Exhibition of Antiquities, 1905

Buckingham Advertiser, 25 Nov 1905

For some weeks a committee has been busily engaged in preparing for an exhibition of antiques and curios and its efforts culminated on Wednesday afternoon when a good company assembled in the Congregational Schoolroom to welcome Lady Verney, who had kindly consented to open it. The Rev. J. Riordan presided, and among others present were the Rev. H. K. Byard, Mr. G. D. E. Wigley, Mr. J. T. Harrison (Buckingham), Mr. Edwin J. French, etc.  The proceedings commenced with prayer by the Rev. H. K. Byard;  then the hymn “All people that on earth do dwell,” after which the Chairman welcomed Lady Verney, and mentioned that it was nearly 21 years since she laid the foundation-stone of the building they were then in.  He then asked her to declare the exhibition open.

Lady Verney, in “a gem of a speech,” congratulated the committee, and particularly the secretaries (Messrs. Clear and Turnham) on the large collection of beautiful things which she saw around her.  She thought it spoke well for Winslow that such a large number of them existed in its home, as well for the kindly and neighbourly feeling which it proved to exist by their being so freely lent for the purpose.  She spoke of Winslow as a beautiful old place.  Its old houses were beautiful, its church was a grand old structure, and the building they were then in she always greatly admired with its fine tower, when driving in from Claydon.  She proceeded to speak of the beautiful old workmanship and design evidenced by the things around her, and pointed out the dangerous tendency of the present day – the being satisfied with machine-manufactured designs which lacked originality and taste, instead of seeking after individuality in design.  She was afraid that with advancing years she was getting a bit of a curio herself but she certainly preferred old things – old friends, old books, old china;  but one thing she did not care for, and that was the old country roads.  The fine macadamised roads of the County Council were infinitely preferable to those old lanes round Claydon; for instance, when one could scarcely get about after a frost.  In conclusion, she wished the committee every success.

Mr. Clear then proposed, on behalf of the committee, a most hearty vote of thanks to Lady Verney for her kindness, not only in coming to open the exhibition, but for her help in other ways.  When the matter was first mooted to Lady Verney she most kindly invited him and his colleague down to Claydon and discussed the matter with them, both Lady Verney and Sir Edmund throwing out some very valuable hints and advice, and Sir Edmund and her ladyship had since then helped most practically by sending some of the most beautiful of the exhibits there.  He would like to confirm what Lady Verney had said about the kindly feeling in Winslow towards the exhibition.  When he went looking for curios it did not matter whether it was to Episcopalian or Nonconformist, he was invariably greeted with, “Come in, and see what you can find.  You can have anything we have got.”  (Applause.)  He would like also to add that they had a first-rate committee who worked most arduously; and if he might mention one, it would be Mr. R. Benton, who had put up the whole of the staging.  He begged to propose a most hearty vote of thanks to Lady Verney for all her kindness.  (Cheers.)

The exhibition was an unqualified success.  It was particularly strong in ceramics, having probably the largest show of china, etc., that has been seen in the county.  Right down the centre of the room four tiers on one side and two on the other were all occupied by china.  It is impossible to give anything like a summary of this interesting branch of what is now so popular a pursuit, but we give a few of the items.  There was a fine show of old Delft ware, including several very early dishes, a punch-bowl, and a coffee-pot (a very fine specimen).  Copper-lustre ware was a big item, Messrs. Fulks Bros., Mr. H. Wigley, and Mrs. Hill sending fine collections, as well as other exhibitors.  The scarce silver lustre was well represented, Messrs. Fulks having quite a collection, and Mrs. Kennings, Mrs. Grange, and Messrs. Clear and H. H. Wigley also contributed some nice pieces.  Worcester china was scarce, Mr. Clear being the principal contributor, and he had also a fine collection of Wedgwood (old and new).  There were four Castleford teapots.  There were about twenty china tea-sets, including Lowestoft and purple-lustre sets.  The Mason’s ironstone china was remarkably good, Mr. A. G. Stevens showing four beautiful snake-handle jugs;  Miss Turnham, three jugs of different pattern, but equally good;  Mr. Clear, a grand old dish and a plate;  and Miss Reeves, a beautifully decorated large inkstand. There was a fine two-handled Bristol mug, lent by Mr. J. Hill.  The Staffordshire figures included six old “Tobys” and some fine figures.  The Chinese and Japanese ware included specimens of eggshell china, Nankin plaques, and an extremely good old Chinese mug with copper handle, lent by Mrs. Hawley, sen.   Doulton, Copeland, Adams, Turner, Crown, and Derby, and other old ware was also represented. 

Silver was very good, but only “middle-aged”;  it included a watch of about 1650, by Thos. Tompson, the celebrated “father of watchmaking,” and several others (including two pinchbeck watches), several punch-ladles, old tea shovels, silver salt-cellars, silver teaspoons, also some find old plated candlesticks.  There was a large variety of old metal, including brass candlesticks, pestles and mortars, ladles, skimmers, pewter dishes and jugs, four old tinder-boxes, snuffers of brass and other metals, trays, a beautiful bronze model of the first London street-lamps (lent by Mrs. R. Matthews), and several man-traps.  A fine collection of Benares brass-work (lent by Rev. W. F. Armstrong, vicar).  Sir Edmund and Lady Verney lent candlesticks from Cologne, fire-irons from Paris, Swiss cooking-pot, antique cooking-pot dug up at Steeple Claydon (17th century).  A nice lot of old weapons, lent by L. Lloyd, Esq., Messrs. Fulks, Sanderson, etc. 

Old books included Winslow Church Bible Commentary bearing the name “John Croft, 1508 [sic]”; a large royal folio Bible with silver bosses and corners;  “Exposition of Parables,” by Benj. Keach, with portrait, 1701;  Brown Willis’s, Lipscomb’s, and Lyson’s histories of Bucks;- “breeches” Bible, and others. 

The furniture was interesting, and included two Hindu marriage-chairs (lent by the Vicar), five old Chippendale chairs, one Hepplewhite, and one Elizabethan, lent by Messrs. Fulks;  a Bible box, 1694, and a gate-leg table lent by Mr. Clear;  two 16th century chairs, Sir Edmund Verney. 

Pictures and prints were innumerable, and included Bartolozzi and Morland, both originals, paintings on glass, etc.  Coins were an important item; Mr. Turnham had a fine collection of gold, silver and copper coins in splendid preservation;  Mr. Clear had a large collection of silver coins, Edward I. to Edward VII., also an interesting lot of local tokens. 

There was a good show of old tea-caddies, some with the original cut-glass sugar-basins; and one choice old Chinese lacquer on claw-feet.  Snuff and patch boxes were well represented, Messrs. Fulks having a large collection.  Lace-making articles were a good exhibit, including three bobbin-winders and a mechanical box-winder, a candle-stool and a lacemaker’s lamp with reflector, also a large number of bobbins, all lent by Messrs. Fulks and Clear.  A good collection of pipes lent by Mr. R. Saunders. 

Samples of the first telephone-cables, Atlantic cables, first pattern of “Bell” telephone (lent by Mrs. Adams), ancient weights and measures of the Borough of Buckingham (lent by Mr. G. W. French).  A large quantity of Indian hangings and work lent by the Vicar of Winslow. South Sea Island necklaces, corals, shells, etc., lent by Miss Reeves.  Madagascar native work, lent by Rev.J. Riordan.  Needlework, embroidery, etc.; some beautiful specimens of old and new work, lent by Mrs. Vaisey, Mrs. H. R. Harrison, Mrs. Grubbs, Mrs. Willmer, and numerous others, and including about twenty samples.  Numerous natural history and fossil exhibits, including a lovely case of foreign butterflies, lent by Mr. H. Foskett. 

Finally, a “Winslow room,” containing photos, silhouetees [sic], daguerrotypes, and drawings of old Winslow residents, lent by Messrs. Clear and Turnham;  collection of old deeds, posters and documents, including rules of Winslow Sunday Schools, 1788.  Indenture of Wm. Ovitts by the parish of Winslow to Wm. Horwood, of Aylesbury, spinner, 1750.  (This lad afterwards enlisted in the Light Dragoons, and at the battle of Freyburgh he saved the Prince of Brunswick’s life by killing three Frenchmen who were attacking him.  The Prince gave Ovitts £100, and would have made an officer of him but he preferred a pension, which he got, of 1s. per day;  he died at Winslow, aged 87.)  Old drawings of Winslow, old prints of the church (1806), collection of stamps, postcards, and last, but not least, a collection of autographs of Gladstone, Mrs. Gladstone, Pitt, Fox, Burke, Samuel Rogers, Felicia Hemans, etc., lent by Mr. L. Lloyd.  An interesting collection of old musical instruments, hour-glasses, sundial, watchman’s rattle, leather bottle, spring-gun, etc., was also lent by Mr. Bateman, of Oxford.  The whole totalled up to about 1,000 exhibits, and speaks of a tremendous amount of labour, which it is to be hoped will be appreciated by the public.

See also:

Copyright 23 October, 2023