SWANSEA PEARLWARE CERAMICS

Hi Everybody,

I went to an auction viewing today, where, several days before the actual auction starts, you can examine the lots. If possible, I would always recommend you do this, rather than rely on online or catalogue photographs, as photographs can never do the pieces full justice. Colours will always be a bit different and the size of the item might also surprise you.

There were two auctions for viewing that day at Roger Jones in Cardiff. One was specifically items associated with Wales and the other was a mix of items from anywhere. Everything in these auctions was quality.  I’d just like to say that going to a viewing like this has several advantages over going to a regular gallery exhibition or museum, because the staff at the auction house are very knowledgeable and go out of their way to give you interesting information about all the lots. Get there as early as you can. I got there at 9.00am, just as the doors were opening, and as there were no other viewers, had the undivided attention of the auctioneer, who was happy to share his knowledge with me.

There was quite a lot of Welsh related ceramics on display, including a lot of Nantgarw and Swansea porcelain, which I will blog about next time. What really caught my attention, was a Swansea pearlware puzzle jug and Swansea pearlware cassolette pottery candle holder, which I had never heard of before. Curiously, when I googled the word cassolette all that came up was a definition for a cooking container or perfume cover. This was a candle holder and a marvellous piece of ceramic design in the way the lid could be reversed to make the candle holder. In a similar way to metamorphic furniture. The piece is made from a clay known as pearlware, which is a cream almost white clay body. The other equally interesting lot was the pearlware ceramic puzzle jug. The jug was made around 1810 and had a pierced neck and rim with traditional blue and white decoration. At first, I could not work out why it was a puzzle jug or what the puzzle was. However, the auctioneer explained that it was the way you drank out of the jug that would reveal the puzzle, as it was impossible to drink out of it unless you covered a sequence of holes with your fingers. Regency era sense of humour!

The auctions take place on the 27th – 30th of April so I will let you know the results in a few weeks time. In the meantime, happy potting.

Barry