• LandScape Magazine article

    Back in June LandScape Magazine asked me to write an article about oak trees after seeing a copy of my book. They also used several of my pictures, although there were some bought in from other sources which, for copyright reasons, I've left out here. Article looks good & magazine is a fascinating mix of country matters - a slightly more landscapy sort of version of Country Living really, but well put together. They obviously liked this piece so I've been commissioned to write another feature for the next issue - Trees in winter.

    Pick up a copy & have a looksee.

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  • Return to Found for a Pound

    Not quite sure what to make of these two porcelain plates. The pair of them were £1, so seemed to be worth a punt, but I seek more info. They are both hand painted with delightful pastoral scenes and the execution of these, combined with the shape of the plates and the quality of the glaze suggest 18th century to me. They have a great ring to them although, sadly, one has been chipped. No identifying marks beneath so manufacturer and country of origin a mystery. Have checked some of my ceramics reference books and done various Google trawls without finding anything similar.

    It's strange how often 18th and 19th century ceramics have no marks, which seems curious to me when so much work had gone into their production.

    Any clues to these two gratefully received.

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  • Pistyll Rhaeadr on my lovely woman's birthday

    Jannie's birthday yesterday, so knitted a picnic, poured everyone into the car, and headed up to Pistyll Rhaeadr in Mid Wales. What a cracking place - uber-peaceful retreat at the end of a valley. A stiff climb up the fellside to the top of the waterfall and then an infinity view across the top pool of the falls out across the wonderful glacial valley.

    Dodged the showers, sat on the edge of the falls and munched eggy sarnies and soggy chocolate cake and watched the pools of sunlight skidding across the distant hills. There was a distinct nip of autumn in the air, leaves beginning to turn and rowan berries glowing on the ancient trees springing from the crag sides.

    Checked out the four massive wild cherry trees in a field close to the end of the valley - they are the biggest of their species in Wales, and I featured them in my 'Heritage Trees Wales' book back in 2012. Sadly, half of one of them has collapsed & died.

    A splendid day. If you've never been try it - you'll love it.

    Happy Birthday Jannie XX

    Before we leave just time for a couple of gratuitous Flossie, Molly & Eric pics. That boy really thinks he's part of the pack.

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  • Found for a pound revisited

    It's pouring down today, so no car boot moochings this weekend, but last Sunday turned up a couple of found for a pound bargains.

    The Staffordshire figure of a young woman, seemingly dancing, and with a little tray of coins in her lap, is one of the genre usually known as Staffordshire flatbacks - although in this case she is in the round. Barring a few tiny chips to the paintwork she is in remarkable condition for a piece that dates back to the mid 19th century. As usual there are no pottery marks and one suspects that numerous Staffordshire factories were churning these cheap figures out for the mass market. While I have never collected these I can enjoy their rustic charm and the very period feel that their faces and fashions impart. I've tried to find out more about the reason the figure appears to have a small tray of gold coins in her lap. Is she supposed to be dancing for money? Is she even dancing? Could she be selling something? Can't think what would be small, gold & round. Fascinated to hear if anyone has a lead on this.

    Jan found this porcelain plate featuring an old print of Broadway Tower in Worcestershire. Has a lovely ring to it and is in perfect condition. Almost certainly this image would have been copied from a contemporary engraving of the day - I'm guessing c1880, but could be earlier - and yet Google doesn't come up with very many possibilities & certainly not this one. Close examination with an eyepiece reveals this to be a very finely rendered image. Again, no pottery mark underneath to aid identification and dating. Any thoughts gratefully received.

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  • Two handsome new arrivals

    Time to announce two handsome new arrivals for the historical tree archive.

    Two images drawn and etched by William De la Motte (or Delamotte) in 1805 and published January 1st 1806 feature a massive old oak tree in Rycot Park, Oxfordshire and an equally impressive beech in Windsor Forest (with the castle faintly viewed in the distance). Both trees almost certainly long gone, but you never know - a bit of canny detective work may find that they do still exist. If we think the fascination with ancient trees is a recent phenomenon then just look what was going on over 200 years ago.

    William Alfred Delamotte (1775-1863) was a renowned painter and engraver, who experimented with many print processes throughout his life. He enjoyed the patronage of King George III, and he certainly had a good eye for trees.

    (Prints or repro. rights available for both).

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