After four years of asking visitors to 'keep a lookout' and scouring auction house listings David from our team recently spotted details of a washjug designed by Joseph Maria Olbrich on Ebay. Apparently identical to the jug which W.J. Bassett-Lowke had purchased for the Guest Bedroom at 78 Derngate around 1917 - this was an exciting moment. These jugs don't come to the market very often. Some swift action by Barbara on behalf of The Friends of 78 Derngate and the jug was purchased and on its way from Germany. It is now displayed in the Guest Bedroom and can be viewed by visitors to the house. The fate of the original jug is known from family memories, it was broken many years ago. Having its replacement here further completes the stylish ensemble of Mackintosh - designed furniture and Olbrich ceramics in one of Britain’s most unusual and avant-garde interiors for the period. Staying as a guest at 78 Derngate would certainly have been a memorable experience. Further details of the jug can be found in our online archive.
This month visitors to 78 Derngate can see a fabulous engraved half Hunter gold pocket watch which was presented to the very first employee of Bassett-Lowke Ltd on completion of 25 years service to the company. William (Bill) Rowe received the watch from W.J Bassett-Lowke and Harry Franklin at Christmas 1925.
Visitors to 78 Derngate this month can view rarely seen items from our archive collection. On display in our museum space are The Bassett-Lowke Ltd company seal, shares register, minutes book and two share certificates.
The seal was introduced at the first directors meeting of Bassett-Lowke Ltd which was incorporated on 11th March 1910.
For a small donation, blank red seals can be stamped for visitors - a chance to own a little piece of Bassett-Lowke history!
We were delighted, in December, to receive a generous donation from Ruth I Johns who was the daughter of Gilbert Thomas; a lifelong friend of W.J Bassett-Lowke (patron of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and former owner of 78 Derngate). Mr Thomas, fittingly, had an amazing model railway layout featuring several Bassett-Lowke items. He was also the author of a book entitled "Paddington to Seagood – The Story of a Model Railway" in which his friend W.J is featured. Pictured here are Mr and Mrs Ellison who kindly travelled, on behalf of Ms Johns, from their Derbyshire home to present a Bassett-Lowke passenger coach, guards’ van, coal shed building and track / buffer section to us. These great items are now on display at 78 Derngate and available for free public viewing.
Here's Rob Kendall, Chairman of The Friends of 78 Derngate and ace auction bidder, showing off our latest acquisition in its new home, the Guest Bedroom at 78 Derngate. The washbowl, very similar to the Bassett-Lowke original from 1916, is attributed to Joseph Maria Olbrich. Olbrich was a co-founder of the Viennese Secession and also designed the Secession Building on Friedrichstraße. Mackintosh exhibited in this very building in 1900. Thanks to a follower on Twitter we were alerted to its listing for auction at Lyon and Turnbull in Edinburgh, where Rob happily was also attending The Festival. The original Bassett-Lowke owned washbowl was displayed on the Mackintosh-designed washstand in the Guest Bedroom. The washstand and a ceramic pail, very similar in design to our new bowl are now in the collection of The Hunterian Art Gallery in Glasgow along with the original suite of bedroom furniture. Visitors to 78 Derngate will be able to see the new bowl on display in the house from 17th August 2014. Further information can be seen on our Facebook page.