Writer's block. I am strangely un-inispired tonight. I have answered lots of emails from collectors in the last two days (thanks so much for keeping them coming), have added to the Believe it or Not page on this site, have updated the Figures page with another Fabulous Figure, have planted more annuals in my garden than I can countarden, have coped with more geriatric issues for both my parents than you could imagine, have tried to keep working on the next book.....so perhaps I am just too brain-dead for creative writing. But let me share with you a figure that has been buzzing around in what's-left-of-my-brain for a few days.
Don't reach for your wallets. This figure of Venus sold on eBay last week. When I saw it, I knew it didn't add up. I am often asked how I know something is amiss. Sometimes, the answer is as simple as looking at the figure. Doesn't this oddly posed lady appear to be interacting with something/someone we cannot see? Other times, the answer lies in knowing how a correct version of the figure looks. And below you see the figure as it should look.
The correct form of the figure shows Venus playing with Cupid. But in the eBay example, Cupid may have been knocked off the base. The eBay description reads "This very charming little Staffordshire pearlware figure is in very good condition. It looks as if the base has been plugged with a resinous substance but otherwise I cannot see any restoration."
Hmm....doesn't add up. The base plugged with resin and no other restoration? Did someone just stick resin up the figure to pass a rainy afternoon? Clearly, something went wrong at some time, and I suspect breakage and loss of Cupid. The seller may well have been totally forthcoming in the description. He/she probably did not realize what had happened. Yes, there are lots of dishonest sellers on eBay, but there are also lots of honest but ignorant individuals. I often email sellers to point out the flaws in their wares, and I my faith in human nature is renewed each time I get a positive response...not that this happens too often! But when it comes to buying on eBay, it is truly Buyer Beware.