Steppes Hill Farm Antiques Newsletter #7 - January 2012
May I first of all take this opportunity to wish you a very happy, peaceful and prosperous 2012, from all of us at Steppes Hill Farm Antiques.

Slightly "Bucking the trend" (excuse the pun) we had a busy time leading up to Christmas and business was brisk. January has been a little slower, but we are already gearing up for the BADA Fair in March and I have also managed to find quite a few interesting new items of stock to re-populate the web site.

I have become increasingly fascinated by Victorian silver and gold mechanical Pencils, particularly the Novelty and Figural types produced mainly by Sampson Mordan & Co in the mid to late 19th century. They seem to reflect the culture and passions of the Victorian period so well. If it moved or you could eat it, shoot it or swing it, play it or perform with it, covet or dispute it, then the chances are a silver Pencil was made to represent it. Owls, Pigs, Foxes, Horses, Chickens, Ducks, Cats, Dogs, Frogs, Fish, Fans, Boats, Axes, Knives, Corkscrews, Cutlery, Whistles, Flutes, Pipes, Cricket Bats, Tennis Rackets, Golf Clubs, Umbrellas, Gavels, Keys, Hammers, Screws, Nails, Plumb Bobs, Paint Brushes, Rulers, Lanterns, Telescopes, Matches, Mallets, Whips, Bullets, Guns, Artillery Shells, Daggers, Bottles, Pillar Boxes, Clocks, Crosses, Quills, Egyptian Artifacts, Political and Satirical Characters to name but a few, were all produced by Sampson Mordan and others in the form of a mechanical novelty pencil. In some instances the subject represented a significant current event, such as the Percussion Pistol dated July 6th 1840. It is likely that these were made to commemorate an assassination attempt on Queen Victoria, by one Edward Oxford, who was tried for high treason at the Old Bailey on July 6th 1840, but was acquitted on the grounds of insanity and sent to Bethlehem Hospital. I think it is more than likely that several of these novelty pencils have as yet undiscovered and undocumented links to events in the turbulent Victorian era.

Although these 'Ultimate Mordans' are of great appeal to collectors, the imaginative approach was also applied to the standard range of propelling and sliding Pencils. Great innovations are shown for instance by the multi-coloured and combination pencils also produced by the prolific manufacturer.

This months 'Featured Item', or items, will hopefully give you a taste of what is available in this large and increasingly popular Collectible Category.

The details of the Pencils illustrated are as follows:-

Other recent finds include a pair Chelsea Gold Anchor Dessert Plates on claret grounds, a George III silver Wine Label for Calcavella with an unusual border, a pair Davenport Bough Pots & Covers painted with beautiful sprays of flowers, a nice quality Victorian silver Travelling Collapsible Beaker by Henry William Dee, a Dr Wall Worcester Slop Bowl of small size, a rare Victorian silver Jester Bookmark, a First Period Worcester Famille Rose Trio and a fine set of four early 20th century large cast silver Pheasant Menu Holders.

Pair Chelsea Gold Anchor Dessert Plates Pair Davenport Bough Pots & Covers Dr Wall Worcester Slop Bowl First Period Worcester Famille Rose Trio
George III Antique Silver Wine Label 'Calcavella' Victorian Antique Silver Travelling Collapsible Beaker Rare Victorian Antique Silver Jester Bookmark Large Cast Silver Pheasant Menu Holders

As I mentioned at the start of this newsletter, we are now preparing for the annual British Antique Dealers' Association Fair (21-27 March 2012). Now considered Britain's most prestigious national fair, collectors and art enthusiasts all eagerly await its opening and the opportunity to browse the fine works of art for sale under one roof.

The BADA Antiques & Fine Art Fair opens on Wednesday 21 March 2012 and, for just one week, visitors will be able to buy top quality art and antiques from the UK's leading experts.

British experts offer quality and choice
100 members of the prestigious British Antique Dealers' Association offer for sale fine furniture, paintings, glittering silver, jewellery, ceramics, textiles and beautiful works of art. From Chippendale to Cartier, Tompion to Turner, there is something for all discerning individuals who share a passion for quality. All exhibitors are knowledgeable experts in their chosen specialisation and for many the BADA Fair is their annual showcase in London giving visitors a rare opportunity to select from a wealth of quality stock not usually available together under one roof.

A unique venue in a unique setting
The BADA Fair's unique venue, a purpose-built pavilion standing on the Duke of York Square, in the heart of Chelsea, provides the perfect setting for both browsers and buyers. Visitors enjoy facilities which are synonymous with the quality of the exhibits for sale: an a la carte lunch menu is offered by top caterers in the Fair's own Cellini Restaurant with more sparkling refreshment available from the Taittinger Champagne Bar. Shippers are available to advise, pack and ship purchases to anywhere in the world.

We look forward to welcoming you to the BADA Antiques & Fine Art Fair at the Duke of York Square, by Sloane Square, London.

If you are not already on our mailing list please be in contact should you require complimentary tickets for the BADA Fair.

I do hope that you will find this Newsletter informative and helpful and will allow us send it to you on a regular basis. I would welcome any feedback you may have, both positive and negative.

David W.A. Buck.
Steppes Hill Farm Antiques