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


  1. The large Smisek and Steenstra vases are beautiful of course, but so are the little green ones in a different way. How wonderful that you met the Clarks.

  2. I have one of the beautiful green vases with the triangle dot pattern on it and Crown Lynn No 1. hand marked on the base. I purchased it on Trademe a few years ago for $300 from a woman raising fund for her son's school exchange year overseas. It looks unused and is 14cm high. Any idea of it's value now???

  3. Hi I am very sorry, but I don't value items.. the market is too volatile and everything is worth what someone will pay on the day! You have two options - ask a professional valuer, eg Brian Ronson from Epsom Antiques in Auckland, or else trawl TradeMe until you see a similar vase for sale. Though you don't often see these on the market, so you might have to do a lot of trawling! (try searching for Crown Lynn vase green or something similar so you don't have to wander through 20000 Crown Lynn entries.) All the best. What a lovely thing to own.