2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This book is more than just a price book. It uses a series of questions to help you nail down just what you are looking at. In the BASICS section you find the different types of glazes as Lead glaze, Tin glaze, and Salt glaze. The book is small enough that I carry this with me.
Some of the highlights are:
Uses a unique question-and -answer approach to help you identify and date genuine antique glass
Deals with fakes, copies, condition and other factors that may confuse even experienced collectors
Analyses typical items that collectors can find in shops and auction houses
Gives Guidelines to values
Contains a wealth of background information, including an extensive glossary
Is a thorough introductory course for the beginner and also a superb refresher for those with some collecting experience.
If better thought out, this book would have proved a useful introduction to ceramics for someone with little knowledge, or a brisk survey for someone thiking of collecting who wanted to focus their mind. The format is of a pocket book, but it is pretty useless for taking out with you when buying. Thus it falls between two stools. No book this slight could ever be able to cover what the buyer afield needs to know about every aspect of ceramics, from early Staffordshire through Chinese Tang dynasty to 20th century St Ives; the attempt to do so was not only the product of a deranged mind, it was bound to mislead the reader. On the other hand, if a survey of ceramics collecting for reading at leisure was intended, a large-format book with decent sized print would have been sensible; here the print is microscopic and even the largest illustrations are pretty small.
To take an example of how this book could lead the beginner down the garden path; we have a section titled "German Stoneware II" with what is described as an 'Identification checklist for late 17thC Westerwald wares'. The 7 points which follow will not in any way help a buyer distinguish between a valuable early piece and a next-to-worthless modern-or-19thC repro; only experience in handling the real thing will tell you that. As there are millions of perfectly honest and pleasant modern-or-19thC repros out there, the odds are that is what you have in front of you. But Millers' checklist may give you the impression that if you can tick all the boxes, you've found an undiscovered treasure. Which you haven't. But there is no mention in the relevant pages of the profusion of popular reproductions sloshing around at every bootfair and antiques market.
Millers have a reputation, but sadly many of their guides fall into the same trap. By all means use it to broaden your understanding of ceramics, but you'll need yer specs, if not a magnifying glass. And please don't base your buying on it, you could come a nasty cropper.
An example of how a well-thought-out book can teach the reader a great deal is English Pottery (Fitzwilliam Museum Handbooks); you couldn't spend a couple of quid better than getting a used copy.