Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Naylors of Bakewell Glass Dish

Can a piece of glassware be regarded as ephemera? The advertising on this little glass tray seems to make it so. The gorgeous hand rendered text - which on its own is a joy to look at after the eye has been  numbed by the vulgarity of digital type - and the red on white demand attention by default. Even the cheeky everso slightly creepy humanoid-porcine face looks directly at you from within the litho. It's not often that you get the animal's face on the advert for the meat it belongs to these days.  Supermarket packaging seems to assume we don't want to associate the animal with the food as if it will somehow make it distasteful.

Naylors of Bakewell Glass dish 12 x 9 cm C. 1950-60's maybe later.

By its nature an unbroken glass object is potentially ephemeral. It's always poised to become changed and fractured yet still recognisable in parts as its original self. Bakewell, the small Peak District town from where this dish originates is much the same. I spent many childhood summers in and around Bakewell, blissfully unaware that as time and progress advanced the place would change so much from the way I knew it.

The Bakewell of the 21st Century is a pastiche of the place I knew as a little girl. Doubtless the Bakewell of my Childhood in the 1980's was a different one to that of my Father's or Grandfather's and indeed my Great-Great Grandfather who farmed in the area, but I can't help feel that things have changed just a little too far beyond reasonable progress. The life blood of the place has been let, and what remains is a pale mirage amongst the ruins of the original. Although there is still a cattle market every Monday and a traditional Lammas cattle fair in the guise of Bakewell Show, the redevelopment of the market square and the placing of a supermarket in the heart of the farmer's exchange somehow seems to sum up the slow exsanguination of this ancient working rural town.

I've never worked out if this dish was intended to be an ashtray, or simply just an object with an advert on it. Naylors the butchers is long gone from Bakewell, but it's good to know that local butchers in the area still go to market every week and pick the finest beasts for their handmade pies and sausages.