Steppes Hill Farm Antiques Newsletter #9 - March 2012
I have been requested by David to write the Steppes Hill Farm Antiques March Newsletter and my immediate thoughts were to ask oneself what is going to be the main theme.

At this time of year, I must confess that the British Antique Dealers Fair at The Duke of York's, tends to take priority, and having just completed the fair, I have decided to use the Antique Fairs as my theme. It does in fact give me the opportunity to reminisce, especially as I am in my forty fifth year of exhibiting at various Antique Fairs including little local one day Village Hall events up to the dizzy heights of Grosvenor House and the International Ceramics & Silver Fairs at the Dorchester Hotel in London. I can assure you that not only have they been commercially successful, but above everything else most enjoyable, as many of our clients have become great friends. Over forty five years, there are many stories that one could tell, but I will have to limit myself owing to space, to two or three which readily come to mind.

The first one was at Grosvenor House, when a rather well built lady came onto the stand and asked if I would be interested in buying a pair of Derby figures which she wished to sell. My immediate reply was that I may well be interested, but could she either bring them to the Fair or send me a photograph. I was politely informed that she would send them in with the Chauffeur. As she left the stand, my neighbour came across and said, I presume you recognised that lady, I said "No", and was told that it was Princess Margaret! I had failed to recognised her! I am sure you are all anxious to know if I purchased the Derby Figures, the answer was No. Whilst on the subject of The Royal Family, one member who I did recognised was Prince Charles, who came onto the stand at a lovely Fair that we exhibited at in The Royal Academy, his opening remark was a classic - turning to his equerry he said;"This is the old bull in the china shop", referring to my farming interest.

Steppes Hill Farm Antiques at the British Antique Dealers' Association Fair

One of the most amusing stories that I can remember occurred at a small fair in Horsham, Sussex, when I had as neighbours a couple of old soaks, a husband and wife team, whose main stock was bottles of Famous Grouse Whiskey and bottles of Gordons Gin. The husband who was a retired Colonel would wonder off and buy an object, returning to the stand to say to his wife – "Oh darling, I have just purchased this lovely Tea Caddy", to which she would reply "Take the so and so thing back, I don't like it". Off he toddled to return the object to the dealer from whom he had purchased it, only to return a short time later with yet another Tea Caddy, receiving the same reception from his irate wife! This process must have happened at least ten times throughout the Fair. The actual climax to this story came at the break down period on the last day when their carrier, by the name of Ferbie, grabbed a Longcase Clock by the trunk, thinking he could man-handle the clock in one piece, only for the hood to fall off straight on top of his head, cutting it open and causing blood to stream everywhere. The wife, holding a glass of whiskey, marched across and said "Oh Ferbie what have you done to my lovely Clock", showing no sympathy to dear old Ferbie who by this stage was flat out on the floor!

I could go on and on, but I think this is more than enough for this Newsletter. I suggest you watch this space, but I doubt if David will ever let me write another.

To conclude, I must take a more serious note, and answer a question which I am asked quite frequently, what is your favourite piece of Silver or Porcelain that you have owned over your forty five years in the trade, the answer is of course is quite a number, but without doubt one of them is actually in our catalogue at the present time, namely the charming little early Worcester Cream Boat painted with an unrecorded interior border in the famille rose style. Although this is a typical design for the 1753 period, I have not seen another example with this decoration.

An extremely rare and unusual Early Worcester Creamboat with angular handle with thumbpiece, the fluted body with flared lip, painted in a famille verte palette with flowering peonies and trailing leaves, the interior with an unrecorded border containing shagreen and diaper panels reserved with yellow chrysanthemums.

Unmarked, c1763

Other Recent Acquisitions can be viewed by hovering on the scrolling image bars on the home page of the web site.

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