Family antiques discovered
Precious family plates recovered after accidental find
Jenny Gawith’s mother Joyce had an amazing discovery in an England antique shop . . . staring back at her from the shelf was her beloved aunt’s antique plates that had been lost to the family for 30 years.
“I think that’s what you call serendipity,” Jenny says.
The plates were originally made in a French pottery factory around the 1860s. Now they are back in her possession, Jenny is lending the two dark green plates to Western Bay Museum, where she works as a volunteer, for upcoming exhibition Treasures of Culture.
Jenny’s great-aunt was May Glanville who was a nurse during World War I in England.
“My mother went over to England and stayed with this aunt and loved these plates. May said to her ‘when I go, they can be yours’.”
But when May died her goods were dispersed and the family did know what became of them.
“Thirty years later my mother went back to England on a visit with a couple of her sisters and were poking around an antique shop over there and she saw the plates.”
The plates must have remained somewhere around the West Sussex area where her aunt lived, she says.
Joyce recognised them immediately because of the distinctive repair on the back of one of the plates.
“She had to have them. I don’t know what she paid for them but it wouldn’t have mattered.”
They’re quite rare, Jenny says, as this pottery was only produced from 1862-1885.
Jenny also has a Royal Devon jam dish from her grandparents’ English wedding in 1903. As was the custom in the day, Jenny also has a write-up from the local paper which listed all the wedding gifts received at the society wedding and who gave them. Treasures sought Western Bay Museum is searching for treasures for its Treasures of Culture exhibition.
Taonga (treasures) from all cultures are sought for the July exhibition tapping region’s diversity at Western Bay Museum.
The exhibition celebrates the Western Bay’s rich diversity and honours the traditions and stories of those who make this such a vibrant and dynamic place to live, says museum manager Paula Gaelic.