Member Bells

A few of our members have chosen to share a favorite bell.  These were originally shown on the home page. 

We show them here as well. Enjoy!

The North American Zoom Meeting on Dec 3 showed some Christmas Bells.  Here are a few.

     

Pink Faience Bell - Quimper Bagpipe

 

Ailene has a Seneca Glass bell from the ‘Fashionables’ line.  It’s a blown glass one piece tapered chamber with a rounded shoulder that flows into the tapered handle with an applied knob on top;  The clapper is a crystal bead on a silver chain. 7” x 2.875”. The bell has same measurements as their water goblet minus the base. Maybe a one-off made from broken water goblet with applied knop on handle?

Seneca Glass used to be the largest manufacturer of drinking glasses from high quality stemware to less elaborate glasses like the Fashionables series.  Over the years of their existence, they made many beautiful and clear sounding lead glass bells.  Unfortunately, the company went out of business in 1983.The factory building, http://www.senecacenter.com/ in Morgantown, WV now has many small specialty shops as well as artifacts of the old glass company.

Note from Laura, ABA Website Coordinator — One of the things I love about members sending pictures of their bells is that I’m inspired to research those I’m not familiar with – like this one. I learned more about Seneca glass and the Fashionables.  However, when I did a google search for Seneca Glass black bell or Seneca Glass Fashionables bell, I couldn’t find one.  Makes me think that Ailene has a rare and difficult to find bell.

 Can you send me a picture and story about a bell you have?  I and others would love to learn more about this fascinating world of bells!

Miniature of ancient Chinese Bronze bells
Nancy was delighted to come upon these in the Ancient Chinese Art wing of the Portland Art Museum when she was on a Road Scholar paddlewheel riverboat cruise through the Columbia River Gorge in September 2021. Here’s the description of the exhibits:
 
           Musicians with Chimes and Bells. Western Han dynasty, 206 BCE-9 CE. Painted earthenware. This virtually intact orchestral group would be noteworthy under any circumstances, but the fact that no other complete Han-dynasty group of this scale has been found makes it all the more extraordinary.
            The grouping represents the kind of musical ensemble that would have been maintained by rulers and great nobles for use exclusively in court ceremonies or important religious rituals. The existence of such orchestras can be traced back to the Warring States period, if not earlier, and they were still being used in the Qing court as late as the nineteenth century. The full-sized sets of musical instruments found in earlier tombs consisted of bells of bronze and chimes of stone.
            These racks, which most likely were originally of wood, are modern replacements. No attempt has been made to replace the drumsticks and batons that the players would once have held.
Miniature of ancient Chinese earthern rock chimes
Orange Lady Bell

Bruce and Jane shared a couple of their bells.

The bell on the left is enameled metal with a beautifully painted scene.  The hand is unusual and is also enameled.  The rim of the bell is a laced metal.

The bell on the right has a porcelain top of an orchestra leader with his baton.  The bottom is a metal.

green lady bell
Orange Lady Bell

Nancy has shared pictures of these two beautifully painted china stylish ladies that are both 5 ½ inches tall. She found the green lady from the Goodwill online site in 2009. She is marked inside: “Official Issue Musée de la Mode et du Costume, Paris,©1985.” Here is what the web has to say about the museum. La Musée de la Mode et du Costume is a permanent museum devoted to fashion. It displays exhibits of French fashion design and costume from the eighteenth century to the present day.

Nancy had never seen any similar bell until 2021 when at the ABA Convention in Knoxville, she found the orange lady in the Exhibit Room. She is equally stylish and beautiful—and is also marked inside: “Official Issue Musée de la Mode et du Costume, Paris,©1985.” Green Lady has a paper sticker inside, “Crafted in Taiwan. Orange Lady has no such marking.

Why call them Green Lady and Orange Lady, you might ask. Don’t they have a name? Well, yes, they do. They both have their name marked inside, above “Official Issue.” Both of them are “Nicolette”! Hmm. That’s odd, isn’t it?

green lady bell
Pink Faience Bell - Quimper Bagpipe

 

Arlene sent pictures of these bells that are most appropriate for the season!

A political Todd Warner Elephant and Donkey.  The faces are fun!

Todd Warner has been creating his imaginary world of sophisticated whimsy for over 40 years. “There’s an innate sense of humor in my work, but I’m not going for the belly laugh. I love to make people smile. I can’t fight being humorous”.  He says his sculptures are “whimsical and sensitive; they have their own spirit.”

Pink Faience Bell - Quimper Bagpipe

 

 

Sue send a picture of this bell.

Large pale green crazed glass bell with a loop handle. The bell is hand painted with pink roses, green leaves and gold accents, enclosed in a gold paint diamond pattern on both front and back.

The bottom of the bell is painted green rim with gold paint dots around the top and bottom of the rim. Loop handle is also painted gold.

The clapper is a long glass bead suspended on twine. There are no marks or labels on the bell. 

Devil Bell

Gary and Donna sent pictures of this bell

The Devil is in chains with the restraining hand of God on his back and shoulders. One member who saw this bell noted that God’s hand on the Devil did not prevent him from doing evil.

This bell is one of ABA member Alan Burgdorf’s amazing works of art. He finds a subject he likes for the handle, then he looks until he finds a perfect bell that matches in material and color. At this point, he marries the two pieces to create a beautiful bell worthy of anyone’s bell collection. Alan is not the first to marry objects to create a bell but he is among the best at doing so. His secret is matching the highest quality metals such as this vintage bronze sculpture Devil and bronze bell, both with spectacular patinas that match.  

Devil Bell
Pink Faience Bell - Quimper Bagpipe

 

Bruce and Jane sent a picture of their Quimper bagpipe bell.  It is unusual because it is pink.

The hand painted French faience known as Quimper (pronounced kam-pair) is earthenware fired with a tin-based glaze.  The tin glaze used in faience is actually a glaze that has been rendered white and opaque by the addition of tin oxide. In the production process, an unglazed item is fired in a kiln and is then dipped in the tin glaze which is allowed to dry. Colorful designs are then painted on the glaze and are preserved during a second firing.

The pottery takes its name from the town of Quimper, located in northwestern France. Should you be traveling near, there is the Musee de la Faience de Quimper (The Earthenware Museum of Quimper).

Big Bell

 

Neil and Ginny share a picture of one of their big bells.

 

This bell was made by Frederick Fuller of Providence, Rhode Island in 1886.  It was a father son business and was principally a regional firm with most of their bells remaining in the north east.  They were known to have been in business from 1860 to 1890.  Their bells were made of bronze and had a good tone.

Ormolu Macaw

Dianne sends a picture of this beautiful Todd Warner Turtle bell.  She says “my husband and I both collect turtles and bells.  At one of the ABA Convention, we hit the jackpot at the auction and acquired the Todd Warner Turtle bell.  It is such a whimsical addition to our collection!

Todd Warner has been creating his imaginary world of sophisticated whimsy for over 40 years. “There’s an innate sense of humor in my work, but I’m not going for the belly laugh. I love to make people smile. I can’t fight being humorous”.  He says his sculptures are “whimsical and sensitive; they have their own spirit.” 

Internationally known for his sculptures, Todd Warner captures with vision and insight the essence of animals, preserving not only the animals of nature, but also the nature of animals. Todd Warner seems to connect directly with the souls of animals, enabling him to recreate the llama who seems to beg for warm milk and the cow with loving eyes of a mother.

                                               – The Master Of Sophisticated Whimsey, Todd Warner Gallery in Charlevoix, Michigan

flying pig bell

My Ugliest Bell (but precious)

Ailene sends pictures of her ugliest precious bell.  It is a mixed assemblage called When Pigs Fly by Paula Guhin.

My daughter Diana gave this to me for Christmas in 2010.  She found it in a cooperative art gallery in Aberdeen, SD.  The handle is a handless doll body trunk, the chamber is a lamp globe, and the clapper is a flying pig.  Makes me wonder what was going through artist’s mind when she put it together.

The chain is too long for it to actually ring.  When Diana told her it was a present for her mother, the artist replied, “Be careful what you give your parents; you may get it back.”

flying pig
Ormolu Macaw

Gary shares a picture of this beautiful ormolu-over-bronze Macaw on perch with Italian Renaissance decor. Made by Lost Wax method, bas relief with fine detail. Round brass ball clapper on wire which is embedded into metal. 6 1/2” high. (Bronze plate added later.) From the late Phillip Childress bell collection.

 

The manufacture of true ormolu employs a process known as mercury-gilding or fire-gilding, in which a solution of mercuric nitrate is applied to a piece of copperbrass, or bronze; followed by the application of an amalgam of gold and mercury. The item is then exposed to extreme heat until the mercury vaporizes and the gold remains, adhering to the metal object.

This process has generally been supplanted by the electroplating of gold over a nickel substrate, which is more economical and less dangerous.

McCombie owl bell

 

This Dragon Bell is owned by Betty, a member from Scotland. It is a cloisonne bell approximately 8 inches in height and 4 inches in diameter.  The head is gold plated bronze and has a flowing mane, horns and whiskers. The handle of the bell shows the body of the dragon curving around it.  It is a 5 clawed dragon which is the emblem of Imperial Power.  The clapper is molded bronze. This is a very lucky dragon as he has the flaming pearl on his mouth which symbolizes treasure or enlightenment.  Other dragons on her bells are trying to catch the flaming pearl.  This was probably imported from China around 1983.

This bell is with a blue background.  Betty thinks there is a similar one with a red background and she is in pursuit to try to find it.  If you see one in red – let us know.  We know someone who dearly wants it.