As part of the continuing First World War Centenary Commemorations, Bac To Basic Antiques, a regular exhibitor at Shepton Mallet, is putting on a special display of Old Bill WW1 commemorative pottery at the fair being held on the weekend of Friday 29th – Sunday 31st March.
The Old Bill character was created by Captain Bruce Bairnsfather (1887-1959) an officer with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment who had served in the trenches and who had developed a deep respect for the trench humour and courage of his men. He became famous for his Fragments from France cartoons depicting life at the front in humorous form and these appeared weekly in the Bystander magazine from 1915.
But his most famous creation was the character Old Bill, a caricature of the men serving in the trenches in humorous depictions of how they coped with the conditions they were faced with and the very real moments of danger that they faced on an almost daily basis while serving at the front.
These cartoons were reproduced by Grimwades of Stoke on Trent on their range of household pottery and they became an instant and enduring commercial success.
Old Bill commemoratives are widely collected but quite hard to find. As they were produced as utility ware for the home, most pieces were eventually broken or lost, and it is difficult to find pieces that are still in good condition.
Bac To Basic Antiques are presenting a comprehensive range of Old Bill commemoratives drawn from three collections. They will have prime position on their stand in the Showering Pavilion at the fair.
They will also be displaying other rare and interesting commemoratives from the Great War
For more information on Shepton Mallet Antiques & Collectors Fair go to www.iacf.co.uk/shepton-mallet