One of the great things about plaque collecting is that even after 10 years of obsessive searching, there are many plaques out there to be discovered and recorded. The fact that some have hand-painted texts means that it is nigh-on impossible to produce a catalogue raisonné, including every variation.
Recently I had the huge pleasure of visiting a private collection, with many such plaques. It had been mostly assembled before the days of the internet, when it was possible to attend a small auction and bid unchallenged on magnificent items. (Or at least, that is how I choose to imagine it, as it belongs firmly to the era before I started collecting.)
Many of the plaques were hung high up, so these are the best photos I could manage. I have added more plaques to the Plaques with hand-painted text page and Poetic verses page, amongst others.
Huge thanks to the owners of the collection for their hospitality. Seeing such a selection of rarities summons up mixed emotions – excitement, respect, a sense of lost time, and, rather less appealingly, envy. I'll give the last word on this post to Ian Holmes, who, sensing the latter in my outpouring of praise for the collection, sent me the following picture.
Stephen Smith lives in London, and is always happy to hear from other collectors. If you have an interesting collection of plaques, and are based in the UK, he will photograph them for you. Free advice given regarding selling and dispersal of a collection, or to those wishing to start one. Just get in touch...
This website is indebted to collectors, dealers and enthusiasts who have shared their knowledge or photos. In particular: Ian Holmes, Stephen Duckworth, Dick Henrywood, Norman Lowe, Keith Lovell, Donald H Ryan, Harold Crowder, Jack and Joyce Cockerill, Myrna Schkolne, Elinor Penna, Ian Sharp, Shauna Gregg at the Sunderland Museum, Keith Bell, Martyn Edgell, and Liz Denton.