Thought I'd share this happy photo, which dealer Elinor Penna sent me yesterday. These Staffordshire figures looked so happy basking in the sunshine that Elinor HAD to reach for her camera (or was it her cell phone?).
Almost like looking at the past, isn't it? And aren't the colors just dazzling in the sunshine?
Talking of figures in the sunshine, reminds me of a glorious set of figures I encountered while photographing a few years ago. The collector/owner confessed he was thinking of leaving them to a museum some day. Immediately, that museum's gloomy, morgue-like storage room popped to mind... and my heart sank because I knew those figures would literally never see the light of day ever again. Sentenced to prison for an eternity, entombed, never again to glow in daylight. For months, I was haunted at the thought of those fine pearlware figures escaping from the loving touch of collectors for ever. I wanted to rescue them...but at the same time, I was reluctant to take advantage of the collector's generosity in sharing his collection with me.
A year or so later, I broached the subject with a tentative "If ever you would consider selling." The collector didn't want to sell, but he definitely wanted to trade...for a Staffordshire figure that was fairly difficult to procure. It took me 6 months, but I did it! We were both extremely happy with the trade. Best of all, when my time is up those figures will go back onto the market, to a home that will love them as much as I have.
When we collectors die, our collections die with us. They become merely an array of objects needing new homes. But we can all keep collecting alive by ensuring that our figures go back onto the market, and ultimately to collectors who will love them as we have. Museums are fantastic resources, but they are so well stocked. And if everything is diverted to museums, what would be left for collectors?