Friday, November 12, 2010
Collections 13 - Tea pots
It is strange to think of the value of an object being attributed to its previous owner, especially if an identical item is widely available. The cookie jars, for example, were elevated to the status of art works merely because Warhol had chosen them. There was a similar furore a while ago when someone tried to sell an 'original fax' he had received from (I think) David Hockney. It lead to a debate on what constitutes original art.
I suspect many galleries were uncomfortable with the question. Most promote similar vagaries of value, foremost amongst them being the 'limited edition print'; in essence a lithograph or digital copy (intrinsic value a few pounds) with a pencil signature in the corner giving it a putative value of, say, £250 - or, depending on the signature, upwards to many thousands of pounds.
My tea pots will never be worth much, but they are not an entirely random collection. You might notice that the handles and spouts are always integral to the design, rather than simply stuck onto a fancy pot. The latter is the more common practice with novelty crockery and finding the integrated designs was always a challenge.
Now I've pointed that out you might notice it on other tea pots; perhaps also on cookie jars, cruet sets, mugs... even works of art.