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 :-)