Crown Devon Fieldings 1937 Edward VIII Coronation Abdication Musical Superjug Crown Devon Fieldings Pottery Mark

From Switzerland to Stoke: Crown Devon's European Import

You might not immediately associate three upmarket manufacturers of Swiss musical movements with one of Stoke-on-Trent's better known potteries, but in 1930, Fielding's Crown Devon began just such a relationship, introducing high quality, home-produced musical novelties to the UK market.

For more than thirty years Swiss companies Thorens SA, Reuge & Co., and Adrian Lador were the exclusive suppliers to Crown Devon of musical movements - many of which remain fully functional today, in a testament to their quality and to Fielding's choice of supplier. (Impressively, both Thorens and Reuge & Co. are still in business today, producing high-end record players and luxury music boxes respectively.)

Direct descendents of the musical steins and jugs of central Europe, Crown Devon's musical wares took their inspiration from English folklore, contemporary events and notable personalities of the day, with figures such as John Peel, Sir Harry Lauder and King George VI featuring at various times.

Crown Devon Musical Half Pint Ilkla Moor Baht'at Tankard Crown Devon Fieldings Musical Jug On Ilkla Moor Baht'at Crown Devon Fieldings Killarney Musical Tankard

The first musical pieces to be introduced were the John Peel range, in 1930. Comprising a half-pint tankard, a pint tankard and a jug, they proved extremely successful and a cigarette box, whisky flagon and salad bowl were later added to the range.

1935 saw the addition of three more folklore-themed ranges - Widdicombe Fair, Auld Lang Syne and Daisy Bell were all produced in a similar range of shapes, and the events of 1936 and 1937 enabled Crown Devon to add both the Edward VIII and George VI coronation wares to their commemorative range.

While George VI pieces are fairly rare - a George VI musical cigarette box recently sold for over £500 - Edward VIII pieces are considerably rarer, especially those including Edward's abdication date as well as the coronation date. The large Crown Devon Edward VIII Coronation Superjug pictured below is perhaps one of the rarest of all the musical wares, particularly as this piece is marked with the abdication date.

Crown Devon Fieldings 1937 Edward VIII Coronation Abdication Musical Superjug Crown Devon Fieldings 1937 Edward VIII Coronation Abdication Musical Superjug Crown Devon Fieldings 1937 Edward VIII Coronation Abdication Musical Superjug

Fieldings enjoyed strong export sales, and these relationships were no doubt bolstered by the many overseas tours undertaken by Reginald Fielding. The factory would often produce special editions to mark these foreign visits, and today these pieces are amongst the most collectable - pieces such as the South African Sarie Marias jug are keenly sought-after and fairly rare in the UK today.

Crown Devon Fieldings South African Sarie Marais Musical Tankard

The global success of Fielding's musical wares led to a wide range of accolades - including such diverse characters as Sir Harry Lauder, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary and General Smuts, the then Prime Minister of South Africa, who was highly impressed by the Sarie Marias jug.

Special editions pieces, based on the Auld Lang Syne design, were made to appeal to the alumni of Oxford, Cambridge and Queens University, Belfast, and the Eton Boating Song range remains one of the most desirable of all the musical novelties.

Crown Devon's musical novelties have a steady following amongst collectors today, and for the most part have aged quite well. It is still possible to find many pieces in undamaged condition and with working musical movements, and more common pieces, such as John Peel and Widdicombe Fair, are available at very reasonable prices.

The wide range of shapes and designs means that collectors are unlikely ever to complete a set, and similar shapes were often made in multiple designs, presenting an opportunity for "single-shape" collecting across different ranges.

That's all for this month! As always, if you have any questions or suggestions for us, we would like to hear from you.

Best wishes,

Perfect Pieces

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