Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Another exceptional collection

When I was wandering through Dannevirke last year I stopped at the local second hand shop - of course  - and discovered an excellent collection of Crown Lynn.  Sadly you can't expect to buy these items, the owner John is not keen to sell his special pieces - but he has lots of other very interesting Crown Lynn for sale as well.  The most impressive was this Crown Lynn Mickey Mouse, complete with fraction marks on the base.
This is a very rare piece and did make me drool.. though I have to keep telling myself I can't have everything.. sometimes a photo is almost as good as the real thing. 
Then this seahorse wall vase really took my breath away. I think it is one of the most lovely things ever made at Crown Lynn. This is an earlier product and it's highly likely that it was designed by David Jenkin. The faint mark on the back - see picture below - dates it from the mid-1950s or the early 1960s.  It is a quality item, reflecting the fact that by the time it was made, they were much more skilled in design and reproduction.
You can see the faint Crown Lynn mark on the base of this vase in the centre, as well as the shape number.
Here is another very special vase - those fine white circles are hand-applied. There is a pic of an artist decorating in a similar style on my previous post.  This vase would have been hand potted, probably by Daniel Steenstra, most likely in the 1960s. It has the typical Crown Lynn mark on the base.

Another rather special treasure from Dannevirke is this shell. To be honest, at the time, I wasn't sure that it was Crown Lynn, but then I had a look on the New Zealand Pottery website and there it is - number 630. Crown Lynn made several different shells.  After Crown Lynn closed, this shape was also made by Studio Ceramics, in white.

If you saw this rather odd decoration, you wouldn't necessarily think of Crown Lynn, but indeed it is, number 555. Its only purpose is decorative; it's not even a vase. You just hang it on the wall and look at it. Hmmmm not to my taste, but very special nonetheless.

Likewise, it took me a while to realise that Crown Lynn also made swallows - remember those three birds on a wall which used to be everywhere and now they're rare and collectable.
The number on the base caused me a few problems. I thought it was 199 and couldn't find any reference to it on the website - till helpful Ev pointed out that if I looked at it from a different angle, the number was 561.  Then... another lovely person pointed out that this is definitely a Crown Lynn swallow, as it has a slot in the side of the hole on the base to ensure that when you hang it on a nail on the wall it sits at the right angle. Wonderful.. I didn't know that till today. Here is the full discussion on swallows from the NZ Pottery site.
John also showed me a very lovely early vase. This is number 69, again it has fraction marks indicating that the makers were experimenting with the glaze and/or the clay body.
The last item from my Dannevirke photos is this little - um - vase I guess you'd call it. This shape and others like it are fairly common because they were often handed out as promotional gifts by various businesses. I have included it because of its colour.  I have a similar one in an equally bright mauve/purple and you also see it in pink. A friend has one where the bricks are artistically painted in brick-like colours.  Most of Crown Lynn's decorations are more muted, it's nice to see something bright now and then.  
More soon - it won't be such a long break next time, now we are back at home and being serious about life again after a lovely few weeks camping, fishing, etc etc.
Take care


  1. Some lovely pieces. I have the seahorse vase, with a tiki mark.

  2. Hi Val
    Ros Martin here. What's the significance of Putaruru in your blog name???

    1. Hi Ros, good to hear from you.. we were living in Putaruru at the time, and I had considerable trouble with the naming process for my blog.... this was about my 4th (grumpy) attempt! I would prefer a Crown Lynn theme but now I worry, if I change the name of my blog, does that mean the links change? Life is full of puzzling questions.