Belleek International Collectors Society
United Kingdom Group


Belleek pottery
Christmas Party Derby December 2010

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Invite to meeting Our 2010 Christmas Party Theme was the roaring 20's and the invitations sent left, set the bar for our gathering. We had plenty of great outfits. Is that Noel Coward below? No it's Chris Marvell and Bernard Burgham– acting as DJs struggling with the old technology of the gramophone, while Bev Marvell was shaking and mixing the cocktails for group members below left. Below right, a tradition at our party is Eddie Murphy's Jelly made as usual in a 1st period Belleek Jelly Mould. Eddies jelly proved very acceptable to Linda and Patrick, who is modelling this year's offering complete with edible gold flakes.



A very happy Paul Ewings showing Jan Golazewski his Raffle prize, a First Period 'Gladstone' Potty

Newsletter 32/1please click on cover left for more details from this meeting


Autumn 2010 Meeting. London hosted by Joanna Urbanek
The Autumn weekend in London and Woodford Hosted by Joanna Urbanek. Our autumn gathering during the weekend of 23-24th October was in central and east London and then in North London on the Essex border on the Sunday - a pretty good tour of our capital city! Saturday 23rd October: Morning: Portobello Market, Notting Hill A group of us met at 10a.m. at Notting Hill Gate Underground Station and then emerged into the sun on a lovely morning before making the leisurely stroll (along with thousands of other bargain hunters) the short distance to the famous Portobello Road antiques market. This London Saturday morning institution, has become beleaguered over recent years with the appearance of sellers of modern curios, T-shirts and the like and more importantly by the insidious growth of high-street chain stores. Old "rabbit warren" buildings have been "modernised" and the small dealers have struggled to pay increased rents. In the face of all of this, there are still a good number of highly individual and interesting stalls, selling all manner of real antiques - even some Belleek! It is not always easy to find that elusive item of Belleek but it can be done - personally, over many years, we have found several gems of Belleek on the small poky stalls in the Portobello antiques market. The full search of the hundreds of stalls took about three hours - a very satisfying and interesting morning which also gave us some much-needed physical exercise! Saturday Afternoon: Connoisseurs’ Tour of the Wallace Collection’s ceramic collection, Hertford House. The Wallace Collection is a national museum which displays the wonderful works of art collected in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by the first four Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace, the son of the 4th Marquess. It was bequeathed to the British nation by Sir Richard's widow, Lady Wallace, in 1897. Joanna had organized a private tour for the UK Belleek Group. We enjoyed our walk through Wallace Collection which presents its outstanding exhibits in a sumptuous but approachable manner which is an essential part of its charm. It is probably known for its paintings by artists such as Titian, Rembrandt, Hals (The Laughing Cavalier) and Velázquez and for its superb collections of eighteenth-century French paintings, porcelain, furniture and gold boxes, probably the best to be found anywhere outside France. But there are also splendid medieval and Renaissance objects, including Limoges enamels, maijolica, glass and bronzes, as well as the finest array of princely arms and armour in Britain, featuring both European and Oriental objects. Afterwards, many members settled down to an extended and relaxing Cream Tea in the cafe. Hard to believe that outside, London carried on at its' usual frantic pace. Later, we all travelled to Stratford in East London for early dinner and then to the theatre to see a play based on the life of Ian Dury of late 70's 'Blockheads' fame. a great evening of nostalgia for members of a certain age. Below left, a scene from the play which will be on tour across the UK this Spring (2012).
The Menzies Prince Regent Hotel was our lunch venue on a beautiful sunny October Sunday. We had just strolled back from Joanna's house, a short distance away and sat down to enjoy the dinner - presented in a very smart room at the hotel. Left, Jan with Angela Moore at Joanna's. Above right: the hotel, a Georgian building with many additions, most interestingly the accommodation block which has been converted from a chapel that was built to serve the first St. Barnardos Children's Home. Joanna had arranged the day very well indeed, we only had to cross the road to the wonderful Saint Paul's Church, which was opposite the hotel. Unusually and quite specially, Joanna had managed to arrange for us to use the church itself (her own parish church) as the meeting venue.

Ron James
We also had two fascinating talks during the afternoon. Ron James left, brought his collection of Copeland and Neville right, brought many early pieces of Belleek Parian and Earthenware.The basis of his talk was to expand on his recent article entitled 'Regaining Time in Belleek' which was well received.
Patricia McCauley, Manager of the Belleek Visitors Centre gave us some of the latest news from the Pottery. Ggood news from Fermanagh.Despite the general economic climate, the Visitors’ Centre had increased its footfall and sales. The Americans were returning, perhaps as the dollar had strengthened. The factory was back on 5 days and they had just won a large Saint Patrick’s day order from QVC. Also next year(2011) the Pottery was pleased to have been put on the itinerary of a prestigious tour company. Quite a bit of the new range of Belleek Living was being made in Belleek and this too was helping to secure full time employment at the Pottery. Patricia also gave us information about new products. Angela Moore was, along with Patricia,our guest of honour. Angela, the President of the Belleek Collectors International Society, then gave us a short presentation. Angela was very pleased to be with us and could tell us that the new Belleek WEB site was going well. The BCIS was now fully Internet based and free to join and an additional 1000 new members had joined. Angela was hoping that perhaps some of these new members might join their local Group/Chapters and would welcome feedback on this. The next Convention in Chicago(2011) is very much recommended as it is a great city to visit. Angela has been asked by quite a few collectors recently about donating items to the Belleek Museum. She wanted to reassure us that donated items would always belong to the Museum (not the Pottery), if they were given to the Museum by way of a permanent loan agreement they would be protected and could not be subsequently sold off. The Museum was independent. She also said they (well actually it was Fergus!) were actively buying pieces selected to enhance the Museum. Angela is now going on Face Book, her Mum joined recently and she thought it was about time she followed her example. We took a break for afternoon tea and biscuits and eventually we managed to assemble everyone into the obligatory group photograph below.
Above..Patricia brought a special gift over from the pottery. Our annual honoree for 2010 is Eddie Murphy, seen here receiving an inscribed Lamp and Shade from Patricia

Newsletter 32/1please click on cover left for more details from this meeting


Summer AGM Coventry July 2010

.For our summer meeting in July, Eileen and Bernard arranged an evening get-together at the Waterman restaurant near the famous Hatton Locks on the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire. The Waterman is a large and popular meeting place, a centre for exploring the surrounding area, with walks along the canal and in the beautiful rolling countryside. On Sunday we gathered once again at the Weston Mill Hotel for our AGM and Silent Auction.

Group photo

Here we are in our own special VIP section of the restaurant (above).


Silent Auction items Brian Russell with Masonic Plate
Masonic Plate Lodge 101
Above left, UK Group members brought some interesting and quite rare pieces for everyone to bid on in our silent auction. Brian Russell (above right) also had a fantastic example of a Masonic plate (a long standing field of study that Brian has undertaken - see his article in issue 29/1 of the Newsletter (April 2008). He had researched the plate and could tell us that it was made for the Athlone Lodge because this was lodge number 101: the Roman numerals on the plate are CI (right) which of course is 101. Finally, Eddie closed the meeting with thanks and gifts to Eileen and Bernard who took the lead in organising the meeting along with Pat and Paul Tubb.


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Spring 2010 Stoke On Trent
Our Saturday began with a visit to the Potteries Museum to view pieces from the Staffordshire Hoard, which is the largest archaeological Anglo- Saxon find ever unearthed.The hoard contains over 1,500 finely crafted objects, mostly gold and some inlaid with precious stones. It was found in July 2009 by a metal detectorist in a field near Lichfield and was declared Treasure in September 2009.We enjoyed lunch in the Museum Cafe. were lucky that a museum talk was to be given by Adrian Mathuis (architect for Brownhill Haywood Brown of Litchfield) on the repairing and restoration of the Bethesda Chapel. One of our intrepid Belleekers Eileen Burgham asked Adrian if and when the chapel would be open to the public - and we were even luckier when the answer was: "only for one hour this afternoon". The chapel is directly opposite the Museum just across the road, we all set off and were soon inside what was once called the "Cathedral of the Potteries."Bethesda Methodist Chapel, Stoke-on-Trent, built largely in 1819, is one of England's grandest town chapels. It is impressive for its size, ambitious in its architectural design and in its heyday capable of attracting huge congregations, reputedly with seating for 2,000 people.Full details and images in our newsletter below. Later, we gathered for dinner at Denrys Restaurant which was excellent as usual. Below, members enjoy some time together over dinner.
Group Members at Wedgwood
spring meeting
The afternoon started with Bev Marvell who gave us a quick update on her Belleek number spotting project. A Thorn pattern cup and saucer in decoration way No.1 was handed round, it had taken Bev ten years to find this example!Bev then went on to give an illustrated talk on the engraved copper plates used to produce Belleek’s transfer designs. These were preliminary findings on the photographs she and Chris had taken last summer at the Pottery. Bev has started to catalogue these plates properly and Bev will report back to the Group at a later date.

Members at Meeting

Above, members listening to Bev's talk and below, from Saturday night's dinner at Denrys
Dinner at Denrys
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  • The UK Collectors Group is an officially recognised chapter of the Belleek Collectors' Intnl Society. Est 1989.
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