figure painting at the time. The system was able to distinguish different colours and sizes within the same designs and is still in use today.

SOLD for £4600 at Sheffield Auction Gallery
SOLD for £4600 at Sheffield Auction Gallery

Production of the figurines thrived under the guidance of Noke and another key designer, Leslie Harradine. He was one of the main modellers for Doulton, his first figurine was released in 1920 and he went on to work for Doulton for thirty years producing at least one new design every month, sometimes two or three. The popularity of his figures saw the number of artists in the painting department increase. He is particularly well known for his stylish ladies who had their heyday in the 1930s, although he also liked studies of Dickens’ characters. One of his most popular designs, the ‘Top o’ the Hill’ figure, featuring a windswept lady was first made in 1937 and is still being produced today. Due to his lasting legacy at Doulton, some enthusiasts will focus just on his figurines for their collections.

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