Staffordshire figures were part art and part social history. Repurposing them is a great idea. And the prices for Staffordshire pottery are at an all-time low, so this exhibition by Amy Douglas could actually invigorate the market.
Repurposing antiques, particularly these figures, has been happening for years. Some owners made the figures into lamps.
Staffordshire were made as bits of fun. If you repurpose Meissen figures or other objects of historical or cultural importance, then that’s a different story. If pieces were being smashed up deliberately, then that would be madness, but in this case Amy is creating art from art.
Remember these figures are only ‘things’ at the end of the day. Not everything needs to be in a museum on a shelf. Some objects are better reused to suit a new purpose.
“Repurposing antiques, particularly these figures, has been happening for years
The artist of these Staffordshire pieces is using already broken fragments, which is a different thing to destroying antiques to repurpose them.
If the antique object is intact and has any merit whatsoever, it is pure vandalism to damage or destroy it to create an ‘artwork’ which is little more than a sight-gag, or to turn it into home furnishings or repurpose it in some other way.
In my opinion we do not own these objects, we are merely their guardians as they are passed from one generation to another.
“The melting down of Georgian and Victorian silver tea sets is a very thorny issue
This also makes the melting down of Georgian and Victorian silver tea sets and other artefacts for their scrap value a very thorny issue for the trade. I’m not sure I could live with myself if I did that for a living!
Most of us do this job because we love antiques, not because we want to get rich by destroying them, or providing the disinterested with home furnishings that end up in a bin when fashions change.