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2019 Annual Weekend and AGM
(Uploaded 14/06/19)
2019 Annual Weekend photo montage

Wow look at this, isn’t it fantastic! The kind of comment often heard at the start of the annual Shelley gathering at Telford as treasures are unpacked for displays, but for once the remarks were also made at the end of the weekend as some lucky members viewed the fabulous pattern books held in the archives at Stoke and the reserve collection at the nearby museum. More than 45 members and guests began the weekend staying Friday night at the Holiday Inn, Telford.

Quiz 2019

After registration and dinner there was a social evening where everybody was divided into teams to tackle a series of quizzes prepared by Olwen Dudgeon.  Anagrams of vegetables, wordsearch for names of girls, another Shelley jigsaw and general knowledge questions brought the usual complaints of “too difficult” but it got people mixing. When Elaine Whittaker finished totalling up the points the winners from the six teams proved to be Vincent, who generously shared their chocolates prize.

John Barter Around the World talk at Annual Weekend 2019 Saturday began with those entering the Pot Show setting up their decorated boxes while those new arrivals, not there to register the evening before, collected packs and their special Shelley notebooks. After a welcome from chairman Gerry Pearce, John Barter began the first half of his talk Around the World in Eighty pots, a Shelley and Wileman homage to Jules Verne’s tale of Phileas Fogg. Rather than the Reform Club in Pall Mall he started with a Savoy jelly mould and a Strand shaped cup, then travelled via a Puff Puff mug and Eurostar to Amsterdam with a tulip vase, Delphic windmills, Dutch children, before moving on to Copenhagen and a Mabel Lucie Atwell mermaid. France included magnificent Brittany Faience chargers, followed by a quick detour for a Roumanian lustre pattern. Italian examples included Naples pattern before moving to the Aegean sea and black Grecian scroll on Carlisle shape.A wonderful Dainty cheese dish with crocuses hinted at Saffron brought back from the Holy Land before a quick trip to the George Cross winning island of Malta, back to Egypt in time for some Cleopatra pattern and then lions in South Africa. John then showed us some magnificent Persian patterns on vases and a Snowdrop cup and saucer as well as some splendid peacocks before ending the first half of the journey with examples for India and Ceylon, now Sri Lanka.
Display of items in the Square shape

The next talk was by Dick Gapen on the “Wonderful world of Square” as he put it. This shape, number 6559, was the first registered by Wileman in 1884. Four types of patterns were used, Imari, chintz, some beautiful large flower prints and abstract, as well as specials such as Queen Victoria’s 50th Jubilee. An avid moustache cup collector, Dick described his research so far and spoke longingly about the 15 patterns he has not yet found.

Gaye Blake-Roberts

After a coffee break and a chance to view the square examples in the cabinets and the other displays, Gaye Blake-Roberts, the curator of the Wedgwood Museum gave the second part of her talk on the history of ceramics following on from her first a few years ago. Illustrations included some magnificent Majolica pie dishes and changing teapot shapes as her talk ranged from the Great Exhibition of 1851 to the publication 10 years later of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management. The whole way of life and of eating was changing as railroad travel altered the economy bringing the growth of suburbs.

Lunch was followed by Part 2 of 'Around the World in Eighty Pots' beginning with China, including J. F. Wileman patterns called Canton Views, some Walter Slater lustre dragons and a grotesque or two. John then took us via Japan and Geisha girls to Australia and the unusual for UK collectors, Spurt Pea pattern. Souvenir views and crested ware carried us East to New Zealand before touching land in South America with a parrot. For the United States his choices included a Baker’s chocolate cup, a Boston cup shape and butters in Boston, Chicago and Detroit plus a wonderful Intarsio vase featuring native Americans. Then it was on via Bermuda, to Canada, Ireland and the 1938 Festival of Empire in Glasgow to the end at John’s home in Frinton-on-Sea.

Display of countryside patternsThe next to the microphone was David Deller illustrating the Countryside with Shelley and Wileman patterns. He began with Eric Slater’s six scenes of Old England which appeared on plates, ginger jars, teapots, jugs and smaller items. The factory also produced a wide range of patterns featuring the country pursuits hunting, shooting and fishing. Hunting included fox and stag hunting while an early Wileman cup and saucer showing a gun dog with a duck in its mouth from Sporting Scenes, reflected a shooting example, while the monks fishing series showed that pursuit.The countryside would also not be complete without its farms and many farmyard animals are featured including ducks on menu cards, geese and chickens on Intarsio, rural scenes on teasets and in children’s decorations. Country inns, windmills, bridges and cottages were also popular subjects reflected in Surrey scenery with some of the same images later being used for Glorious Devon. David also reminded us about Kingfishers and butterflies found in the countryside.

Chris Davenport Annual Weekend 2019

Chris Davenport briefly diverted from his talk about Original Drawings and Designs from the Factory, by showing us three copper plates which had recently come into his possession. One had the signature of Jack Heron, the decorating manager before Ray Reynolds while the largest had been engraved for Buchanan’s Red Seal Whisky.Moving on to drawings and designs he said many had no signatures. The majority of those signed carry the initials of Frederick Rhead, the Arts Director from 1895 to 1905. He illustrated with a small selection including a Snowdrop cup design and a Pate-sur-Pate vase. He also showed members several cup shape drawings of an intricate design which never went into production and some designs on plates, one signed by S. Hartley, believed to be artist Stephen Hartley who produced some designs for Wileman. Chris also put Ray’s scrapbook on show containing many fascinating illustrations.


AGM 2019David Cox reported to the AGM he had so far received 85 returned Data Protection forms. The chairman’s report had been distributed and the annual accounts adopted. Gerry said it had been a successful year, unlike other similar collecting groups which had gone out of existence. Membership was stable and he praised David and Shirley Deller for producing excellent magazines and Brian Hill for his work on the website. Two students had been selected for grants from the group. He said the Committee had decided to use funds from the sale of items from Jill Burridge’s collection for much needed conservation work on the pattern books. Quotes were now being obtained but it was estimated the total cost would be more than £13,000 and both the Australian and US groups had agreed to contribute towards the final cost. Three books have already been done from funds raised following Ray’s death, the books contained work by him.The treasurer Linda Ellis said no subscription increase was needed and the meeting agreed also accepting a new auditor as a result of a retirement.

Ian and Sheila Davies retiring North West representatives

Elaine Whittaker retiring Membership Secretary

Elaine Whittaker having stood down as membership secretary, John Barter was elected in her place. Ian and Sheila Davies were thanked for their work as they stood down as organisers for the North West and Olwen Dudgeon was elected to cover the whole of the North and Scotland. All other officers and positions were re-elected. David Cox proposed a vote of thanks to Gerry. After the close of the meeting members voted on pot show entries before preparing for the silent auction and Gala Dinner.

Entries in the auction ranged from Elkin Knight plates to a part Regent coffee set, and from Georgian shaped trios to a Shelley advertising booklet. Eileen Gore was delighted to find she had the winning ticket for Enid Foley’s spectacular cake based on a Japan pattern square jug among those on display.

Sarh Hardy curator manager De Montford FoundationThe after-dinner speaker was Sarah Hardy, Curator- Manager of the De Morgan Foundation who spoke enthusiastically about the work of both Evelyn and William de Morgan. A talented artist who attended the Slade school of Art, Evelyn hated the material life and staid patriarchal society and her art reflected a love of flora with a more spiritual and feminist agenda. Many members were aware of William’s pottery with its magnificent lustre ware but the illustrations used by Sarah showed the couple were equally talented. When his pottery business closed in 1907 William went on to be a best-selling author. His sister amassed a spectacular collection of their work which can now be seen at three sites.

Shelley snake 2019

Sunday began with John Barter describing the items brought for the Shelley snake, a line-up of items beginning with L or LL, continuing to use letters from the word Shelley. This year’s delights included Lloyd George parian busts, a lustre vase showing lanterns, Lomond shaped trios, Lowestoft pattern plate, maps and crested ware of Llandudno, long legged girls of Hilda Cowham and a hat with the name of that really long named Welsh place that would add a paragraph to this report! An amazing variety on offer but Shirley Deller reminded everyone the L also stands for love and laughter, two things found in the Shelley group. There was sadness for those no longer with us such as poet David Whitehead as she read one of his popular poems.

David Cox speaking at 2019 Annual WeekendThoughts were also with some other members selected for the Five Good Men presentation, who could not be present through age or family ill health. Following on last year when five women were asked to answer questions such as their first purchase, and item still wanted. Bob Beatty revealed he would like a red tapestry chintz pattern (14284) on Ripon shape while Steve Palmer wants a yellow loganberry coffee set in Eve shape Bob Nicol-Smith, pictured in a splendid waistcoat proudly showing a New York teapot on a tray as his latest purchase, would rescue his Grotesques in a crisis. Howard Ward, who was present, still wants to add to his Japan collection and would like Antique shape pattern 7868. Finally, David Cox winding up the presentation said Gerry Pearce wants a Watson whisky flask with a hunting scene decoration.

Olwen Dudgeon speaking at Annual Weekend 2019Last speaker of the weekend was Olwen Dudgeon with her Survey of milk jugs. While each Wileman shape has its own jug that is not the same for the Shelley production. She described how some shapes did not have their own jugs but used those from other sets in a “mix and match” typical of the factory in later years. This included Vincent jugs for Kenneth and Doric for example. She also described how some shapes were changed post war, including Gainsborough and Mayfair, which used the same body but different handles.One of the most exciting discoveries made in time to go in the display was an Edward milk jug, which most collectors had never seen before.  This rarity was from the collection of Bob Nicol-Smith. Eventually it is planned to put the jug survey on the website, like the cup shapes.

Oranges and Lemons - pot show winner
The winner of the pot show was aptly Howard Ward with his colourful Oranges and Lemons entry, second was Gerry Pearce with his Birds Nest Soup coupe and third David Drayton with his A Flutterby of Butterflies.There was the usual variety on sale at the afternoon bring and buy before a slice of fruit cake from another Enid Foley creation. Ian Davies won the raffle for a pot painted by Ray which previously belonged to Jill Burridge, then it was time to pack up for another year.

The next day several members travelled to Stoke and in addition to viewing the wonderful pattern books in the library, groups were taken into the basement at the nearby museum to see the reserve collection. Among the shelves of spectacular porcelain and pottery are the 14 Wileman trios donated from Jill’s wonderful collection and some newly arrived examples of Intarsio. A splendid finish to the weekend.

2018 Annual Weekend & AGM Report