Vintage Pieces Add Charm at a Reasonable Cost

May 30, 2016

Vintage china or figurines can add whimsy to décor, making your rooms charming and special. Things shop specializes in one-of- a-kind, quality items that will charm your guests, and add value to your home.



For a collectible floral piece with great history and solid value, you might consider a Moorcroft vase, plate, or lamp (below, Things $200 -$325 ). People have valued Moorcroft pottery since the 1900's for its fine quality glazes and wonderful colours.  Skilled potters have produced exact colouring of flowers and berries by applying several precise layers of glaze (1).  Careful attention to the true colours of nature made the early Moorcroft pieces special.


A favourite of British monarchy and fine stores such as Tiffany’s of New York (1), Moorcroft pottery was desired by Canadians too. Canadian retailers such as Eaton's and Birks brought Moorcroft to Canadian stores after World War II (1) and the pottery is still sold in specialty shops. With the current popularity of florals, Moorcroft suits all décor. Skilled artists add new designs regularly.


Talented Moorcroft designers squeezed watered clay (called slip) onto a clay piece in a process similar to squeezing icing through a plastic bag. Rub your hand over a Moorcroft floral pottery and you will feel the ridges left by the slip lines. Potters squeezed thin flowing lines of clay to outline leaves and flowers in early work (1). When the vase or plate was fired in a kiln, the slip hardened, creating natural spaces for exact hand-painted shading (1).



Beswick figurines by Royal Doulton can also add character to a modern table. Through the years, Beswick dogs, horses and birds have been highly collectible (2).  Beswick potters portrayed animals accurately through realistic body poses, correct proportions and hand-painted glazes. Designers achieved this true look by careful preparation, including sketching real animals and by consulting breeders about a breed’s anatomy beforehand (3).


To create a Beswick figurine, liquid clay was poured into plaster molds of various body parts. When dried. The pieces were removed from the molds and carefully joined with slip (3).



Left, a 1900 Beswick mouse from Things shop ($30, up) sits on a modern cocktail table. Right, a Beswick horse  (Things $65) makes its own statement.




 You may recognize Belleek pottery  (Things $30 - $35) for its transparent tea cups and dishes. Here, a four-inch Belleek pig on a contemporary coffee table generates smiles.



For charm and good value, try shopping at Things, where quality whimsical pieces are easily found at reasonable prices.


1. Prescott-walker. Collecting Moorcroft Pottery. Francis Joseph Publications and Robert Prescott-Walker. 2002. London. 144 pp.

2. Beswick and Royal Doulton horses for sale.  [Internet]. Cited 2016 March 1. Available from

3. Dale, J. The Charlton standard catalogue of Royal Doulton Animals. 1994. The Charlton Press. Toronto. 506 pp.

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