We’ve finished the photography, though I’ve got to edit the pictures – just crop them, I don’t enhance them, of course. And then write the catalogue. I’ve also arranged for the British Heart Foundation to pick up the unwanted furniture – my previous tenant asked me to provide a bed and sofa, but the new ones already have furniture. So LT and I are driving down tomorrow to put up the smoke alarms and dismantle the bed and do a final check. And then we’ll be ready. And by the end of the month, so will the catalogue, I hope.
But all that photography gave me a headache, so I’ve taken most of the afternoon off. I’m not fond of photography, on the whole. The placement of the pieces for the group photos on the front and back of the catalogue take the most time – how they look in the photo isn’t necessarily the same as you see them in front of you, of course. So I set them out, take pictures, adjusting distances and angles, and then put them on the computer and see how it could be improved and go back – at least I’d chosen fairly well this time, some years the pieces that really must go on the front cover just don’t go well together without judicious placing. Last year, for example, it was the addition of a Mandarin pattern saucer dish (a shallow saucer about the size of a dinner plate) that just tied in all the rest. Weeza asked, the other day, what I really enjoy about the auctions enough to carry on with them and my first answer was the sale itself. I do love an auction, especially ours where we see so many people who’ve become friends over the years. And I don’t really want to let drop the knowledge that I’ve built up over the years.
Though a piece that I’d been sent by post for the sale puzzled me the other day. When I opened it, I thought how nice it was and quite early and unusual, but then I looked again and wasn’t sure. The shape of the saucer looked right and the china itself, the border and the footring ticked the right boxes, but it was a pattern I’ve never seen. And that wasn’t impossible, but the glaze was just so good that it didn’t seem right. I couldn’t think what other factory it would be, though – it was certainly 18th Century English soft-paste porcelain. When my colleague David came, I showed it to him and asked what he thought and we went through all the pros and cons again and were still not sure. Since, I’ve taken it to show to a friend who is a great expert and even she is having to think about it. She apologised for not giving an instant answer, but I said it actually made me feel happier about not knowing myself. I’ve left it with her and she’ll examine it again.