I love fine English antique porcelain and pottery. This is the department I began work in at Christie’s in London back in 1999, writes Charles Hanson.
To build the Connoisseur Ceramics department at Hansons, I am thrilled to bring in a renowned colleague who I have worked with for many years – Gill Finney.
I always endeavour to bring in the best experts I can find as consultants and I have found the very best in Gill.
From now on, Gill will be with us at our Etwall HQ every Wednesday from 10am-4pm to do free valuations in her specialist field – and she really knows her stuff.
Her speciality is 18th and 19th century English pottery and porcelain. We see several stunning examples of this and Gillian, along with her husband Alan, is an expert at valuing these wonderful objects.
Their shop, Alan Finney Antiques Ltd, in Biddulph, Staffordshire, specialises in selling ceramics from this era. Alan prefers to work with porcelain from this period because it was made to such a high standard.
Consequently, that piece of porcelain you found in granny’s loft could be worth thousands. If you have any Chelsea Derby, Bow, Longton Hall or Lowestoft pottery gathering dust at home, Gill is the person to bring it along to for assessment.
To give you an example of what to look out for - and values - a rare 1755 Bow figure of Pierrot from the Commedia dell arte is worth £1,800.
Meanwhile, you would pay £2,400 for a Chelsea Gold Anchor figure of an Imperial Shepherd, circa 1760, and a rare Bow candlestick figure of a recumbent Stag at lodge on a rococo base with a colourful floral bocage, circa 1765, is worth £1,200.
These exquisite pieces, awash with detail, capture the flavour of the period. The Bow porcelain factory, in operation from 1747 to 1776, was a rival of the Chelsea porcelain factory in the manufacture of early soft-paste porcelain in Britain.
It was originally located near Bow, in what is now the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. The earliest Bow porcelains are of soft-paste incorporating bone ash, forming a phosphatic body that was a precursor of bone china.
As well as their porcelain antiques shop, the Finneys have run Ceramic Restoration Studios Ltd since 1979. Alan has been restoring antique porcelain since 1967 – that means he has 51 years of experience.
It should come as no surprise to learn that, such is this couple’s expertise, they have clients across the world, including wealthy and celebrity customers – and, of course, Hansons. We draw on their expertise to aid our work and their restoration skills are second to none.
With nearly 90 years of combined knowledge and know-how between them, the Finneys are eminent specialists in their field and I am proud Gill is sharing her knowledge at Hansons.
She will be working alongside our head of ceramics, glassware and works of art Sonia Jackson. So, do drop in to see Gill at our saleroom in Heage, Lane, Etwall, on Wednesdays, 10am-4pm.
And don’t forget, we offer free general antique valuations on Wednesdays, 5-7pm, Fridays, 10am-4pm, and Saturdays, 9am-noon. Plus, on Tuesdays pop by for free jewellery and watch valuations with expert David Byrne, 9.30am-4.30pm, and silver valuations, 10am-4pm. In addition, Hansons’ head of jewellery Helen Smith does free jewellery and watch valuations on Fridays, 10am-4pm.