Barsony Ceramics was a ceramics manufacturing company, operated by George and Jean Barsony, from early '50s to early '70s. It was located in Guildford, near Sydney. During peak production the company employed quite a few people in their workshop and often ran shifts to meet the demand.
Barsony Ceramics also produced items under the Silver Cloud and Venice label. Apparently, Silver Cloud, was the name of a horse that belonged to Jean Barsony's sister.
Barsony produced many forms of slip mould products, which included candlesticks, figurines, lamp bases, ashtrays, wall hangings, bookends, figures vases, bowls etc. Ashtrays were attached to ornamental figurines to avoid a huge sales tax placed on ornamental items as utility items attracted much less tax.
Barsony used prefix markings on their products, for example, F, FL, GL, H, HL, L, U, T, V, followed by a number. The letter marking identified the type of product e.g. H meant head, V means vase, L means lamp, FL stands for figure lamp and HL stands for head lamp, and so on, while the number that followed was the mould number.
Most Barsony products were marked, but an absence of a mark does not mean they were not made by Barsony, as occcasionally the impression of the mark was lost during firing. Some products were also mounted on a wooden base, which was fixed to the figure by screwing the base into corks inserted in the base of the figure, thus concealing the maker's mark.
Although better known for their matt black finish, Barsony also created in lustre and brown and white finishes.
The plastic ribbon shade was definitely the most popular shade that he used but there were also an assortment of shades wrapped with raffia and trimmed with thin, velvet ribbon. white ribbon with gold fleck etc etc. The original ribbon shades are from light plastic strips, similar to shower curtain plastic, often with panels of printed plastic between solid colour.
Many of these shades have failed to stand the test of time, mainly due to the use of higher powered globes that weakened and burnt the strips. The recommended wattage should not exceed 40 watts.
These days Barsony products are highly collectable and fetch high prices at traditional and online auctions sites, which unfortunately has led to almost any black ceramic being named as Barsony.
· Barsony figures have a smooth, gentle roundness on all features. Facial features are never prominent, with lips highlighted in red and occasionally subtle colour applied to the eyes. Breasts are always rounded, never pointed, and the same with head shape.
· Barsony used only single strand brass earrings (apart from pearl drops) - not the twisted style seen on some black ladies.
· The unique feature of Barsony is the clever use of brightly coloured paint to imply clothing and other floral decorations.