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Emsworth AntiquesOver the last 20 years I’ve been lucky enough to turn a life-long interest in “old things” into my current day jobs – auctioneering in Emsworth Auctions and running an antiques & collectables shop, Emsworth Antiques Etc. in the town’s West Street.

I promised to tell you a bit more about the work of rising star of Carn Pottery ‘collectables’ which we stock in the shop; in particular the Owls & Pussy Cats.

Most of John Beusman’s work is designed to be used : vases, containers or lamps. Whilst both owls and cats appear as decorative motifs on various sized pots and vases (plate 1), the earliest design, code 1 belonged to a range of small, solid owls he produced up until the early 70s (plate 2). Standing only a couple of inches high, they are too small to be stamped or signed so recognition rests on experience.

Aged about 16 John produced these small owls in a variety of glazes and colours, taking the idea from an established potter friend. I have an example of one such scarce non-Carn owl in my own collection as well as a number of John’s.

However, one of the most charming Carn Pottery figures is Mowser (plate 3), the heroine of the Cornish ‘Mousehole Cat’ legend. She has a fish with her because – thanks to her skill and loyalty – her pet fisherman Tom managed to survive a terrifying storm at sea and brought home such a phenomenal catch that he saved his fellow Mousehole folk from ruin and starvation. So in gratitude for her valiant work Mowser always has a fish for her supper.

Thus the tradition and landscape of Cornwall continue to feature in John Beusman’s work, which is still developing – new shapes, motifs and glazes. I wonder what he will do next?

Posted on Tue, August 18 2015