China to Brazil

Here’s a nineteenth century Staffordshire Willow Pattern plate. You don’t need to be an expert to know this. It isn’t rare or valuable, so why did I buy it? Because it’s rather special: a plate with a story to tell. A plate which shouldn’t be here in Britain. It should be in Brazil. … More China to Brazil

Sycamore and Oak

Two objects made of wood: a tiny sycamore container and a Chippendale-style oak chair. You might think that other than the material, there wouldn’t be much similarity between them. But there you would be wrong. These pieces tell striking parallel stories about woodworking at the highest level of craftsmanship in Scottish small-town settings. … More Sycamore and Oak

Hoarding Alert!

I don’t usually do much introspection. Frankly, my innermost thoughts and feelings aren’t all that interesting. But suddenly I feel the need to unburden myself. I’m worried. My problem: a developing habit of buying up auction job lots. It’s getting worse. Am I morphing from collector into hoarder? Help! Hoarding alert! … More Hoarding Alert!


I have recently added three pieces of slipware to my collection. You might ask: what’s slipware? What awful old broken chipped cracked pots is he gonna show us now? Why should we be interested? Well, I think some slipware pots are fascinating and beautiful objects, and I’m hoping you will think so too. … More Slipware

Natural Habitat: Part 1

I’ve been out of my natural habitat, on safari in South Africa. Picture me, elderly, urban, bookish, hurtling through the bush in an open-topped truck, in pursuit of miscellaneous wildlife. Could anything be more incongruous? And yet, I enjoyed – no, adored – every moment. And oddly, curiously, I felt quite at home. I wonder why? … More Natural Habitat: Part 1