This final instalment of my overview of the Boehm of Malvern studio in England covers three genres (human figures, decorative eggs, and holiday ornaments) plus a commemorative home décor item.
The “people pieces” from the 1980s studio were — other than any single-item special commissions that may have been done, such as the 1979 Elgar bust at the end of this post – issued as part of series. The series shown below were all launched in 1986 and have design codes in the 102-xx range.
The Women of History series had great promise but does not seem to have included more than three known pieces.
This is the backstamp format for this series.
Cleopatra was an edition of 350, and is design #10272. Oddly, her backstamp stamp says “Premiere Issue 1986” but another stamp says “copyright Boehm 1988”! But since 1986 appears twice on the stamp (“year 1986″) I suppose we should assume that is the official release year. One assumes that perhaps there were a few made during 1986 and 1987 that do not have the 1988 copyright year stamp? She is 11.25” high and sold for $1200 at the time. This example is missing a piece at the top front of her crown.
Nefertiti, also an edition of 350, was design #10277. She is a bit taller than Cleo at 12”. Her backstamp has an issue date of 1988 but once again also has a copyright date of two years later (1990)! All very strange and rather illogical.
Another piece in this series was Marie Antoinette (supposedly design #10271) but I have been unable to find any photo of it.
I have not found any indication that there were more than these three figures in the Women of History series. If anyone has any other figures in this range, or a photo of Marie Antoinette, please let me know and I will be happy to add it to this overview. It does seem a shame because there would have easily been enough other female characters to create a series of six, eight, or more figures.
Another 1986 series was the Victorian Children which are all about 9” tall. At least three of them had a very short production run!
From left to right: Jo, Skating is design #10267 and sold for $750. Only 26 of these were made. Meg with Basket, design #10268, sold for $625. Only 26 of these were made as well. The studio managed to eke out one additional sculpture of Amanda with Parasol, and the 27 pieces sold for $750 each (design #10269.)
Amy is the only other piece this series I’ve been able to discover; she is design #10273. It’s not known how many were produced.
Obviously the design number gaps are intriguing although after the 1970s the studio tended to mix genres willy-nilly within number sequences rather than separating them. So we have no clue yet as to what pieces were given #s 10270, 10274, 10275, or 10276.. covering the range between Jo Skating and Nefertiti.
The World of Children series was released in its entirety (seven designs) in 1986. All are about 9” tall.
All have a “Premier [sic] Issue” designation in the backstamp, despite the fact that the 1986 pieces were the only ones produced. Obviously the word premiere – meaning ‘first’ – is misspelled as “premier” which means “best”! (Was there a less-good issue? LOL)
Clockwise from top left, with design numbers: Aborigine Child (20333), Caucasian Child (no design number in stamp), African Child (20338), Child of India (20336)
South American Child (20334).
This enlarged portion of a grouping shows the remaining two designs: Japanese Child (20337) and Native American Child (20335)
The Boehm Collectors Society offered a series of five porcelain-and-bronze fairies exclusively to their members in 1986. Each was an edition of 100 pieces and were priced at $775 each.
Again this is a series marked as if it was the first of several even though there was only the single issue.
Devina, design #670-00, height not known.
Mattina, 6” high, design #670-04
Celeste, design #67002, 8.25” high x 7” wide.
Aurora (with hands on hips, design #670-01) and Aria (design #670-03.)
An oddity is a series of open (non-limited) editions called Cupids in Fantasy showing a cupid astride various animals, all with a BW-series design code.
Cupid on Heron is design #BW-6. Other known “mounts” are a seahorse (BW-7), a dolphin (BW-8), a unicorn (BW-9) and a markhor (a species of wild goat with twisted horns.) These pieces range from 8″ to 10″ high.
The backstamp has the USA studio’s horse-and-feather logo, but also clearly says “Made in England.” The BW design code always meant “bisque white”, i.e., plain white with no color or glazing These BW design numbers began at the Trenton studio with a replica of a 1950s madonna bust (BW-1, La Pieta Madonna) and were always human figures either completely or in part. Many were religious subjects and the final one was Moses at BW-51. So this cupid series was clearly a Trenton brainchild although produced at Malvern. If the series continued past the Malvern closure, I would expect that some might have been then made in New Jersey.
Two very different series of decorative eggs were hatched by the Malvern Boehm studio.
The Eggs of the Seasons series was a retail commemorative, and the backstamp tells the story: To Commemorate The Boehm Porcelain Exhibition Moscow USSR May 17th – June 27th 1987
This was one of several retail pieces that Boehm issued in connection with that particular exhibit. The eggs are 6.5” high and 3” in diameter. Each contains an ormolu (gold-plated bronze) miniature figure with one or more tiny (7-point) diamond accents, no doubt produced at the Boehm of Llandow facility. The original price of these eggs is not known.
The Spring Egg (#651-14) features daffodils and primroses, and contains a rabbit; the Winter Egg (#651-17) has holly, mistletoe, a poinsettia, and a bird who identity is unclear but perhaps may be meant as a dove of peace.
The rabbit is 2.5” tall.
The floral association of the other two eggs is less clear. The Summer Egg at left has a top flower that appears to be a clematis but the purple flowers are not as identifiable; the figure inside is a rose with a tiny diamond ‘dewdrop’ on one petal. The Fall Egg is even more confusing because it shows a pink bleeding heart (a definite spring flower) and a white gardenia (late spring/early summer)! A rooster with diamond eyes in inside.
It is difficult to discern in most photos of these eggs but the flower design on the surface is slightly dimensional rather than flat.. The angle of this photo makes it more noticeable, especially on the edges of the leaves.
Two years later (1989) at least two eggs with internal porcelain sculptures were released. They are not dated but their design numbers are adjacent to items released during that year. These are more like “three-quarter eggs” because almost the entire front is open. They remind me a bit of the fanciful sugar eggs that were popular Easter items during my childhood!
The stamp identifies this as Egg with Lily of the Valley. It is 4.25” high and is design #204-73.
The Egg with Daffodil is design number is 204-70. Were there two others between this one and the Lily of the Valley Egg?
HOLIDAY ORNAMENTS and a BOWL
There were a number of Boehm-branded holiday ornaments but only three (and a partial run of a fourth) were made at the Malvern studio. These were given design code SP78 (the S in “SP” seems to have stood for “special”, perhaps “special production”?) followed by a letter.
This advertisement shows the first in the Malvern series, appearing in 1989 and selling for $95. Although this was the first one released, its’ design number is SP78-C rather than “A”. This shows that although it was the first one released it was not the first one designed for the series. The cardinal is 2 3/8” high and 7/8” wide, suspended within a 4”-diameter ‘ring.’
Two ornaments were released the following year (1990): one with a dove (SP78-A) and the other with a chickadee (SP78-B). These also sold for $95 each.
Boehm released a Madonna and Child Ornament in 1994 (design #SP-148) which was just about the same time that the Malvern studio closed. This is why some of these are marked Made in England and others marked Made in U.S.A. The ornament is 4” high, 2 3/8” wide, and about ¼” thick. It has been variously described as a holiday ornament and/or a miniature plaque. Because of the small size and the prominent date, I believe this belongs in the ornament category.
To commemorate the Ruby (40th) Wedding Anniversary of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip the Malvern studio issued this 8” x 4” bowl. It is the same mold that the Trenton studio used to produce at least 20 bowls of various designs and issues, some of which will be shown in my upcoming retrospective of the New Jersey studio.
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