Belleek International Collectors Society
United Kingdom Group

 

Belleek pottery
Meetings 2012... December Christmas Party...Hosted by Chris and Bev Marvell

 

Welcome to our 2012 Meetings page and our final meeting of the year which was our Christmas Party . Please click on the years shown left in the menu to visit our previous meetings.

Fancy Dress outfits

4 girls on the sofa – oh no one is Chris with his ‘Make Belleek not War’ hippy make-over (Brendan McCauley judged Chris the fancy dress winner of our 1950s/60s/70s theme). (Myra Roalfe with the groovy pink hair, Linda Murphy in her mini, Elaine Ewings in her midi dress).

Patricia and Joanna

Each year the UK Group chooses an honoree from their membership for their dedication to Belleek and the UK Group.
Here is Joanna Urbanek receiving the 2012 award from Patricia McCauley(dressed as Audrey Hepburn)who came over from Belleek with her husband Brendan (Brendan also works at the pottery and is their Master Craftsman) to present the award.

Raffle Winners Paul and Elaine

Lucky Second Prize Raffle Winners, Paul and Elaine Ewings with large Earthenware Meat Platter

Thorn Cup and Saucer

Winners of our First Prize in the raffle were Robin and Maureen Wotton who take home this Rare Breakfast size monogrammed
First Black Period Thorn Cup and Saucer

   
 

 

 

 

   
October 2012 Autumn Meeting at York ...Hosted by Joanna Urbanek

 

Group Photo at Fairfax House
Here we are at Fairfax House on Saturday

Our Autumn meeting was based in the ancient Roman city of Eboracum now more widely known as York and was the first visit to York by the Belleek Group. Joanna Urbanek very kindly organised the meeting and what a great time we all had. There was so much to do in York with attractions such as Evensong in York Minster, The Yorvik Viking Centre, York Railway Museum and the Shambles Shopping area to name a few. We had fantastic weather in York and the city was teeming with tourists

On Saturday the first event was a private tour of Fairfax House, the finest Georgian town house in England. Originally the winter home of Viscount Fairfax, the interior is richly decorated and designed by York's most distinguished 18th century architect, John Carr. The superb Noel Terry collection of furniture, clocks, paintings and decorative arts inside has been described by Christie's Auctioneers as one of the finest private collections of the 20th century. Later, by early evening we were all ready to meet at the Olive Tree Restaurant on Tower Street for dinner. Only a couple of weeks ago (due to terrible rain in York) it was flooded as it backs onto the River Ouse, but luckily they were open again and it was packed. Afterwards there was time to go 'out on the town' and sample some of the local pubs and entertainment.

We arranged to meet on Sunday Morning at one of the old city gates for a walk around the original city walls. We had every intention to do the full 2.6 mile round trip before lunch, but dawdling, chatting and enjoying the back gardens on view from this height meant we didn’t get as far as we hoped. Then to lunch at Piccolino’s on the banks of the river for traditional Sunday dinner or adventurous Italian, followed by our meeting. Joanna gave us a Belleek Quiz which Chris Marvell won! The ‘bring & tell’ theme of Viking or Celtic (York is a Viking city) was won by Jan Golaszewski ...Jan entertained us with a wonderful story which we eventually discovered was based on his early school years when he constructed a Viking Model Boat for his dear mum. Jan was awarded first prize by Sue Leng's mum who joined us for the meeting. It was great to see everyone there and lovely to see Brian Henton and Kathy able to join us and a special welcome to our 'Television Celebrity' Susan Leng who you may recall appeared on the popular BBC2 quiz show 'Eggheads'. . Joanna did us proud organising a lovely weekend with very little notice. ...Our UK Devotee for 2012 was announced at the meeting and the winner was – Joanna. The weather over the weekend was excellent with plenty of sunshine. All too soon it was time to say our farewells and head for home, bouyed with memories of yet another wonderful UK Group gathering.

 

  Jan receiving his prize
 

Above...Jan receiving a gift for his entertaining 'Bring and Tell' story from Sue Leng's mum

 

 

   
July Summer Meeting at Coventry ...Hosted by Bernard and Eileen Burgham

 

 

Chris Marvell

We all met Saturday evening at the Bulls Head which was a different location to initially planned venue. Eileen had found out some 24 hours earlier, our original venue was unavailable. We had a great evening and we were joined by Briane and Carroll Carter. Briane is Belleek Honoree for 2011/12.We were pleased that they joined us for the weekend events. Apologising for the rain and poor weather, Briane and Carroll were not worried. It made a change from the intense heat back home in the States at this time of year. Infact, they were enjoying it. Fortunately,the sun began to shine on Sunday and we had a great day at the Weston Mill Hotel. Our meeting commenced with the setting up of our annual 'Silent Auction'. Later, Our guest speaker was Siobhan Cahill who has extensive links with Belleek village and the pottery. We learned that her uncle was Sean O'Loughlin who had worked at the pottery before setting up Donegal Parian China in the mid 1980's at Ballyshannon. Siobhan brought a huge selection of Belleek and Donegal to look at. There were some interesting pieces including a 'Queens Jubilee' plate from 1978. The example shown here is a truly unique 'one off' example on a shell plate made by Sean for her mum and different from the other 25 that were made on Tridacna bread plates. Shiobahn added that she is related to so many people around Belleek and used to travel over for every summer holiday when at school for 6 weeks and spent virtually all her time in the pottery. She had examples of shamrock ware that she had painted which were really good and had also made some 'one off' baskets too. Siobahn's godfather is Joe O'Loughlin who had the Garage in Main Street and is now a prolific author of books on Belleek and the immediate area. (Joe usually sets up a great display of historic pictures of Belleek village and the pottery at the 'Belleek Wild West weekend' in August. After lunch, we settled down for our AGM and then farewells as we scattered back across the country to our homes after another truly wonderful 'Belleek Weekend'.

A very patriotic Chris Marvell left and below, custard pouring to fruit crumble

More food

 

Waiting for Puddings

Brian Russell awaiting puddings appearing at the table.

Shiobahn showing some pieces
Siobahn talking about some of the pieces she had brought along to the meeting
Shiobahn with Nile Vase
A favourite piece...Nile Vase
One Off Shell Commemorative Plate
One off Shell Plate with Queens Jubilee centre decal. Only 25 further Tridacna based examples were crafted
Pottery Scene Plate
Above...reintroduced in the gold period, this transfer was reworked in Stoke on Trent to create this colour version
Pat thanking Shiobahn
Above.. Pat Russell thanking Siobhan for her interesting talk on her family connections to Belleek
Jan with mystery dog
Before Lunch, Jan with his 'Show and Tell' themed piece. Hard to see, but in his hand is the head of a 'Corgi' found at the tip at Belleek
Examining the Belleek and Donegal
Before lunch there was time to look at all the Belleek and Donegal display put on by Siobahn
Finely Woven Donegal Basket
Flower Detail to Basket
Above...example of a finely woven Oval Donegal Basket
Donegal Lighthouse
More of Siobahn's favourites. Echinus Footed Bowl left and one of only a handful of Donegal Lighthouses with individual windows
Silent Auction Pieces
Diane and Eddie looking at the Belleek Silent Auction
Ivy and Stork Hand Painted Plates
More Belleek pieces entered into the Silent Auction
Lunch Time...at last!
Eileen,Robin,Maureen and June eagerly awaiting lunch
Charles and Fiona with Chris
Charles and Fiona Easthope deep in conversation with Chris Marvell
Honoree Chain on Display
Briane showing us all the Belleek Honoree Chain of Office
Honoree Chain Reverse Side
Each parian link is detailed with individual honoree named and inscribed in gold detail on each link
Close Up of Chain
Some of the honorees over the years shown in greater detail
Raffle Prize
Diane Wilkinson receiving the 2011 First Prize in our Annual Raffle. First Period Decorated Bread Plate
Unseen Belleek First Mark
Above.....Unusual Shell vase which was brought to the meeting by Keith Brigstock...what is it?

 

   
 

updated November 2012

 

 

   
Meetings 2012... Spring Meeting at Portsmouth...Hosted by Pat and Brian Russell UPDATED

 

 

Spinnaker Tower We all met Saturday mid afternoon at the Spinnaker Tower located in a popular shopping and leisure area of Portsmouth known as 'The Gunwharfs', (shown left at night). From the top there were stunning panoramic views of the Solent and Isle of Wight. Later, we met at 'The Water Margin' which was nearby for dinner and then headed to a local pub for the rest of the evening. The sun continued to shine on Sunday and we had a great day looking at several areas of Belleek research, including Brian Russell's update and report on the Caldwell Bloomfield Family Tree. Our guest, Fergus Cleary, head of design at Belleek came over from the Pottery to present Pat Tubb with her well deserved Honoree award. As well as updating us on events at the pottery, Fergus gave a talk based on the 'Second Period Years' which was illustrated with many pieces of Belleek from the period. All too soon, it was time to say our goodbyes to a wonderful warm and sunny meeting at Portsmouth and make our long journies home. Some members decided to make a full weekend of their trip arriving Friday and staying on until Monday. Luck again was with us as Monday dawned bright, warm and sunny. Below. Mel and Jan at the Water Margin.
Water Margin
Paul and Jan Pat with Honoree Award

Above. Paul Ewings and Jan Golaszewski share some time together. Right. Fergus Cleary presented Pat Tubb with the 2011 Honoree Award, Belleek Living Rose Vase with inscription. Here is Pat, Above Right with her well deserved award and Below Maire and Pat right, examining the new 2012 Belleek Catalogue and left Fergus presenting the UK Group Honoree award to Pat Tubb.

It was an interesting session that Fergus led at our meeting. As well as announcing the re-introduction of the International Centre Piece with a maximum run of 5 examples,Fergus introduced us to the new Arran range. From memory, Fergus confirmed production will be based at belleek for the range. The first prototype plate was hand moulded and available to one lucky collector complete with exclusive signature from Fergus. Price please, contact the pottery if interested. The range will be expanded to include plates, salad plates, bowls and mugs in time. Fergus confirmed that Belleek Living was selling well especially to the younger generation in Ireland. Production of these pieces has returned to the pottery at Belleek. Fergus also added that he had seen a gradual decline in exports of 'Shamrock Ware'. The pottery is starting to adjust production accordingly. There had been successes with other wares, such as the Rose Vase and baskets were still selling well. Talking of design, Fergus confirmed that he is the only male member of the design team and working with Marie,Nigella,Katherine and Claire. Fergus then gave us an insight into the 'design to production process'. Starting in January, trade shows will be used to guage what would be popular and likely new products. Gathering these strands together, a review in drawing form is then followed with actual prototypes that are crafted. It is then time to involve colleagues such as John Doogan in the basket/flower making centre to then decide is the piece feasible? Will it fire? If the potential loss rate is more than 10% then the piece cannot follow through into production. Fergus gave an example of this in the planned Belleek Rose Basket which kept collapsing. Only three were ever crafted (future collectible?) Fergus has been researching Celtic designs so watch this space for future releases

Fergus went on to discuss the pottery in general and said the visitors centre was hoping for a good summer. Plenty of tour buses are already booked in. Patricia had been over to America for the Spring live QVC shows on TV. The pottery has also brought new apprenticeships in for new recruits. No major plans for the museum at the moment as it is not feasible at present to increase the size of the display area. Fergus has been lucky though to find plenty of tools and equipment to augument the parian,earthenware and bone china exhibits.

Examining latest catalogue

Fergus and Pat
 
Old Pottery Photo
Fergus's Talk Fergus's Talk
 

Above top, from Fergus Cleary's talk, view of pieces gathered ready for one of the International Exhibitions Belleek attended. Above left, from Brian Rusell's talk, one of eight Greek Plates with Caldwell Bloomfield family crest, presently owned by a descendant of the family and above right, from Fergus Cleary's talk looking at designs and patterns introduced by his ancestors who worked at Belleek from the start of the second period.

click to read a full report on our meeting can ve found in this newsletter. click on cover to read

 


  • The UK Collectors Group is an officially recognised chapter of the Belleek Collectors' Intnl Society. Est 1989.
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