The Book as Artefact

Usually a book is just a book, but sometimes it is a rare and special object in itself, regardless of the meaning or significance of the words inside it. It might be old, or rare, or a first edition, or with special provenance, or a fine binding, or any combination of the above. Here are two very special books for your inspection. Both are editions of the Book of Common Prayer, one from 1760 and one from 1850. Both are exceptional examples of quality and innovation in printing and design, important landmarks in the development of the printed book. Which book – or perhaps I should say which artefact – do you like better? … More The Book as Artefact

Blue and White Blues

Ten thousand years from now, interstellar archaeologists are exploring Old Earth for scant remains of early human civilisations. In the ruins of a primitive computer server facility they find a single memory card which has survived the ravages of time. It contains the Random Treasure blog. They begin to read. It’s the Great Lockdown of 2020 and the blogger’s got the blues … … More Blue and White Blues

An Anomalous Pot – Episode 2: Lucie Rie

I’ve brought home this teacup made by Lucie Rie. Wow! It must immediately be placed in the central position in my collection. Make a space there, Bernard Leach, Alan Wallwork, Emmanuel Cooper, Richard Batterham, Alan Caiger-Smith, Janet Leach, Lisa Hammond! Clear the middle of the best shelf! Lucie is incoming! But here, of course, is the problem. My example of her rare and treasured output is nothing but a teacup without a saucer. It’s monochrome, matt black glaze outside, glossy grey-white tin glaze within, plain and featureless. It is so unpretentious and minimalist that you can barely see it. Put it in the middle of a shelf and it disappears. It’s a black hole… … More An Anomalous Pot – Episode 2: Lucie Rie


A few weeks ago, two Italian maiolica salts appeared in my local auction room. You know what’s coming. Yes, of course I had to buy them. … More Salt

The Colour Orange

If I ask you what’s your favourite colour, it is very unlikely that your answer will be orange. In the UK and USA, only 3% of people choose orange. In other countries it’s about 6%, but orange invariably comes in way behind the world’s favourite colours of blue, red, green and, yes, purple[1]. If you … More The Colour Orange