As a bit of preface for this blog, for anyone not reading it on or around the 20th of August, 2021, New Zealand is back into a full lockdown and the whole country has gone a bit silly. So, in keeping with that spirit, today on the blog we are doing a Buzzfeed style article on Beauty and the Beast characters as 19th century artefacts found in Christchurch. This blog was inspired by our first artefact (and most definitely was not thought up as an excuse to justify a Disney+ subscription for “research purposes”). Enjoy!
The artefact that inspired this post. Does the expression on the clock’s face just not remind you so much of Cogsworth?! On the left is the fragment that we found in one of our Lyttelton sites. If you thought that was amazing, the central image is the complete vase, which is even more amazing. I feel like the concerned expression on the face really captures Cogsworth’s worried personality.
Cogsworth’s best pal, the suave Lumiere would have to be this Miller lamp. While this is an oil lamp, and Lumiere is a candlestick, I feel that the silver plating and the decoration really demonstrate Lumiere’s sophistication in a way that some of the other candlesticks we’ve found before can’t.
Mrs Potts is a true gem. Not only does she take care of Belle and the rest of the household, but she sings Tale as Old as Time, an absolute banger. In the movie Mrs Potts is a porcelain teapot, but we don’t often find porcelain teapots here in Christchurch. So, instead I’ve gone with this silver lustre glazed teapot. It’s a little bit common, like Mrs Potts, but also literally shines, just like she does.
The cute son of Mrs Potts, Chip has to be a gilt banded teacup. Like the teapot, it’s a bit common, but also is a timeless classic.
Plumette, as she’s known in the 2017 live action remake, or Fifi, as she’s known in the original animation film, is the feather duster. She’s Lumiere’s girlfriend, and like him portrays an air of sophistication. This porcelain vase, with its ruffled handles, is reminiscent of Plumette’s feathers and like her, is sophisticated and classy.
Gaston is an arrogant bully. He’s rich and handsome, but that doesn’t make up for being a horrible person. Look at the man on this bowl. He’s rich. But he’s also not a nice guy. Look at the horse, the horse knows his rider isn’t the good guy. The horse’s expression says it all.
Le Fou is Gaston’s sidekick. He’s not the sharpest tool in the shed, but he’s loyal to Gaston, even if he doesn’t always agree with him. I feel that the expression on this doll’s face really conveys a lot of what goes through Le Fou’s brain. Why is Gaston pursuing a woman who has very explicitly told him that she doesn’t like him? Why does Gaston steal my ideas? Why is he always hitting me? The face says it all.
Belle’s father, Maurice is an inventor. And what better artefact to represent him than this Seasons patterned cup. While the cup is showing a man sharpening a scythe, rather than inventing something, I still feel like it’s very Maurice like.
Remember the girls who fawn over Gaston and are mean to Belle, apparently, they’re called the Bimbettes- Claudette, Laurette, and Paulette. They might be very minor characters, but if I’m dedicating a whole blog post to Beauty and the Beast we might as well include everyone. The girls painted on this cup really portray the snobbery of the Bimbettes. You can just imagine the girl on the left looking down her nose at Belle.
If you thought the Bimbettes were a minor character, then we’re getting even more minor. The Wolves patrol the woods around the Beast’s castle, and attack both Maurice and Belle during the film. I feel like this jug really portrays the terror of those attacks, albeit it’s showing a dragonfly attacking ducklings. Why this exists as a pattern, I have absolutely no idea. But it’s amazing.
The Enchanted Rose
And while we’re doing minor characters, who could forget the enchanted rose that kickstarted the whole story.
Out of all the characters from the movie, I found the Beast the hardest to match with an artefact. While the Victorian’s decorated their transfer ware with patterns showing dragonflies attacking ducklings, they didn’t do man beasts, or at least not that I’ve found. So, I’ve decided on this clay pipe. The decorative antlers on the bowl and stem represent the Beast’s appearance, but the artefact overall is quite elegant and poised, just like the Prince that the Beast truly is.
Our heroine, the Disney Princess for every little book loving girl out there. Also, arguably the most badass of all the original Disney Princesses (Moana definitely takes that title now). Remember that scene at the start of the movie where Belle is walking through the village, this cup is that scene. And then later on in the movie when she wears the yellow ballgown, that’s the doll below it.
Some of the characters I found that there were multiple artefacts that could fit their personality. Here’s a compilation of artefacts that didn’t make the list, but that still work. See if you can guess which artefact represents which character.