Sunday, 13 February 2011

Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

I'm off to Manchester tomorrow to audition for the next series of Antiques Master. I've been asked to bring an antique with me and I've been looking around the house to find something suitable. Believe it or not, this is my favourite antique. Marion likens it to something you might win at a tacky bingo stall at the fairground but she nonetheless indulges me by letting her stand serenely in the dining room. At over two feet tall, she is a big chunk of pottery. Made in Japan about a hundred or so years ago, she is Guan Yin (sometimes known as Kannon or Kwannon),the Buddhist goddess of compassion, and I love her.

I love her mostly for her serenity which has a strangely relaxing influence on me but I also love the intricacy of the decoration on her costume which is quite beautifully done. The only problem is that carting her to Manchester might be a bit of a chore although my other favourites are not exactly tiny.

There's this slightly risque art nouveau statue Papillon, a winged female, by the Bretby pottery but she's a bit delicate and has too many protrusions to risk the journey.

Or there's this fabulous (ok I said beauty is in the eye of the beholder), cat painted with huge cabbage roses by the famous Wemyss artist Joe Nekola but the people doing the audition might think that this is not quite antique enough and then there's this sensuous Italian bronze diver but she weighs a ton.

So I think I will take this coffee pot. It's over 230 years old and was made locally in Liverpool so I should be able to spout on about it sufficiently for the purpose of the audition which is intended to check if I can be enthusiastic about antiques and I don't think that anybody who knows me would doubt that.

We're off to see our pregnant daughter Sarah in a few days so Marion has been up in the attic rooting through the boxes of the kids' books to find all the ones suitable for the very young. Some of them are thirty years old now - not quite antique but almost vintage. There are hundreds of books up there and as we went through them the memories flooded back - Grandfather Gregory wheels his wheelbarrow whilst the Very Hungry Caterpillar is still very hungry and Little Tiger and Little Bear's Panama still smells of bananas - wonderful.

Whatever happens at the audition tomorrow I hope that it doesn't go like this - tragic for a passionate collector.