Category Archives: Art

The royal marriage is moving merchandise in the U.K.

Royal Wedding commemorative tankardThe minute the engagement of Prince William of Wales to commoner Kate Middleton was announced to the public back in November, souvenir manufacturers were clamoring for a piece of the action. T-shirts, thimbles, stickers and mugs (among other trinkets) are all widely available in tourist shops all over the United Kingdom, but the only officially sanctioned souvenirs are bone china commemorative items offered by the royal family itself.

On a visit to Windsor Castle last week, the commemorative plate ($62) and pillbox($38) were sold out. “We can’t keep them on the shelves,” the shopkeeper told me. There were still a few tankard mugs ($54) available, so I picked one up for the Souvenir Museum collection.

Made in Staffordshire, which has a long history of producing highly prized ceramics, the exclusive design shows intertwined initials in gold and silver with the coronet of Prince Williams and the wedding date of April 29, 2011. Each handmade piece also features a decorative pattern of doves, white ribbon and silver, gold and gray hearts set against a pale gray-striped background. The pieces are individually finished by hand using 22-carat gold and presented in a blue box wrapped in white tissue paper printed with designs inspired by the wall hangings in the Clarence House.

The items can be purchased at gift shops located at the royal palaces and residences, such as Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace, or online at royalcollectionshop.co.uk. Profits go to the upkeep and conservation of the Royal Collection, one of the largest collections of paintings and works of art in the world built up over five centuries by successive British monarchs.

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Want your own fine china to commemorate your own special occasion? Hudson and Middleton, one of the china manufacturers tapped to produce the royal wedding souvenirs, will create personalized china starting at $199 for a five-piece place setting. According to the company’s website, “personal logos, crests, initials or tasteful works of art portraying your dog, car, house, yacht or horse can be supplied.”

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Filed under Art, Authentic, England, Europe, For Her, Home Furnishings, Souvenir, United Kingdom

The one that got away

I found this lovely souvenir in a market stall in Bakau, Gambia. It stood out among the animal woodcarvings and batik fabrics. The seated wooden figure is covered with sead beads, conch shells and amulet bags.

When I asked the price, that stood out, too. It was my last day in the country and I only had a few delasi left, so I walked away empty handed. Later, I found a similar figure at a market in Dakar, Senegal.

Does anyone out there have any information about this bead covered wooden statue? Any information would be appreciated. I did a Google search and all I came up with was an ebay auction for two figures listed at $1,000! And the closest thing I’ve found would be beaded wooden Namchi dolls from Cameroon, but they aren’t quite the same thing.

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Filed under Africa, Art, Bakau, Home Furnishings, Souvenir, Statue, The Gambia, Wood Carving