Antique Collecting March Editorial

JohnAndrewsJohn Andrews, Managing Editor of Antique Collecting, explores this month’s annual Ceramics Issue.

This month we come round once again, with what seems like astonishing speed, to the annual Ceramics Issue. The membership of the ACC has always had a keen phalanx of ceramics collectors. At the last survey some 40 percent of respondees recorded porcelain as a major interest and 27 percent were keen on pottery. There is probably considerable overlap between these two, which are by no means mutually exclusive. Various ceramics circles concentrate on particular factories and potteries, covering every kind of production from individual hand output to sophisticated industrial lines. Ceramics provide great ease of collecting because they don’t need pantechnicons to transport them but the disadvantage of damage always lurks in the offing. The Ceramics Issue (subscribe here) is a popular one and we are lucky to have contributors who are not just experts in their field but also transparantly enthusiastic about collecting. The combination of raw material and chemical technology, sculptural expertise, and artistic application of painted decoration entrances them, not surprisingly, making the finished article an object of wonder.

An example of kerámiaüzem ceramics
An example of kerámiaüzem ceramics

The recent popularity in Czech and Bohemian 20th-century glass has been well documented, in these pages as well as others, as collectors learn more about the artistic talents hidden behind the Iron Curtain. Another area destined for an explosion of interest is surely that of post-war Hungarian ceramics. The Hungarian government’s investment in the decorative arts was one of the reasons for the emergence of some of Europe’s finest ceramacists and we are delighted to preview an upcoming exhibition that illuminates an industry tantalisingly concealed for many years.

We do not neglect indigenous pottery in our view of things, nor indigenous porcelain, but it is inevitable that the rise of the Chinese economy should have brought great emphasis to the early pieces that come up for auction here. The tremendous wealth circulating in the Far East has accelerated demand for rare Chinese work. Its sale and the rebalancing of economic power in collecting create headlines that eclipse some remarkable sales of local and European output. The European ceramicists have always acknowledged their debt to the Far East and other sources. Visitors to Istanbul will also have observed the attractions of Iznik ceramics and their influence far outside Turkey, so Walter Denny’s article this month is entirely apposite.

Dealer Alison Davey
Auctioneer Alison Davey

We also shine a light on the Scottish porcelain industry at the end of the Victorian period as Victoria Irvine profiles the Nautilus Porcelain Company, while Alison Davey who last year set a world record for Martin Brothers ware when she paid £91,500 for a bird jar reflects on the market for this distinctive stoneware.

In every special issue of the magazine we still aim to provide articles on antiques outside the subject speciality so that general interests still have something else to enjoy. In this case we look at Canaletto’s painting in London.

We also welcome a new columnist to the magazine Edd Thomas who is one of a new breed of antiques dealer. While the older generation may feel close to despair for what we imagine is the younger generation’s disregard for antique furniture Edd is a breath of fresh air. This month he writes on the perennial topic of the future of brown furniture. We love to hear your opinions at the magazine. If you would like to get in touch please email me on

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