• The return of Found for a Pound

    It's been a while, but one or two folks have said that they enjoy my occasional offerings on the Found for a Pound theme so here we go again. You simply never know what's going to turn up next.....

    Not many properties on the market for £1 these days, but this bijou compact country cottage complete with two black cats didn't even require a mortgage. Cash buyer. No chain. Cannot find anything out about it so far, but I suspect it is European rather than British in origin. Date? I'm guessing late C19th.

    This lovely little cut glass ink well with ground pontil base dates from around 1870 - perfect condition and certainly an excellent quidsworth.

    Jan found this handsome little spalted beech bowl for £1. I'm always entranced by turnery and knowing what a fine line between rot and reward this diseased wood can be makes these pieces very special.

    Finally, and I have to admit that it actually cost £2, this large tumbler with a remarkable engraved view of Alnwick Castle has posed me all sorts of problems. Brought it home and decided to try and find something out about it or something similar online. Bingo! A rather poor quality image of one as sold by a local auction house in 2013 - listed as a 'modern north-eatern tumbler'. Closer inspection of the image and seeing various defining marks and inclusions in the glass made me realise it was, or is, one and the same piece. The texture of the glass, the ground pontil to the base and the style of engraving leads me to a period some time around 1800. Examination of the actual image reveals a spire among the crenellated towers of the castle. This was blown down in a storm in 1812. So it would appear that whoever engraved the glass worked from a pre-1812 engraving of the view. But was that work of the period or was the engraving made later? Another tiny clue that leads me to think it's early is barely discernable, but when I studied the engraving closely with a lens I discovered the remnants of gilding around some of the edges of the buildings - particularly the group of houses on the right - gilding being very much a feature of work done around the turn of the C18th. Whatever we find out in the end I feel sure it certainly isn't 'modern', but then many craftsmen copied earlier styles throughout the C19th and well into the C20th. As far as I know the people at Alnwick Castle have never seen one of these, but they are kindly sending me a copy of a painting in their collection, executed in the early C19th, which depicts this view. The investigations continue.....

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