As regular readers will know, my husband R is something of a pothead - and I don't mean he's constantly high on herbal substances, I mean that he has something of an addiction to ceramics. I, on the other hand, am not usually interested in old stuff unless it's made of paper. But occasionally our interests do coincide and I know he would be as interested in this exhibit at the NEC as I am so and as we haven't seen each other for days, this one's for you babe!
At every Antiques for Everyone fair they have a feature display and this year's is provided by the Worcester Porcelain Museum who, surprisingly (but wonderfully for me) have brought things almost entirely made of paper and they very generously allowed me to photograph them this morning. These two photo books for instance are part of the extensive photographic records that Worcester kept of the various ornamental shapes that were available. The cost price was added in a retailer's code: CHELMSFORD where C=1, H=2, E=3... and so on. This is a practise which is widespread in the book trade and if you are browsing books in many of the top book establishments in the UK and elsewhere you might notice a series of letters under the price, this is likely to be a representation of what the bookdealer paid for the book in a similar code so that discounts can be rapidly calculated without loosing all the profit. These books date from around 1910.
Below the photographs, we have some beautiful hand-painted pattern books from the 1920s and then the final book, which shows a cup and saucer, and is displayed with the physical object, is a book of designs that was put together exclusively for Asprey's in the 1920s for their customers to order from. It's a brilliantly impressive display of the documentary and design work that goes on behind the scenes in the creation of beautiful objects. Also impressive was the generous and open way in which the collection appears to be managed for the benefit of researchers and other interested parties - good work Worcester Porcelain Museum!