Art History Studies

Collections Assembled 1973-1996
(Victorian Time, England, Italy, Japan)


Ongoing Study of Art History& Forming Collections

Novak’s entire life, creative qualities of whatever medium, culture, or period, drew his spontaneous attention of proportionate degree to his aroused interest. Most times his natural intensity of one track mind scanned, absorbed and compiled many subjects of creativity, and a few times such experiences focused and energized him way beyond his norm, to form outstanding accumulations of both knowledge and collections.

Assisted primarily by his gifted photographic memory and total recall to subjects of his committed interest, Novak swiftly formed a few collections which were in a category all their own. He focused primarily on less recognized, unaccredited, forgotten, neglected, past creativity by recent history and present powers of the arts, intent on sharing his recognitions of qualities by publicizing them through manuscripts, photography, and exhibits.

His focus on “English Majolica”, a Victorian ceramic category , at the time devoid of one single book on the subject, drew within weeks the “English Pottery and Porcelain Encyclopedia” author, Geoffrey Godden’s comment : “Novak, three more weeks of such intensity and you will be the world expert on the subject”. Few months into it, Novak received a phone call from Armand Allen, at the time the head of Sotheby’s New York City ceramics department: “I heard on the grapevine that you are the world’s foremost expert on English Majolica, would you teach me?”

The most respected position of personal stature, a uniquely British practiced criteria, is that of “the amateur who became the world expert”, a place where Novak by default had arrived. When a few months into his Majolica quest he wrote to Her Majesty the Queen, requesting permission to examine unique Majolica examples at the Dairy House on the grounds of Windsor Castle, a quick check was made on Novak. The palace did contact several English ceramic experts, who by then knew of Novak’s efforts and unanimously reported: Novak is doing a great contributing job of reviving appreciation for the English Majolica pottery of Victorian times. Based on that response, a fortnight since his approach, Novak received the letter shown below.

(letter to be inserted)

In the mid 1990's the Metropolitan Museum of New York City set up a 19th century hall of creativity where highly selected objects best representing their category are displayed. In the exhibit, side by side, standing five feet tall are two Wedgewood swan vases of Majolica ceramics, which uniquely represent their category. The two, which are glazed individually, found one year apart, were acquired, restored, shipped to America, formed the crown of Novak’s Majolica collection, and were eventually donated to the museum.

Listing of collections created during 1973-1996

* Victorian English Majolica (ceramics) For Further Information - click here
* Early photography in the Holy Land (19th C)
* Meiji Japanese metal work (objects)
* Meiji Japanese Cloisonne (objects)
* Various English Victorian Ceramics and Stoneware (prime examples)
* Relevant books to the collections and books which encompassed full knowledge themselves
* Japanese parquetry furniture ( 18th C through early 20th C) For Further Information - click here
* Christopher Dresser Designer (Victorian)
* Pugin Architec Designer ( Victorian)
* Ramsden designs/crafts (early 20th C)
* Makazu Kozan late Meiji studio porcelain
* Guliano & Castellani ( 19th C. jewelry) For Further Information - click here
* Victorian church altar candlesticks
* Within the ceramics and metal works collections, a number of smaller subject and function collections were formed, of inkwells, vases, teapots, plates, tiles, Cashpots, wall brackets, articulated insects, pipes, garden seats, cheese bells, game pie dishes, oyster dishes, strawberry dishes, and others.
* Japanese geisha combs (hard carved box wood)
* Exotic fabrics.
* Stamps by subject.

Of the 4 collections which became true passions, to which Novak devoted so much of himself from 1973 to 1996, contributing by his abilities for greater knowledge of these 4 categories, at the time long since neglected and unappreciated, nothing but knowledge and memories of it all remained with him.

Not a single object from any of the four figure of objects accumulations, no credit to any of his contributing efforts, no acknowledgment of any of his found objects later given to museums in lieu of tax deduction credits or loans for future such and for social rewards meanwhile.

Most of the collections were sold by auctions or by other sale arrangements, other deals of dispersed pieces went to individuals who served agendas, some choice pieces formed the museum tax deals for the past decade and for future years. Of the four collections now valued at a total of well over $20,000,000., not a single dollar came to Novak. Some of the very best pieces of all four collections, and unique choice objects from other categories of Novak's collecting, none are with him but in the hands of those who organized a colossal betrayal against him.

That horrific wipe out of all entitlements was extended to encompass way beyond his years of collecting efforts, orchestrated for 5 years behind his back by those closest and most trusted by him, that despicable act is described by chapter 2 in a book titled; Beinee-Le-Beinee.

To Read About It - Click here




Charles Toft Pottery, copies of the French St. Porcher 16thC through 18thC


Gifting The London V&A Museum a Toft

The Minton Exhibit within the British presentation at the 1889 Universal Paris Exhibition included a pottery fountain by Charles Toft in the style of St. Porchaire, emulating a Moorish indoor garden fountain. For years Novak chased various parts of this dismembered scattered magnificent object to reassemble the fountain, in spite all efforts, being the longest chase for Novak after any piece of antiques, few parts are still missing. Eventually Novak reached a point of giving the fountain to the museum which is their on display ever after.
Charles Toft, the Victorian era of Stoke-on-Trent potter, began his career at Minton Company, then continued on his own before joining the Wedgewood Potteries. Toft's most noted creativity through much of his productive years was his close copies and some elaborately improved copies of the French renaissance pottery style of St. Porchaire. Some of these St. Porchaire original pieces were scientifically date-tested and have been proven to have been produced from the 16th to the 18th century. Little convincing scholarship of St. Porchaire exists to date, and it's renaissance mystery has extended to the extraordinary if little known creativity and skills of Charles Toft, whose "embellished" pieces by hues and shades have reached exquisite levels all their own. Within my years of interest in Toft's pottery very few resurfaced in the antique world and the auction rooms in London and beyond, most of which I then assembled.


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Collecting English Majolica 1973-1996 | Collecting Japanese Parquetry 1976-1996

Collecting 19th C. Jewelry 1984-1976


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