accumulations.co.uk

Discontinued Collectibles Guide





Lilliput Lane Land of Legends

It may be that Lilliput Lane’s excursion into the fantasy world reproduced so beautifully in the Land of Legends range of collectibles was inspired by a visit to Germany. It was 1985 and inspired by the unexpected explosion of demand for his miniature cottages, launched only three years earlier, sculptor and founder, David Tate felt ready to expand his horizons.

Enquiries kept coming in from collectors asking for castles just as the company was contemplating the introduction of a German collection. David Tate and his assistant sculptor, Tom Raine, travelled to Germany seeking suitable subjects to reproduce in miniature. Given the interest in castles being expressed back home; it seems likely that the famous "fairy tale" castles of the Rhine and the dark Gothic architecture of German castles fired the imaginations of the two artists. They were there for several weeks soaking up the atmosphere after all.

By July 1986 the team were ready to respond to the requests for castles. However they didn’t just produce straightforward miniatures of the German castles like their range of British buildings. Oh no, they launched something completely different! What emerged was an imaginative collection of fantasy castles, perhaps loosely based on what they’d seen in Germany, accompanied by dragons, magicians and various phantasmagorical monsters. Teutonic legend and mythology expanded and brought to life. Wagner meets the Brothers Grimm meet Tom Raine and David Tate!

The new range was in fact sculpted by Tom Raine, who let his imagination run wild. There was actually a theme to the Land of Legends collection, a story line into which the characters were woven. It is a tale of a spiritual quest to find the lost hero. It’s the nature of medieval poetry and legend that there is usually a quest and so it is here.

Heroic tales need characters so figurines of the characters involved were introduced, marking a new stage in Lilliput Lane’s own journey. A new company was formed to produce Land of Legends. In fact it was a figurine, "Dennis the Dragon", which launched the new line as a Dealer’s Sign, issued only to dealers. An interview with David Tate came with it, in which he is quoted as saying, "Dennis the Dragon is our little flagship, our gate into the world of mythology". This delightful little piece of whimsy was only in production for a year and a half, making it now one of the most highly sought-after collectables in the range.

The 1986 release of Land of Legends consisted of just six actual castles, one of which, "Castle of the Exiled Prince" is based on a real life castle, Blair Atholl in Scotland. All the others were pure fantasy, products of Tom Raine’s fertile imagination.

Later that year another model based on a real castle was introduced. Schloss Rheinjungfrau, based on Burg Eltz Schloss Rheinjungfrau in Germany was a limited edition with only 1500 made, all hand-numbered. It was provided with a wooden plinth and was the tallest of the entire range.

All the models were still being produced, moulded in Amorphite, in the original Lilliput Lane factory in Penrith, Cumbria. Collectors can identify these original release models by the backstamp, "Lilliput Lane 1986". Each model came with a different poem related to its place in the story. You need all six to complete the story if you can follow the plot! Tom Raine could perhaps explain it but, there again, maybe not! Production of this set continued until December 1988.

Land of Legends was split from the original Lilliput Lane marque in 1987 when the company’s growing prosperity enabled it to acquire Albany Fine China, an existing company based in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. There Lilliput Lane Land of Legend Limited was established with lots of manufacturing space. The new company became known to Lilliput Lane’s people as, "5L".

February 1988 saw the first four collections of 5L collectibles released: Dream Castles, Dream Dragons, Fantasy Figurines and The Secret of the Swan Princess.

Later that year, David Tate visited the USA. There, in Annapolis, he encountered the work of a sculptor specialising in fantasy figures, Hap Henriksen. In seeking out this artist, he ran across another famous sculptor, Real Musgrave. David recruited both men to the 5L team.

Back in Stoke, the switch from Amorphite to resin created another division of collectables for us today. It also suited the work of Hap Henriksen perfectly and his series of collectibles, "Wizards-Jesters-Dragons were soon in production. Wizards included "Moriah" and Jesters had the limited edition "Baldrick the Incredibly Simple. " That must ring a few bells with Blackadder fans!

Real Musgrave meanwhile was also busy. His "Pocket Dragons" are World famous and highly collectable today. More amazing models continued to be produced until in 1990, Albany Fine China was sold to enable Lilliput Lane to concentrate on what it did best, miniature cottages.

A major re-structuring of the whole business followed and Bill Dodds, CEO of Lilliput Lane became the proprietor of Land of Legends as an independent company, with Henriksen and Musgrave as principal sculptors. Eventually Mr Dodds changed the name of the company to Collectible World Studios.

The fantasy figurines were produced by Collectible World Studios, along with the well known Pocket Dragons collection, until January 2002 when all production was transferred to the Far East for economic reasons. In May2006 Collectible World Studios went into receivership and production seems to have ceased permanently. With no more of these beautifully made characters being created the existing examples can only become ever more collectable.

The following is a list of live auctions for "Lilliput Lane Land of Legends" currently listed on eBay. Hover the mouse cursor over the current price for details of postage and packaging. If you would like to see more information on a particular piece and maybe even bid on it, simply click on the item description to be magically whisked away to the wonderful world that is eBay. Alternatively you may use the search box to look for a specific piece for your collection.

Please also check out the Lilliput Lane Land of Legends Books, Related Dealers and Useful Resources listed at the end of this page.

Useful Resources

No resources are currently listed for Lilliput Lane Land of Legends. If you know of a useful website that other Land of Legends collectors would like to know about please email us at enquiries@accumulations.co.uk.


Our Beautiful Sponsors

ReplaceYourChina.com BizGen.co.uk