With an end to lockdown finally on the horizon, we take a few moments to continue a time for reflection, as Sworders' Chairman Guy Schooling recounts a whimsical tale of a treasured item that tried desperately to escape his clutches...
Many years ago, I attended the International Ceramics Fair at The Cumberland Hotel on Berkley Square. I was under strict instructions not to buy anything. We had five children still living at home. Almost instantly the first thing I saw was a wonderful and large salt glazed charger, c1760, with a simple basket weave border, doubtless a copy of an original silver example. Its simple style immediately won me over, however, I was good and with a heavy tread walked by. After a few minutes, I could stand it no longer and retraced my steps, only to my horror it was gone. Of course it was. It was a simple and beautiful thing, priced very reasonably at little more than £100. I was mortified.
When I returned home I recounted my loss to my wife Pam.
A few months later, Pam found an identical plate in the wonderful antique shop opposite the main entrance to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. A shop run by a client and friend with a wonderful ‘eye.’ She bought the plate as a surprise Christmas present. It was carefully packed in bubble wrap and placed in a carrier bag. Exultantly she left the shop, certain I would be delighted with my present, and crossed the Trumpington Road towards the car and home. As she did so, she dropped the bag!
I was truly never meant to own this plate......however miraculously it survived.
For many years it hung between our dining room and kitchen, and in our ‘new’ house it now hangs on our landing. Every time I have passed it in the intervening years I am reminded of this tale, I love it now every bit as much as I did when I first saw it.
This is not one that got away, but one that tried very hard to do so.
Guy Schooling - Head Specialist Art & Antiques | Chairman
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