Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The appeal of Beswick

We hope to use these pages to highlight interesting items that are coming up for sale, to share our newsletters, to provide useful information on antique styles and terminology and also to provide a brief history of some of our most popular designers and makers.

So the arrival of an impressive collection of Beswick horses and other animals in our office this week has, unsuprisingly, prompted a post about the Beswick potteries.

J W Beswick was founded in the early 1890s by James Wright Beswick and his sons John and Gilbert and was based at Longton, Stoke on  Trent and initially focused on tableware and Staffordshire style cats and dogs.  When James Wright Beswick died in 1921 the company continued to develop under his grandson John Ewart Beswick and in 1936 became a limited company, John Beswick Ltd.

In 1934 high fired bone china was introduced which meant the company could produce high quality, fine detailed bone china figurines. 
(Fireside dogs sold for between £75 and £100 each)
In 1939 Arthur Gredington was appointed as chief modeller and the company began to produce farm animals and Arthur's range of 190 Rearing Horsemen which became one of the largest and most popular collections.  Early animal figures had been more humorous in semi-human poses but under decorating manager Jim Hayward there was a move towards more lifelike animal portrayals.  In 1945 the company was able to expand into the adjoining factory.

In 1947 Lucy Beswick suggested modelling the illustrations from Beatrix Potter's books and in 1948 the company secured the right to reproduce 10 of the characters starting with Jemima Puddle-Duck.  In 1952 they went on to produce a range of Disney characters including Snow White and Bambi. 

(Sold for £190 in September 2009)

In 1969 the company was sold to Royal Doulton who continued to produce some animal figures but by 1989 the Beswick backstamp had been dropped and replaced by a Royal Doulton Royal Albert DA stamp.

The range of Beatrix Potter figurines was reintroduced in 1998 but by the end of 2002 Royal Doulton stopped producing Beswick products and sold off the potteries.

In 2005 the brand name, moulds and archive material were bought by another company who now produce a range of animal figures under the name John Beswick. (for more information see Wikipedia)

A wide selection of pieces come through our saleroom both in the General Sales and the Fine Art and Antique auctions (see above for some examples from recent sales)  and prices can range from about £20 for a couple of small pieces upto £750 for this pair of boys on their ponies,

so it will be interesting to see how the recent arrivals will sell.

No comments: