Halcyon Days

I have always found recalling happy events a much easier process than recalling sad ones and I am sure I’m not alone in that. For instance I can vividly remember receiving a Dinky AA van on my sister’s birthday to keep me quiet. I can remember purchasing my very first motor car, a grey Mini van. As my wife has a habit of occasionally glancing at my ramblings, l can say that I remember with joy every detail of my wedding day.

These days are often referred to as Halcyon days. Why? Well it’s all to do with a bird and Greek mythology. The story says that Aeolus, the ruler of the winds, had a daughter called Alcyone and she was married to Ceyx, the king of Thessaly. Ceyx was drowned at sea and overcome with grief Alcyone threw herself into the waves. But, she did not drown, instead she was transformed into a bird and carried to her husband by the wind.

As space and time are limited, that bird is the Halcyon bird who calms the waves and the wind giving peaceful days. Peaceful days are joyful days and joyful days are Halcyon days.

Founded in 1950 by Susan Benjamin, Halcyon Days was a small antiques shop in London specialising in enamel boxes. In 1970 Susan collaborated with Bilston and Battersea Enamels and in 1978 Halcyon Days was granted the Royal Warrant of Queen Elizabeth ll. In 1987 the Warrants of the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales followed.

The company has gone from strength to strength since those exciting early days, but it still produces the lovely enamel boxes favoured by the Royals. They are a subject all of there own and a joy to collect. We have a lovely little collection of Halcyon Days boxes in our next Collectors Auction.

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

Moorcroft

Although Moorcroft is a successful tale of father and son, it is the father, William who is most highly acclaimed. Born in 1873, William Moorcroft first showed his abilities as a truly innovative designer and artist while working for James Macintyre & Co from 1897. During his time with the company, he produced the famous Art Nouveau-inspired Florian Ware. While Moorcroft was producing designs for Macintyre they were actually all credited and signed personally by him helping him establish a name and reputation before eventually splitting from Macintyre
and setting up on his own in 1913.

William continued to produce ceramics of great quality and design using new techniques such as tube-lining and difficult ones like the flambé glaze to mark his pieces out as exceptional, until his death in 1945. He produced many patterns and designs some of the most desirable being Hazledene with its combination of green, yellow or blue tones, Spanish with its dramatic scrolling flowers and deep red and green pallet and Moonlit Blue with its striking cobalt blue ground. The early designs are very popular with collectors especially the toadstools of the Claremont pattern as well as the early Poppy and Iris designs.

A collection of Moorcroft
A collection of Moorcroft

Walter Moorcroft, William’s son, took over after his death and continued to produce work of high standard, particularly new floral designs including Hibiscus, Magnolia and Lily. However, the most sought after Moorcroft pieces remain those produced pre-1945 by William himself. It is important to note that William Moorcroft signed or monogrammed all his pieces, while his son, Walter, only did so with those over 13cm (5in) in height.

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