I really do enjoy talking about the things I love. I just always hope that the people listening to me enjoy it too! Thankfully, that certainly seemed to be the case when I visited the Reigate Antiques Collectors Society in leafy Surrey yesterday evening.
Societies are strange animals today. All too often superb events organised by what appears to be a thriving society only attract a very few members on the day, despite the fact that membership numbers are large. I should imagine that the increasingly busy lives we all lead today account for a large part of the reason behind this. I always think this is a shame, as those who don't attend are sure to miss out.
What I found in Reigate was very different, however. Over 70 members turned up to listen to me speak about new markets in 20th century glass. Not only that, but they were charming, enthusiastic, interested and inquisitive - they sure gave me a run for my money! I'm not complaining though. It's always much better to have a dialogue about the objects we love, as different reactions can spawn all manner of new avenues of thought.
As you can see from the front page of my presentation, I covered a huge range of glass makers from Dartington to Hartley Wood to Mdina to Stevens & Williams and postwar Czech glass. I always bring a large box of glass with me when I do events such as this. A picture speaks a thousand words, but nothing helps us learn and understand more than actually handling the objects themselves.
The main thrust here was to encourage people to look away from the more obvious makers such as Gallé or Lalique. Gone are the days when you may find a good piece by either going for a song in a junk shop, but you may still find a rare 'Flame' red Dartington vase from the late 1960s. Did you know that it could fetch anything from £100 upwards? And if it's a large size, you could be talking triple that.
I was told in a very kind thank you letter that local charity and junk shops had been overwhelmed with punters by the end of the following day...so much for my plans for returning and trawling them myself!