The nature of many of the objects in the collection and the way that they are found in second-hand shops means that very often there is no explanation as to what exactly they are, or where they come from. Usually a bit of research manages to track down their origins, but occasionally an object will remain a mystery.
Perhaps you can help. Have a look at the objects on this page. If you have any knowledge or suggestions as to what they are, and where they are from, I would love to hear from you. You can email me below.
I found this cast metal figure on a casual trader’s street stall in north London. All he could tell me was that the person he got it from had said it was made from ‘gun metal’. It measures 11 cm tall and seems to depict a naked man with his hands clasped over his genitals in a gesture of shame or embarrassment. His only clothing appears to be a braided tricorn hat on top of what could be a curled wig. So, an 18th century military officer perhaps? The features of the face are not typically European. It is quite simply cast, doesn’t stand upright easily, and is worn smooth as if through handling.
I found this in a charity shop in London. Just 10cm high and carved from what appears to be a large plant pod of some kind (it is light in weight and clearly hollow inside) it depicts a squatting woman in the very process of giving birth. Her hands are clutched across her swollen belly, the baby’s face is already fully visible and the full delivery is clearly only seconds away. the mother’s eyes are closed, her mouth slightly open in a teeth-gritting pant as she pushes hard to deliver her child. It is carved quite simply but the effort, the emotion, the pain, are beautifully depicted. What was this little sculpture for? Who was it for? It is such an intimate and highly charged subject that I can’t imagine it was an item made for sale to tourists.