Next Friday night, I will be in Delhi--and I will try to update my blog from afar, but if things are a little quiet on this page for a while, know that I will make up for lost time when I get back. But more importantly, where were you last Friday night? I was at a gathering of that oh-so-exclusive club, the Staffordshire Figure Association (you too can join the SFA for a mere $35 a year, no character references required!), and we had a blast.
About a dozen members of the club gathered at the New York Ceramics Fair at around 7p.m. We walked a block or two along Fifth Avenue to a very elegant apartment overlooking Central Park. Our hosts could not have been more gracious as they fed and watered us and allowed us to meander through their home admiring their collection. The collection focused on Shakespeare, and I was amazed by the number of figures (both pre-Victorian and later) that reflect this theme. We dragged ourselves away reluctantly...but onto the next treat. We walked a mere two or so minutes to a Madison Avenue restaurant (and if I could remember the name I would tell you because the French help was SO rude) where we wiled away the hours talking about pottery as we enjoyed a delicious meal.
Our group included collectors new and old, dealers, and auction house representatives. Elinor Penna, this year's SFA Pres, organized everything. I would say she did a remarkable job, but when it comes to making things happen, remarkable is the norm for Elinor. Without her, this magical evening could not have happened. If you want to join the SFA--or even just get on the free bulletin mailing list--email Elinor at firstname.lastname@example.org. I leave you with a picture--no blog entry is complete without one.
This superb spill holder was photographed on Elinor Penna's stand at the NY Ceramics Fair. It is 9.5 inches tall. I call this group The Happy Family. The grouping more commonly occurs with a bocage, rather than a spill holder. The broad base needed to support the large spill has given the potter plenty of room for animal adornments! Note how babies in Staffordshire figures are usually swaddled, wrapped tightly to resemble stiff little white sausages. Swaddling was believed to help infants develop straight limbs. It also conveniently immobilized them so parents could get on with daily chores. Of course, if I had lived then I would have immobilized my babes just so I could admire the pottery. Isn't this spill holder charming and impressive? And as I leave for India, I part with the traditional Indian greeting: namaste.