As soon as Charlie returned from the Palm Beach Design Centre we drove to the Lake District. As the motorway exit signs for Birmingham, Stoke-on-Trent, Manchester, Liverpool, Lancaster, and others, flashed past I began to think about the impact of the manufacturing heart of the Victorian British Empire on our market. A huge percentage of Wick Antiques’ stock must have originated in this part of the world. Ample finance, raw materials and constant technical improvements, coupled with design innovation kick-started by the Great Exhibition in 1851, mass production and a global market, resulted in the emergence of some iconic British brands. Above we have a striking coromandel cabinet by Lamb of Manchester inset with Wedgwood (representing the great potteries of Stoke-on-Trent) jasperware plaques.
Also from Stoke is a Sheffield (centre of silverware, flatware and plate) solid silver tea set presented to Sir Stanley Matthews by Stoke City Football Club after a record 44 appearances for England. This is flanked by a pair of Osler (Birmingham, London, Calcutta) frosted and etched glass chandeliers and a BSA (Birmingham Small Arms Company) Bantam 125 barn find. Below is a novelty clock with Birmingham hall marks for 1939 in the form of a ship’s boiler.
Further north our Liverpool examples are proof that the fine arts and bespoke commissions existed side by side with the mass produced wares of the great factories. ‘Florence’ was commissioned from Liverpool sculptor Charles E Smith and exhibited at the Liverpool Fine Art Institute 1865, while the ship’s portrait by John Jenkinson underlines the importance of Liverpool as a transport hub. Finally from Lancaster, home of the famous Gillows family of furniture makers, these spectacular wine cisterns are just some examples from a whole Gillows collection in our show rooms.
The rather poignant postscript to our journey came at breakfast next day as we sat down to a traditional English breakfast in a traditional English inn, The Pheasant, Bassenthwaite, served on pretty floral china. I turned over a plate. It read ‘Villeroy & Boch Made in Germany’. Wedgwood was finally sold to a Finnish company in 2015 after Irish and American ownership. Evidently nowadays to ‘buy British’ one has to ‘buy old’. On a happier note I acquired a bronze bear from further north still, Russia, and Charlie found a cabinet by I & W Banting who became famous not only for their furniture (and coffins as funeral directors to the Royal Household) but also for publishing the first successful weight loss diet. Finally, as thoughts turn to the most northerly place of all, where a certain red-suited gentleman and numerous elves are working hard to load sleighs with presents, it just remains to wish you a very happy Christmas from all at Wick Antiques and Lymington Restoration.
Having previously supplied Harrods antiques department for 22 years, Charles Wallrock of Wick Antiques offers his expertise and professional knowledge to help you buy and sell your antiques.
Wick Antiques was established by Charles Wallrock in the early 1980s. Having grown up in the Antiques world Charles developed an extensive wealth of knowledge.