Very happy to scamper down the familiar steps to the exposed shore. The upper foreshore was covered in a slick of silky mud due to the absence of waves from tourist boats in the early morning.
For an hour I was the only one down there. After a four week gap I noticed I was full of determination my eyes sharply and quickly interrogating the rubble, hunting for those ancient fragments. Aware my husband would probably have left to visit his mother by the time I returned I didn’t hold back on filling my bags.
Met a lovely guy from Cornwall who’s been mudlarking for 4 years. He’s particularly interested in stoneware and very generous with his knowledge. He pulled out a couple of pieces he’d picked up today, one the remains of a tankard that would have held a gallon. 300+ years ago they were into big and sharing. In the past he’d delighted in the same squiggy clay pieces littered with finger prints that we’d come across and had also concluded they’d been used to position pots in a kiln. When I scrabbled to find the small mother of pearl lovely I’d found, he asked if I’d noticed the large chunks on the foreshore, I hadn’t. He surmised there must have been a workshop nearby. A co-incidence as today I’d picked up a handful of mother of pearl slithers which had congregated in the same place. My friend Gerry had already guessed that a piece I’d recently given her had been worked. It is the detective work that surrounds these tantalising finds that is so compelling.
It was a great day for finds. I guess find of the day has to be the 2 centimetre mother of pearl 'cross' with a tiny hole through the pointy bit at the top.
Now I look more closely at the mother of pearl pieces I picked up they do look as though they have been worked, their fairy tale sheen catapults me back to the magic of childhood beach stumble upons.
|Mudlarking Finds: Mother of Pearl Slithers|
|Mudlarking Finds: Delftware|
|1650 London Delft Candelstick probably Southwark (Christies)|
|Mudlarking find: Salt glazed Stoneware Bellamine Base.|
|German Bartmann Jug 155101700 (Museum of London)|
|Mudlarking Finds: Medieval and Tudor Shards.|
|Mudlarking Finds: Hand painted Georgian shards|
Some nice illustrations captured in transfer ware,
Beginning to get a bit more interested in the remains of very old glass bottles shown with a couple more clay pipe bowls, the smaller one from 1610.
|Mudlarking Finds: Old bottle necks and clay pipes|
|Mudlarking Finds:Transferware blooms|
|The rest of the Mudlarking Finds|
|Festival of the world Southbank Centre|
Later we ascend the grand stairwells lined with sheets of marble on the last mission of the day. As we reached the top, a tower of glass rose from the floor and there they were, shelf upon packed shelf of the ceramics I’ve become so familiar with through my foreshore finds. I have to admit I was slightly over exciting , my heart racing just a little bit faster. It was just great seeing them ‘in the flesh’ together in one place, almost like old friends. Also very funny knowing that a year ago I wouldn’t have given the time of day to a load of old crocks – in fact I couldn’t have thought of many things that would have been more boring.