Monday 31 January 2022

CHINESE FIGURINE - REPLICA

 


A VERY LARGE CHINESE FIGURINE - A LOT OF RESEARCH!

I’ve had enough of porcelain figurines for a lifetime. They are dust magnets and there’s always a worry that I’m going to break them when the Mr. Sheen comes out.

I’ve talked in previous blog posts about the trials of searching for Meg’s ornaments – THIS one in particular – but the one I am talking about today has proved to be elusive – to say the least…

Back when I started collecting replicas – with an eye to one day recreating the sitting room, there was one item that intrigued me – as I had no idea what it was. I couldn’t find a decent photograph of it, and the screen captures I managed to get didn’t really provide enough detail.

I thought for a while it was a porcelain figure of a “Gordon” highlander – maybe an in-joke about Noele’s surname – but despite some early suggestions from helpful fans, this particular avenue of investigation led nowhere…

…eventually I was sent a couple of decent photographs by Mike at the Crossroads Appreciation Society and it became clear that it was actually a Chinese looking figurine. Now, I don’t suppose you’ve ever searched for Chinese figurines on ebay but there are literally hundreds of the things – often mass-produced and all of a similar style – but not quite what I was looking for. ..

Meg and Lloyd - figurine in the background with damaged hands?

And there was another problem, even with photographs, it wasn’t actually conclusive evidence of what I was looking for as the figurine appeared to change at some point between the surviving 1960’s episodes and the early 1970’s ones….Not completely… but enough to suggest that something had happened to it.

In the mid 1960’s the figurine was actually holding a little yellow box, and it’s hands were clearly defined…

Figurine in the late 60's - holding the little yellow box

Figurine in the mid 70's - no yellow box and different hands

Still there in 1982 - almost the last appearance

It was that little yellow box that led me to eventually narrow down my search –I was looking for Chinese figurines on Google Image Search and one that suggestion that came up was the following image from Christie’s auctioneers…


It describes the item as follows…  

“GREEN, YELLOW AND AUBERGINE-GLAZED BISCUIT FIGURE OF GUAN PING
KANGXI PERIOD (1662-1722)

The smiling figure is modelled wearing a cap, a jacket, and an overskirt layered over armoured trousers. He holds a seal case in front of him wrapped in yellow fabric.

You can see the page on the Christies website HERE

Once I found out that it was “Guan Ping” it enabled me to narrow down the search on ebay – and once I had looked at a few lots, ebay’s clever algorithm selected “similar” items for me to view. You can see a handful here…

A variety of Chinese figurines holding yellow seal cases

Now, to cut a long story short, I knew the “type” of figurine that I needed, and I managed to gather a selection of screenshots and photographs to use to help me locate the correct one…

Screen captures and photos collected over the years

The two “black and white” photos show very clearly the difference between the hands over the years, and I was also inclined to think that the face had been altered too. I guess that during the production of Crossroads, the figurine got damaged and the props department made replacement parts.

Oddly, there are no close-ups of the figurine during the surviving episodes – which is a shame. I haven't been able to find any published colour photographs showing any detail of it either, except for this one, which is blurred but does show the vibrant colours...

Vibrant colours but a bit blurred - Meg and Tish

One positive thing that I did discover during my image gathering was that during the “Christmas Episodes” where the fourth wall of the sitting room is seen – often the cameras would be positioned “behind” the drinks table, and it afforded excellent views of the back of the figurine. Very useful!

Over the last few years  I have bought a few “near misses” as temporary place holders, including one which was pretty close (but a little short)...

Near miss - close colours but much too small


A few weeks ago I did another Google Image search of the near miss above using the “Lens” feature on my phone and I was surprised to see a figurine come up that looked pretty close. It was in Miami of all places…

Miami Nice


Although the colours were wrong, the shape was a pretty good match for the screen captures that I had made over the years, so I arranged to buy it – and waited…Actually not that long as it happens – just a week!

As you can see in the image at the top of this page, I soon pained the sleeves and tunic a green colour to match the screen captures I had collected.…and then finally I painted the collar and lower legs a pink colour and added some detailing back in…

I KNOW that this is a terrible thing to do - so I apologise to all of the porcelain figurine purists out there...



On the left you can see the (damaged) original figurine with replacement hands and the missing seal case. In the middle you can see my figurines – and on the right you can see Meg’s as it originally looked in the programme – holding the seal case.

So how close have I got the figurine looking? – well – judge for yourself….



The Sitting Room Recreation takes shape











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