Rumors of the market's demise have been greatly exaggerated (my apologies to Mark Twain). Amidst all the financial doom and gloom, I feared the worst for Andrew Dando's selling exhibition that debuted in cyberspace this past Saturday. I set my alarm early to click on as the "doors" opened, and within hours lots and lots of the pottery figures had been sold. Bear in mind, we are not talking about junk sold at junk prices. These were great items, carefully selected, with prices commensurate with their worth. Seems collectors quickly flung their money down to secure them.
I don't know how the porcelain in Andrew's exhibition fared, but pottery sales seemed stellar. This exhibition follows on the UK's NEC antiques show the week before. I was there. Dealers at all levels had feared the worst, given our current economic malaise, but instead they were jubilant at sales. Seems collectors know that when they buy good items they are not spending their money, just transferring their assets. I tell my husband that each time I make a major purchase....and how I wish I had transferred more before the sub-prime crisis hit.
Above is just one of the pages from Andrew's exhibition. The tall bocage figure (back left) is titled FLIGHT &. Presumably it was sold to pair with one titled RETURN, the subject being The Flight and Return to Egypt. Lovely to see this figure titled, and this bocage is particularly pretty and is one of my favorites. A gorgeous figure. It would not bother me that it is one of a pair. The other half looks so similar that it adds nothing. I love this figure and hope you do too. More importantly, I am sure it's new owner loves it. Yes, it is sold!
In the center of the picture is a New Marriage Act. The plaque reads "JOHN FRILL AND ANN BOKE AGED 21 THAT'S RIGHT SAYS THE PARSON AMEN SAYS THE CLERK." The group was made around 1823 to celebrate the passage of the New Marriage Act. Prior to that date, a couple could marry in violation of one of England's persnickity marriage laws, and many years later either party could use that violation as reason for annulling their marriage. Even if both parties wanted an annulment, this created a problem: annulment left their children illegitimate, thus having disastrous consequences on inheritance. The New Marriage Act of 1823 made it no longer possible to annul your marriage because of a petty violation of marriage law that had ocurred at the time of marriage. The marrying age was 21. So, as the plaque reminds us, if you said you were 21, there was no going back. And no going back to Andrew's site to buy this figure either. It too has sold.
The cobbler and his wife on the right of the photo are Jobson and Nell. Jobson is the lowly cobbler and Nell is sweet wife. They starred in The Devil toPay or, The Wives Metamorphos'd, a ballad farce first performed in 1731. Revivals were popular on the English stage into the 19th century. A performance was staged at Covent Garden as late as 1828, and even children's books drew from the theme and illustrated Jobson and Nell (see below for a page from a book published in 1825.) I love the marbled bases on these figures. The manufactory that produced them usually potted high quality wares and these are a true pair. An unusually lovely example of an often poorly executed subject.
Enough for a night! I really want to tell you that the sweet girl and the goat are unusual and each has merit...but more next time. So hard to stop when I am rambling on about figures.