Belleek Int'l Collectors Society
United Kingdom Group

Belleek pottery


Convention 2009 Park Ridge New Jersey


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2009 Convention Plate
Above..2009 Convention Plate
Above... fully painted plate, one of two auctioned at the convention to the highest bidders.







































Above left..Phyllis Clarke receiving Chain of Office from Helen Rankin, honoree 2007/8 at inauguration ceremony. This was the first year that a couple became honorees. Dave Clarke, elected that Phyllis may wear the chain of office on their behalf.
Above is Phyllis and Dave Clarke with their first purchase, Belleek Bowl of Roses. At the time of the convention, Phyllis and Dave talked to our Newsletter editior Chris Marvell about their collecting......

'We came over to the States from Roscommon to live when we were young. Fifty‐one years ago, when taking a trip
back to Ireland to see the family, we made a visit to the Belleek factory and bought our first piece – a lovely bowl of roses…and also a Henshall basket ….and a Rathmore basket! (so an eye for the finest Belleek from the start!‐ Editor)
Now we have over 90 baskets. All types of Belleek take our fancy ..figures, dejeuner sets, vases, centre pieces. But if we had to save one item it would be Erin. A fabulous use for the Double Picture Frame – Phyllis and Dave in photos from 50 years ago. We would seek out Belleek from anywhere and everywhere and Dave can not resist auctions and house sales. We regularly went to the antique market at the end of the pier in New Jersey. Then, on one visit we found a Sheerin Views of Ireland dessert service and fell in love with it, Phyllis had to stand guard over it whilst Dave rushed back home to find the cash to buy it. Dave is a very handy man and still at his senior age makes display shelves to match the lovely wood
panelling in their period home. These are custom made to house their many trays and teapots and kettles. Phyllis is a teapot fancier and has a large collection from many manufacturers, she also has some American Belleek. We hope to find something nice in the dealers room at the NJ convention, as we are still avid collectors and particularly like to buy ‘pairs’. There is no question of us slowing down (well we can always put up another shelf!) and have never sold a piece. Luckily 2 of our sons are also interested in Belleek. Even though Dave came from Ireland he is definitely not a Guinness man, he used to work for Budweiser and so of course this is his favourite pint, Phyllis prefers a glass of wine'. The Gala dinner at the convention was a double celebration, not only were they inaugurated as the 2009 Belleek honourees, the first time a couple have held this post, but it was also their 56th wedding anniversary. Many congratulations.

Above from left...Dave Clarke,Jean Lockington,Phyllis Clarke with Angela Moore and George Moore. Angela congratulating our first 'double honorees'


Reproduced from our Newsletter, here is Paul,Pat and Patrick Tubb's report on the 2009 convention in brief. Afull version can be found and read in our Newsletter shown at foot of page.

"We arrived at the hotel at about midday and joined several people for coffee and lunch. Among the group were Phyllis and Dave Clarke of the North Jersey Chapter who were to be enrolled as the next Honourees. We were delighted to see them looking so well and in such good form. Registration began and included a large green bag full of goodies which included the beautiful convention plate, the event programme and everything you needed to know about New Jersey. We also clollected a Belleek trademark mug, kindly donated to attendees by Reed & Barton. The sale rooms also officially opened at 2.00 pm and we were delighted to see Eileen O’Neill, Tony Hearty and Olga Clarke from Northern Ireland and Kathleen and
Willie Mitchell from California with their beautiful ware including two superb painted plates by Gertrude Johnson and some lovely pieces of American Belleek and, finally, Nanci Levine from Connecticut. During the next few days we eventually determined to buy a decorated third period shell plate as our personal memento of the convention.

At 7.00 pm. We were first welcomed by the president of the North Jersey Chapter, Norma Reilly (Right) and then the BCIS president, Angela Moore. Angela announced changes from 2010 to the society, hopefully, encouraging younger people to join. We were then welcomed by our co-hosts, Johanna Purdon and Jean Lockington from the North Jersey Chapter and they conducted the first of many drawings for Belleek ware. Whilst we enjoyed a delicious hot and cold buffet supper we were entertained by a local harp player, Lauren Cole, and spent the remainder of the evening in talking with many old friends and making new ones. There was, too, a display of over 20 presentation baskets made up for the Chinese auction (below) which was to be held the following day

The Friday sessions began at 9.00 am under the direction of Master of Ceremonies, Don Campbell (Evergreen Chapter). The first speaker was Chris Marvell (UK Group) with an outstanding talk on the birth of Belleek which was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone and which introduced delegates to a number of new names of people involved in the formation of the great product that we love so much.

After coffee/tea break Kathleen Mitchell gave us a talk on American Belleek and showed us slides of many different pieces from a variety of manufacturers. As mentioned earlier, Kathleen and Willie had a number of pieces on their sale table including a 14 inch Willets vase decorated by Hans Jon Nosek with a portrait of an Austrian Duchess

Kathleen was followed by Val Fleming (Trillium Chapter) who shared her unique 'white collection' via slides and commentary. The after lunch talk was to have been given by people from the Trenton museum but due to a family bereavement they could not come so the programme was altered and Don Campbell gave us an update on his earthenware collection. He has now identified 85 different designs in earthenware, a few of which he had found in the sale rooms during this convention. The slides of his collection were magnificent but Paul, Patrick and I are delighted to have actually seen many of the pieces when Don spoke at the Portland convention in 2003. Don was followed by an interesting talk about insuring a Belleek collection from Michelle Impey a fine Art specialist. After tea and the results of the Chinese Auction (No the UK members did not win anything) came the honourees induction. Before handing over the chain of office, Helen Rankin, 2007/8 honoree from Northern Ireland, entertained us with reminiscences of her time in office. After Angela read the citation, both Phyllis and Dave managed to get a toe on the stone from the Erne that Patricia had smuggled into the country and were duly installed as the first joint honourees after 20 single recipients.

Before the evening’s Irish Night some managed time sun bathing, others did whatever attracted them and we went back to pick up Ann and Frank, Pat’s cousin and her husband, who were our guests for the evening The meal was a delicious buffet and the entertainment was provided by Seamus Kennedy who had originally come from Belfast With his constant chatter in between he kept us laughing for the whole evening. Saturday morning saw us arrive early as there was to be a meeting for Chapter presidents or their deputies at which both Chris and Paul represented our UK Group. Then, after breakfast, our first speaker was Fergus Cleary, with a slide show presentation that followed the 2009 Convention plate from inception to production. The 2009 plate was designed by Margaret Karpin (North Jersey Chapter) The post coffee session was given by a specialist member of the International Society of Appraisers whose speciality was in hand painted ceramics. It was an interesting talk on how to appraise your collection and, judging by the number of interested people who approached her afterwards, it was clearly very much appreciated. The after lunch session was a very interesting talk on American Belleek given by Mark Mohr, an enthusiastic and knowledgeable collector He showed us slides illustrating pieces from various in the Trenton area potteries and also East Liverpool Ohio that had produced American Belleek around the turn of the last century. He showed pieces painted by Nosek and had been interested to see the Willets vase on the Mitchell’s table as he had been under the impression that Nosek only painted for Lenox. At the end of his talk I showed him our pictures of pieces painted by E W Swann in the US and he was delighted to be able to keep them. Following tea Linda Beard, from the Magnolia Chapter, gave us an update on the Richard Kennedy Degenhardt Scholarship Fund of which she is the chairperson. This year, because of the recession and interest rate cuts which have affected the fund’s performance, just two bursaries, each of the usual £600 were awarded. Linda made it clear that there is an ongoing need for funds but that also the University of Ulster was most appreciative of the support it received from the BCIS membership for its students.

No International Convention is complete without its live auction of Belleek pieces conducted by the incomparable Dean
Bagnall (Great Lakes Chapter) with Johannah Purdon, selling amongst the gathered pieces an earthenware plate. Once again, Dean did not disappoint. It is fascinating to watch him and very easy to get drawn into bidding as his patter brings everyone into the event. He managed to sell everything and two of the pieces will be winging their way back to the UK. Our purchase was a right handed Aberdeen jug) which is a perfect match for the very first piece we ever owned, a left handed one, that had been given us as a wedding present over 40 years ago. Chris and Bev Marvell bought a beautiful piece of earthenware from under Don Campbell’s nose, although he had just won the larger piece with the same decoration!
The Gala Dinner took place in the grand ballroom and we all enjoyed good company, good food and good entertainment watching the dancers from the Peter Smith School of Irish Dance. Between courses George Moore spoke about the state of the pottery. It was clear from what he said how pleased and proud he is of the manner in which the Pottery is still going strong in spite of the recession.

The formal part of the evening was concluded by Angela Moore thanking the North Jersey Chapter and congratulating them on a successful and enjoyable convention. There followed some well deserved presentations to the people who had put so
much time and effort into make everything go so smoothly, not only from North Jersey but also from the Empire Chapter.
Then a group of ladies from the Windy City Chapter announced that they would be hosting the next convention in
September 2011 in Chicago. This was met with great enthusiasm throughout the room. During the dancing which followed the announcement, Paul took the opportunity of using Katherine Gaertner’s phone call to pass the best wishes of the UK Group to Jean and Max Norman who had been prevented by Max’s ill health from travelling to New Jersey.

Sunday morning saw us all in the junior ballroom for the concluding talks and ceremony of breaking the Convention plate mould. Jean Lockington and Johannah Purdon regaled us with some amusing anecdotes that came out of their reparations for the convention and then the attending Honourees each spoke of their memories of Belleek and Belleeking and what they had gained from their membership of the BCIS. Jean Weleck read a letter from Fred Gary, the very first honouree. Unfortunately Evelyn Twiss, who had intended to be with us, was taken ill just before she left home to come. I was particularly sorry about this as she has always been so keen to ensure that the conventions continue. I look forward to seeing her again in Chicago. The breaking of the mould by Margaret Karpin took some doing even with Fergus and Al Purdon helping. However it finally succumbed and Jean and Johannah were able to officially close the2009 Convention.
As for ourselves, after many goodbyes we made our way back to my cousin’s home for a final 24 hours before returning home on a Monday evening flight. We felt a bit low but had many happy memories to sustain us and a brand new suitcase full of ‘extras’.Determined, too, that God willing we will be there for the Chicago convention in 2011. Thanks to all the North Jersey Chapter for giving us such an enjoyable convention.



Selection of Baskets on display
Val Fleming caught in reflection of Oval Flowered Mirror
Chris Marvell presenting research on the years leading to the pottery formation and into their formative years
Belleek Honorees past and present at the convention
Down the Pub for pints of Guiness from left, Fergus Cleary,Patricia McCauley,Del Domke,Bev Marvell,Pauline Corcoran.Chris Marvell
Members of Windy City with Tony Hearty
Windy City Chapter Members Melissa Barry'-Finch, Janice Brown,Kathleen Hagan and Moira Bailey (from Chicago) with Tony Hearty second left of Northern Ireland Chapter. The Windy City Chapter hosted the 2011 Convention


Ready for one of the Dinners at the Convention
Norma Reilly at the Convention . Norma is Chair of the NJ Chapter and Associate of the UK Group
Dean Bagnall extracting good humoured bids helped by Johannah Purdon right, holding a super First Black Earthenware Plate

Katherine Gaertner and Sandy Roland in the Dealers room admiring a bowl of roses (both of these ladies are associates of the United Kingdom Group)

From left, Johannah Purdon, Co-President of North Jersey Chapter, Pat Hennessey, President of New York Chapter and Jean Lockington, 2009 Convention Chairperson.  Jean and Johannah organized the convention, with other NJ chapter members helping.  Pat also helped with some areas.


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