Another thing that has bothered me this week has been the presence of two small 20thC bull baiting groups at UK auction houses, both listed as early 19th C. I sent off my usual email:
I am writing to you about the bull baiting figure, lot ***. Please will you look at it again? It is not early 19th century but is instead 20th century. Anthony Oliver's Staffordshire Potter: the Tribal Art of England, pages 45 and 48, tells of this figure being produced by the Kent factory as late as 1960 at a reduced size from the original. Oliver spoke to the man responsible for reducing the figure in size from the Sherratt original. He was very proud of his derivative work and kept an example in a cabinet in his living room!
A large, color picture of an early 19th century bull baiting, a Sherratt original, is on p137 of my book, People, Passions, Pastimes, and Pleasures: Staffordshire Figures 1810-1835. The figure measures 13.25 inches across.
You can see other examples of your figure under the REPROS tab of my website, www.mystaffordshirefigures.com
Thanks so much for checking your figure. With best wishes,
The auction houses in question were Wilkinson's and Lawrences of Bletchingley. Wilkinson's replied almost within minutes and very promptly fixed their oversight. Thank you! I still wait to see if I ever get a response from Lawrences of Bletchingley. You can see their figure, sans feet and with an estimate of GBP200-300, by clicking here.
And one more issue churning in my mind: the amount of reproduction stuff on eBay is mushrooming. I send out emails, but only about half the sellers respond. Shame on the other half! They know they are trying to foist junk on an unsuspecting public.
There are honest sellers on eBay, there really are. There are dishonest sellers, and there are also stupid sellers. I am never sure where the divide is between the last two. In recent months I have bought three small figures on eBay at very modest prices. Each time, my interest was academic in that the figure form was unusual. Each time, the figure arrived with undisclosed damage. You didn't need a magnifier to see it or any advanced expertise. Just a willingness to disclose. So follow my rule and pay no more than you are prepared to lose on eBay.
Lastly, I trust you have all read the update on the faker of plaques that we have discussed on this site. See the ATG article here. Even though eBay seemed unresponsive to our complaints of shill bidding (among other things), others do care. The North Yorkshire Trading Standards is accusing a UK eBayer of bidding up his own items by having two accounts. He faces a fine of GBP 50,000! Thanks to Stephen Smith of www.matesoundthepump.com for updating me on the BBC report, which you can read here.