Published 31st March 2009
It was the start of British Summer Time yesterday, now there’s an oxymoron, so of course I woke up this morning and it was three degrees below – there was ice on my car. If one wasn’t British one would consider that cold weather and the summer just don’t go together – just like Bloor Derby and the Nantgarw works in Swansea, snowballs and the Mediterranean or Claude Lorrain and Naples harbour. Only a mad dog or an Englishman could link these disparate features together – so perhaps I’ll try.
I recently came across a copy of the Antique Collector magazine for June 1984, nearly an antique in its own right and found an article entitled ‘The Ongley Service lost for a Century’. Kind of strange I thought that the singularly most expensive service that the Derby porcelain works produced in the 1820’s went and got forgotten - The Derby Mercury of 1825 wrote that ‘Admirers of the fine arts … will be highly gratified (with) a most magnificent service of china which has been completed by … Mr Bloor, for the express use of a nobleman in a distant part of England’. If Muncaster Castle in Cumbria seemed a great distance then the designs on the Ongley service were a world away.