Tuesday 18 December 2012

The Witches Part Two

Continuing with the Witches, here is the next part featuring the Witches in Flight and Seated. The next (exciting) instalment will move onto other characters who are related to the Witches.

Flying Witches

Granny Weatherwax in flight DW51

Nanny Ogg in flight DW52

Magrat in flight DW53

This version of the Witches was definitely designed as a set. They were Terry's suggestion who had visions of them being displayed a la the flying ducks once so popular. I never managed to get the painted versions but I have a handsome set of the bronzed versions. For some reason these pieces work really well in bronze finish and unusually sold rather well. The painted versions were quite intricate so cost a fair amount more. With there being three of them it might have pushed more people into buying the bronzed ones. You could get all three bronzed ones for around the same price as one painted Nanny!! The bronzed versions have B after the number.

Mine are hung on my staircase wall. Such a cliche. They haven't been dusted for a while, mainly due to my back injury and the fact that I'm happy vacuuming the tops of picture frames but I'm loathe to risk damaging these. I apologise for the state of the pieces!! When I came to take one down to dust it off a bit I found that when I painted the wall I was clearly worried about my pieces being off the wall. The picture hook had paint on it and the piece was stuck to the paint so had clearly been put back up while the paint was still wet. In a house with cats you can't be too careful but that seemed a bit extreme. Although seeing as my beloved Lias Bluestone had his drums damaged this week I could probably stand to be a little more careful.

I have some very early newsletters where these pieces are mentioned. In the May 1995 newsletter Nanny and Granny had been completed and approved by Terry. However, he had not been happy with Magrat, describing her as looking like a 'female pig farmer'. Adjustments were made and her legs and biceps were slimmed down. Prior to pieces being made, line drawings were done to get a feel for how the piece may look. The early newsletters often featured these drawings and they are very interesting. These newsletters are few and far between and I thought people might be interested to see the drawings for these pieces. I have taken photos of them for that purpose. I hope it is interesting to people.

The pieces were sculpted by Leigh and both versions were introduced in September 1995. The bronzed versions were retired in November 1999. The bronzed ones cost £14.95. In the bronzed edition 668 Grannies were sold, 529 Nannies and 476 Magrats. They have reached £50.

The painted ones were introduced at the same time but retired later, in August 2001. The prices varied, Granny and Magrat cost £29.95 and Nanny (with her extra detail) cost £39.95. 1942 Grannies, 1381 Nannies and 1390 Magrats were sold. It is interesting how in the painted editions roughly the same number of Nannies and Magrats were sold. There are a lot of lonely Grannies out there!! This version can fetch considerably more, a Nanny has made £142. They don't come up too often and tend to fetch around £50-£70 each.

The pieces are really, really lovely. They bring the quotes to life wonderfully. I love how clearly they show the personalities of the witches. From Granny sitting bolt upright with her arms folded, clearly in control of her world to Nanny complete with scumble, Greebo and a banjo to Magrat with her flowers in her hair. The little details just bring the characters to life. I would dearly love a painted set. I love my bronzed ones flying down my stairs but the detail of the painted ones is hard to resist!

The pieces each have their own quote. They are all from Lords and Ladies.

It is clear which quote relates to which witch :-)

"The first one - let us call her the leader - flies bolt upright, in defiance of air resistance, and seems to be winning".

"The second is dumpy and bandy-legged with a face like an apple that's been left too long and an expression of near terminal good nature. She is playing a banjo and, until a better word comes to mind, singing. It is a song about a hedgehog.".

"She travels with an air of vague good natured hopefulness. There are flowers in her hair but they're wilting slightly, just like her.".

I have added the picture from the catalogue of the witches as they were imagined by Terry. Flying up the stairs. Mine have to fly down the stairs so the effect isn't right :-)

Seated Witches

This is another set of the witches in the same pose with slightly different details. I must admit that I don't know much about the seated witches. I do have the Granny and Nanny ones but only because they were available as PYO at one of the events. I have taken pictures of my efforts. Please try not to mock too much!! I love the details on the pieces. Nanny has her scumble and is in a more rustic type of chair with her feet up. Granny true to form is bolt upright on a less comfortable looking chair. I love the detail of the mouse under her hat and the frog behind her chair. Again Granny is my favourite. I love how proper she is :-)

These three were sculpted by Joe. Nanny was introduced first in 2000 with the other two following later. They were available up until closure. I do not have numbers sold. They retailed at £34.95 and tend to make around £30-£40.

DW126 Seated Nanny Ogg


DW129 Seated Granny Weatherwax


DW130 Seated Magrat


Monday 10 December 2012

The Witches Part One

The Witches are another rich source of inspiration for the Clarecraft sculptors. I like the witches books and the Clarecraft vision usually matches my own when it comes to the witches themselves. Granny (Esme Weatherwax), Nanny (Gytha Ogg) and Magrat (Magrat Garlick) make up their loose coven of three (Maiden, Mother and … the other one.). The witches are a group who are introduced early in the canon (in the case of Granny, she is a major character in the 3rd book) and they have grown and developed as the series has gone on. Magrat in particular has developed from a 'wet hen' with an interest in slightly tacky occult items to a defender of Lancre (in Carpe Jugulum), wife and now mother (and of course Queen!). This has caused Granny and Nanny to have to adapt and ultimately resulted in Agnes joining the fray.

In this set also there are various extra characters, Greebo, Nannys’ cat is particularly popular and appears in various incarnations ( I didn't realise quite how many until I started this). It is hard to keep this section in any semblance of order due to the many different types of figurine and the different characters involved. Rather than follow the numbers of the figurines I am going to try and group them together. This is a big section with many figurines so I will try and concentrate on Granny, Nanny and Magrat first before moving onto other characters and artifacts. There are various overlaps with other sections. These are:

Death and Granny Weatherwax - covered in Limited Editions

Magrat in Armour - covered in Event Pieces

I Aten't Dead - covered in Collectors Editions

Verence as a Fool - covered in Collectors Editions

In writing this post I had to search high and low to find all the required pieces. They were all dusty!! I did the best I could in removing the dust but some may still be evident in photos. I used to dust my figures weekly when they were on display and even had a lovely little brush to do it with. I can't find the brush so did my best with a toothbrush. This little exercise reminded me that the Witches and Death were the worst figures for showing the dust. All that black shows it up like a charm!!

Apologies also for the state of the background of this picture. It is the lid of the box I keep my 'misc' Discish stuff in and it has seen better days!!


Granny Weatherwax DW06

Granny is first introduced in the 3rd Discworld book Equal Rites. A flurry of witches books then followed but there has not been a witch book since Carpe Jugulum although they do tend to make appearances in the Tiffany Aching series!!!!

This simply shows Granny, stood. Pointy hat and all. It is a nice starter piece. Even though it is so simple it manages to get across the power of Granny. She doesn't look like she accepts any nonsense!!

Sculpted by Leigh and released in February 1992. she was available right up to closure so I have no figures sold. The quote comes from Wyrd Sisters and is a good introduction to her. She is a strong, fearless woman, I like that about her! "She walked quickly through the darkness with the frank stride of someone who was at least certain that the forest, on this damp and windy night, contained strange and terrible things and she was it.".

Granny Weatherwax Aloft DW06A

This shows Granny on her (temperamental) broomstick. Granny prefers to walk but on the occasions when she has to use it, her broomstick generally necessitates a perod of running up and down and cursing before it finally starts. This remains a theme throughout the books no matter how many times she takes it to the dwarves to be fixed! I like this piece, I like the expression of concentration on her face and the little detail of the hat pins.

Initially this piece was painted with brown stockings and a few were released like this. Terry mentioned that red and white striped stockings would be more ‘witchy’ and so it was changed. Tan legs are therefore rare and sought after. I think Terry was right and striped stockings are better (although I wouldn't mind a tan version).

The quote is from Witches Abroad.

"The sun was well up when the three witches spiralled into the sky. They had been delayed for a while because of the intractability of Granny Weatherwax's broomstick, the starting of which always required a great deal of galloping up and down. It never seemed to get the message until it was being shoved through the air at a frantic running speed.".

In common with many pieces from this time it was sculpted by Leigh. It was introduced in February 1992 and retired in August 2001. 3897 were sold, it is not known exactly how many had tan legs but it will only be a handful of the very earliest pieces. The initial RRP was £20.45 and had risen to £29.99 on retirement. Top price since has reached £55.


Nanny Ogg DW07

Nanny is the good natured motherly one of the bunch. She rules her family with a rod of iron ensuring that she is well looked after. Daughter in laws seem to bear the brunt of this and are possibly the only people that see Nannys dark side. She has 15 children, a couple of whom are regulars in the canon (it was entirely coincidental that Terry had named exactly 15 throughout the series, he hadn't been counting). Jason Ogg, her eldest, is the town Blacksmith. He is a huge man and can shoe anything (the condition on this being that he must shoe anything). Blacksmiths are a special breed on the Disc due to the handling of iron and Jason is no stranger to the occult (even being trusted to shoe Binky). Jason never made it into a figurine, a shame as I think he would have translated well. Other relatives include Shawn (who will be covered in more detail later) and Pewsey, her grandson (likewise).

She enjoys a good family feud as much as anything and has a certain bawdy sense of humour. She also knows some cracking songs!! She is the local midwife and a keen cook (and recipe book writer) and maker (and drinker) of scumble (made from 'mostly apples').

This piece is again very simple. the Witch pieces come in threes and this is the 'standing' set. She stands almost expectantly, like she's expecting you to do something!!

There is only one version of this piece but there was a prototype. in the early years pieces often made it as far as the resin stage before being rejected or altered. A box of 12 white prototype Nanny Oggs were found in the store room. This prototype shows Nanny clutching a handbag (I don't know what she would keep in it as she seems to keep her money in her bloomers!!). She had very thin ankles rendering her impractical. One or two were painted up and sold at charity auctions reaching as much as £1200. The final few were locked away intended for similar use in the future. Sadly due to the demise of Clarecraft this hasn't happened. There are a couple out there but theyare certainly extremely rare. I have taken a photo of the photo in the guide as not many people will have seen them.

This was sculpted by Leigh and introduced in 1992. She retired on closure so I have no numbers sold. The quote is from Witches Abroad.

"Nanny Ogg, on the other hand, was enthusiastically downing her third drink and, Granny thought sourly was well along the path which would probably end up with her usual dancing on the table, showing her petticoats and singing The Hedgehog Can Never Be Buggered At All.".

What's not to like about Nanny Ogg? :-)

The extremely rare Prototype Nanny Ogg


Magrat DW08

Magrat is the ‘wet hen’ of the group, wet hen she may seem to be but she has a core of steel! This was an early piece and was one of those pieces that retired rather unexpectedly and as such has been quite sought after. It was possible to buy Granny and Nanny in their original poses right up until Clarecraft closed. Magrats early retirement means there must be a large number of these pieces out there, missing their third.

Magrat is shown wearing large amount of her favourite occult jewellery and with flowers in her hair. She is very 'Hippy' in style. This piece was sculpted by John Goadby and was based on Tracey the paint shop manager at Clarecraft at the time. She was introduced in October 1990.

There was one change to this piece. A production note dated July 1995 indicated that more hair should be added to cover a pearl. On checking my own piece there is, on her left side a tiny pearl. It isn't particularly easy to see and doesn't add much, it is hard to make out that it is meant to be a pearl. I think you would be hard pressed to notice the difference if you had the two versions in front of you. It's a really tiny adjustment. The piece was retired in December 1996 so the version with the extra hair may have sold less than the first version (allowing for a few extra being sold once the reitrement was announced in the August 1996 newsletter). I do not have the numbers sold for each version but in total there are 1714 Magrats out there. She has regularly reached £80 and the Clarecraft guide lists £250 as the top price paid. The RRP was £20.45 on introduction and £21.98 at retirement.

The quote is from Wyrd Sisters.

"She'd dug out a startlingly green dress that was designed to be both revealing and clingy, and would have been if Magrat had anything to display or cling to...".


Friday 7 December 2012

Forgotten Treasures

I still haven't got a full post ready but I did invest in an app designed to stop the rage when I try to use my ipad to write my blog. I needed to give it a try and found an excuse tonight when looking through some of my old discworld stuff, trying to answer a question for someone. I located one of the desk calendars that I mentioned in my last entry but never got round to finding. This one is the 1999 one. As I recall, the 1998 one has the witches on the front. I opened it up to take a photo of it for this blog and found that I had somehow acquired a signed one!! It's signed to Peter. I don't know who Peter is but I'm sure I still paid less than a tenner for his calendar!!

I also found lots of other little treats including an uncorrected proof of The Science of Discworld, the first four compact Discworld books, 2 little tot glasses (that I genuinely forgot I had, to the point that when I saw some on ebay a couple of weeks ago, I was sorely tempted!!!) and a load of stuff from the Jamboree Bernard organised in 2007 (which brought back so many happy memories!!)

Lovely detailed little tot glasses. I actually remember buying them very cheaply and stashing them away. Must pay attention!!

Jamboree pin badge, as per usual it is still stapled into the little plastic bag :-)


Monday 15 October 2012

Calendars and Diaries (but mainly diaries!!)

Apologies for the way this entry may look.  Unfortunately my little notebook had an accident so I have had to complete this entry using my ipad.  It's like trying to herd cats and probably the most frustrating thing I have ever done.  Hopefully I will finish this entry without hurling my ipad through a window!!!!!

This section departs from Clarecraft stuff.   I decided to cover something a bit different.  This section deals with the various diaries and calendars that have been produced over the years.  I have included pictures of the diaries.  The calendars are always easily available online so I haven't photographed those.

​Diaries have been produced sporadically.  Calendars are produced each year.  Desk block calendars were produced in 1998, 1999 and 2000.  I really like the little block calendars.  Even the boxes are nicely illustrated. 

The large calendars have artwork inspired by the books from a variety of different artists with different styles.  I tended to buy 2 calendars each year (apart from one memorable year when I ended up with about 6 thanks to the generosity of friends and family).  I always intended to keep one calendar in the cellophane wrapping and use one.  I never used them despite my best intentions so I have a large number of unwrapped calendars.  They take up a fair bit of space now!  These can usually be got from ebay very easily and cheaply.  Usually around or below retail price.  The desk calendars are a bit harder to find as they come up less often but still tend to remain affordable when they do appear.  The large calendars are beautifully illustrated and a lot of people remove pictures they particularly like and frame them.  The quality of the calendars themselves lends the pictures to this.  If i had any wall space whatsoever I may have considered it myself!!

The diaries are a lot easier to store but can be more expensive depending which ones you want!

​I first became aware of the diaries in 1999 when I came across one in Smiths by chance.  It was the City Watch one and the City Watch have always been close to my heart.  I was not in the grip of collecting at that point and a friend got me the diary for Christmas.  I actually filled it in!!!  A few years later I managed to get hold of a pristine one off ebay to rectify my mistake!.  I then got one each year as they were published.  I saw that the very first diary, the UU one was very sought after and often reached high prices on ebay.  I finally managed to get a pristine one quite cheaply to complete the set.  The diaries proper stopped in 2003 before being resurrected briefly in 2007 after the popularity of Going Postal.  We then had one more and an Almanac before they stopped again.  There has not been another one recently.  

The very first ones can fetch prices of up to £70 on ebay but more usually achieve £30-£40.  The later ones can be bought practically at retail price. As with anything discish the first ones are more sought after as some people came to them late.  The prices slide down accordingly.  

All of the diaries proper ( I do not include the Almanac ) were put together by Terry and Stephen Briggs and illustrated by Paul Kidby.  They have day planners and then some fun related stuff before a proper diary section for the year. A week to 2 pages (Octeday is included).  Every couple of pages there are little comedy nuggets and the diaries are well worth reading in their own right.  Not only do they have lovely detailed covers, they also have little illustrations on the back cover. They are beautifully illustrated and are lovely items.  

It started in 1998 with the Unseen University Diary. The cover features Death in a UU scarf with a tankard of beer.  It has places to go, things to do and places to eat.  It features adverts from local businesses.  It also has an address from the Archancellor.  There are quotes from various books throughout the diary part.  This diary retailed at £9.99 and has reached in excess of £70 although if you keep your eyes open can be acquired for around £20-£30.

1999 was the City Watch Diary (my personal favourite).  I love the way the cover is printed to look like leather, complete with tiny stitches round the edge.  This one covers information for new recruits.  The diary pages have information on known 'faces' and various offences that can be committed.  This one also has lots of little allusions to Nobbys habit of repeatedly having to attend his grandmothers funeral. This retailed at £9.99 and can reach prices in excess of £50 although again, can often be acquired more cheaply.

2000 was the year of the Assassins. It features Mr Downey on the front and is very glossy compared to the previous ones.  It offers advice to students. The diary features members of the faculty, methods of dispatch and school rules.  This retailed for £9.99.

2001 features the Fools, complete with a quite intimidating picture of Dr Whiteface on the front.  It guides you round the Guild.  The diary features rules, exam questions and 'great moments'.  This year saw a price rise and it retailed for £10.99.

2002 was the turn of the Thieves and features a stripey cover with a photofit style picture of Mr Boggis.  It covers different professions within the Guild and slang used by Thieves.  The diary features famous Thieves and different techniques employed by them.  This one retailed for £10.99.

2003 is based on the (Reformed) Vampyres and features the President, John Not-a-Vampire-at-All Smith holding a cup of tea. This diary guides you through the tricky waters of reforming.  It suggests suitable employment opportunities and offers support to those giving up the 'b-vord'.  The diary features infamous vampires and inspiring 'thoughts for the week'!  This retailed for £10.99.

The diaries then stopped!!!

In 2007 the diaries were brought back.  Partly because they were missed but it was not long after Going Postal came out.  GP seemed to reinvigorate the disc and gave rise to the now legendary Discworld stamps.  I believe the popularity of GP helped turn the decision to produce another diary.

The 2007 diary featured the Post Office and was a handbook rather than a yearbook. It followed the same pattern as the previous diaries and contains lot of information about the history of the Post Office.  This year saw another price hike and the retail price went up to £12.99.

This was followed in 2008 by the Lu-Tze Yearbook of Enlightenment.  The diary features wisdom from the Way of Mrs Cosmopilite.  This one also retailed for £12.99.

The Disworld Almanac for the Year of the Prawn followed.  

This was a collaboration between Terry and Bernard Pearson. It was produced once and since then there have been no further diaries.  The emphasis is off the diary theme for this one.  It does have the months in but it is greatly reduced with a month to 2 pages.  It provides lots of helpful information to help rurally minded folk through the It also contains predictions, (possibly recycled).  It also has nice thick pages!!  This year saw price cut, Woohoo!!.  It retailed for £9.99.  It is slightly smaller than the diaries proper so ruins the line somewhat when they are together on a shelf!!!!

Thursday 4 October 2012

New start

Right.  It's been a hellish year. I did pass the promotion exam that I took in February, thank goodness! However, shortly after that my back problems began flaring up again and since then I've either been in too much pain or I've been unable to move to dig out the information and pieces I need.  I have now had spinal surgery and am slowly recovering.  Unfortunately it means I will be off work for another extended period to enable me to get some sort of fitness back.  I'm going to get my pieces photographed in the next week and start again in earnest.

I have been very pleased that I have had some feedback indicating that this blog has served the purpose I originally intended.  It has given new collectors information on pieces they have picked up.  I can't say how glad I am about that.  I will  be starting  again in the next week and think I might cover a couple of random discish items as well as Clarecraft stuff.  As ever if you have any questions feel free to contact me. I will also be updating parts of the blog with little snippets of information I have received from other collectors.

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Another delay!!!

I have had the witches section of this blog done and sitting in Word for weeks.  Unfortunately I have been studying for an important promotion exam so I haven't had time to dig out all the pieces for photos.  The exam will be done with in a few weeks so hopefully there will be another post up by the end of March.  Just wanted to post an update so it doesn't look like that I have forgotten about my little project :)

Have updated the first City Watch section.  I am now the proud owner of a Lady Ramkin so I have posted a picture.