Belleek 3

Belleek goes for top dollar

Times might be tough but when you are crafting art for posterity it's not the same as a cellphone: cool today, obsolete tomorrow.

So Belleek Pottery's latest creation is one for the ages - literally.

The Fermanagh-based company with the globally recognized name has just released its most expensive piece ever, the "International Centrepiece" priced at £75,000, or roughly $120,000.

Five of the international centerpieces have been released and there has been a great deal of interest in them from America and across the globe already, said the company in a release.

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The centerpiece was designed some time ago by Frederick Slater, who came to Belleek in 1893. It would win four gold medals at the Paris Exhibition in 1900.

Time, clearly, has not dimmed its appeal or the demand for it.

It is currently on display in the foyer of the Belleek Visitor Center.

Standing at 28 inches tall and 16 inches at it widest point, the urn shaped vase is decorated with flowers believed to have been made by William Henshall.

Irish harps rest on the base and support Irish wolfhounds. Behind the harps is an example of pierced work which would have been popular on early Belleek designs.

Each leaf, flower, wolfhound, harp was created by hand. Every bead, chain link which is connected to the wolfhound was created and joined by hand, Belleek said.

"Over the years, according to Belleek, "the skills of basket weaving, modeling and painting have been handed down from father to son. The current chief designer, Fergus Cleary, who joined the modeling department in 1978, is grandson of former craftsman, James Cleary."