Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Um... derivative or a copy??

The more we find out about Crown Lynn, the more copies come to light - both shapes and patterns.  Here are two tulip cups - iconic Crown Lynn one would have thought, but the dark green one is actually made by Meakin in England. They are almost exactly the same size and shape.

Without more research I can't be sure which shape came first, but it's likely that Crown Lynn copied Meakin. 

Then take a look at these two plates: This is Crown Lynn Fiesta Ware.
This is Meakin. (Meakin photos courtesy of Suzanne Hilegeholt)

 And then we have our much-loved Mogambo coffee can... an identical pattern appears on this Pyrex mug, made before the Cook and Serve range was introduced.

And that was not the only copied pattern in the Cook & Serve range. Here is a Swedish Rorstrand coffee can:

The same pattern was used by Crown Lynn on Cook & Serve condiment sets (below), coffee cans and cookware. (Examples thanks to Jeremy Ashford)
And what about this lovely little Crown Lynn jug: 
Here is an identical shape, again by the English firm J&G Meakin.

The list goes on... our Fleurette is a copy of the English Belle Fiore.  I don't have a photo but click here to see images of Belle Fiore on EBay. Here's a Crown Lynn Fleurette duo - it's hard to tell the difference.
There's a famous photo of the Queen visiting Crown Lynn in 1963, watching the hand decorators working on Fleurette - I wonder if she was aware that it was a brazen knock-off of an English product. Tom Clark is on her left.
Of course some Crown Lynn ware has similar decorations to overseas-made ware. This is because many of the decorative transfers were bought on the open market, so you see (for example) this Crown Lynn Bamboo cake plate has the same decoration (in a different colour) as an English-made plate I found in the Browns Bay hospice shop a couple of weeks ago.

And the decorations on the Crown Lynn fruit plates (marked Covent Garden) are also found on a range of other plates including this pink Old Foley plate by James Kent Ltd, Staffordshire, England.
 I could go on, and on, and on... but I won't! Our iconic Crown Lynn swan is believed to be a copy of an English one, and I have seen an English version of the McCallum whisky jug, in three sizes, on TradeMe.  I think in the good old days there was not the same intense possessiveness about intellectual property as there is now, when manufacturers don't hesitate to take court action when their work is copied.
I would love to hear of other copies/duplicates that you are aware of, this is an interesting aspect of NZ pottery research.
More soon

Monday, November 4, 2013

Cool collections

Just recently I have had the pleasure of viewing several wonderful collections - I love seeing what other enthusiasts find interesting - and also what they randomly find!
First up, here is a selection of lovely pale green 'whiteware' items.  A very few of the items that usually appear in white were glazed in pastels, most often green. These exotic little shapes, a wishing well, rocking chair, little cart etc, are very hard to find and I do respect these collectors for hunting them down (and for generously sending me these photos.)
These are quite special collectors - Geoffrey Clark and his wife Brenda. Geoffrey is the son of Sir Tom Clark, founder of Crown Lynn. He worked at the factory for many years. He then trained in technical aspects of ceramics at Stoke on Trent in England as a Crown Lynn cadet and returned to Crown Lynn.  Recently when I spoke at Napier Library for a fundraising event, Geoffrey and Brenda brought along their green collection and Geoffrey enriched the discussion with the combination of his historical perspective and his technical knowledge. 
They also have several lovely very early animal figurines - this elephant:
A very cute lively little dog:
And a rabbit.
These were made in the very early experimental days at Crown Lynn, when it was still known as the Specials Department. Figurines of this type are not easy to come by - but recently friends of mine picked up two elephants at a Whangarei charity shop - one was damaged and sold for $1, the next was perfect and cost a whole $2! Amazing.
But getting back to Geoffrey and Brenda.  This very lovely vase is probably from the 1960s. The pattern is attributed to Daniel Steenstra, though I have no solid confirmation of that. It is hand potted.
Once again, I deeply regret not buying one of these when I was writing my first book - they cost a few hundred then and I never quite managed to click that 'buy now.' This is what the base looks like.
 Also important are these two vases, both made by Mirek Smisek when he worked at Crown Lynn for 18 months from 1950. They are decorated by the technique known as sgraffito - the hand potted vases were dipped in a dark brown glaze then a sharp metal pencil-like tool was used to trace patterns through the brown, exposing the pale body beneath.
Smisek marked his Crown Lynn work with the words 'Bohemia Hand Made' - it is very collectible and not easy to find these days.
 At the Crown Lynn exhibition a few years back, there was a display of at least 20 of these lovely vases, all different designs. (if I find my photo I will add it to this post, but just now I can't, despite a good solid search. The joys of computer files...)
Coming next - I have some very interesting pics from another couple of collections.
Take care