I found my large white swan in Greymouth for $30 and brought it back to Auckland in my cabin luggage - but that was eight years ago. The classic white swans are slipcast, and come in three sizes. The medium sized version is the most difficult to come by. Almost without exception the number '170' is imprinted on the base. Gone are the days when you could pick one up for a few dollars in a junk shop. The other day I heard that a Wellington enthusiast paid around $350 for a large swan in immaculate condition. And of course the rare black ones are going for crazy prices. As are the earlier trickle glazed versions from the 1950s. Here are some trickle glazed swans - thanks to Heather Thorburn for the photo.
I wonder sometimes why white swans are quite so beloved of Crown Lynn collectors. Yes, they're elegant, and the glaze is soft and luminous and lovely, but swans are far and away not the only beautiful thing that CL produced. Over the next few weeks I will introduce you to my favourites - some collectible, some not.