The Cybis Porcelain Archive was actually born (in a manner of speaking) in 2010 as an adjunct to a shop I had on Etsy selling vintage jewelry and collectibles, some of which were Cybis. Because I wanted customers to know more about the type of items in my shop, I decided to set up a blog on Tumblr and write informational articles to which I linked from my Etsy listings. My earliest Cybis posts were more of an introduction to their work than a production overview.
I closed my Etsy shop in early 2015. By that time I had written almost a dozen Cybis posts and discovered that there was definitely a need to have accurate information available for collectors, shoppers, and sellers to access. There was absolutely no single information source covering the entire timeline of Cybis production, either in print or on the internet. As the online secondary market continued to expand, there was clearly a need for such a “one-stop” resource.
My Tumblr posts were relocated to WordPress as part of a new blog I set up as The Chatsworth Lady … a variation of my former Etsy shop name, Chatsworth Vintage. Here the Cybis posts were joined by other topics such as gardening, jewelry, and the occasional random topic and musings. In 2016 I decided to spin off my Cybis content, which had grown exponentially, into its own website. And thus, here we are: The Cybis Reference Archive, or “The Cybis Archive” for short.
About ‘The Cybis Archivist’ (a/k/a The Chatsworth Lady)
I purchased my first piece of Cybis purely by chance during the early 1970s, in the giftware department of an upscale department store (Bonwit Teller) across the street from where I worked. I was just a lowly clerk-typist but would often spend half my lunch hour there, wish-shopping the lovely things I couldn’t yet afford to buy. One day I came upon an adorable little porcelain owl, made by a company I’d never heard of, and on impulse decided to buy him despite the $50 price tag which represented almost half of a week’s take-home pay. This was, of course, the Baby Owl…a staple of the Cybis line continuously since 1957.
Well, one thing led to another and over the next 20+ years that little owl acquired a lot of company! An entire bedroom in our house was converted into space for commercial-size display cabinets, and there was a boxful of Cybis brochures, advertisements, and catalogs.
Fast forward again to the late 1990s when that entire boxful was lost in a house move. However, the collection remained intact — until the early 2000s when the majority of it had to be sold in order to pay (pre-ACA) medical expenses. However, even though only a very few most-favorite pieces remain, my appreciation for Cybis continues. What better way to put my experience to use than to establish an online encylopedia of Cybis?
What the Cybis Archive Is, and Isn’t
I’m rather proud to be able to say that the Cybis Archive has now become the most comprehensive single source of information about Cybis porcelain either online or in print. It draws data from reliable sources: actual Cybis catalogs and advertising brochures, newspaper interviews of the Cybis directors and reporting of special events, advertising by authorized Cybis retailers from 1960-1990s, and conversations and correspondence with people who actually worked at the Cybis studio.
When I began creating this site, I obtained permission from the Cybis Studio to use their copyrighted photographs as illustrations, if needed, and those images are identified by a Cybis Inc. watermark. All images on this site are watermarked with the name of their originator, when known, and are provided here in accordance with the provisions of fair use, as defined by Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act. Any images watermarked with either Chatsworth, The Chatsworth Lady, or The Cybis Archive are owned and copyrighted by me; if you use them, please provide the appropriate credit. They are not intended for commercial use.
The Archive is not and has never been associated with the Cybis Studio in any legal or commercial sense. It is a personal site that provides education, commentary and information about the Cybis studio’s history and its creations. It is not a selling venue for Cybis porcelain, and it does not advertise any Cybis for sale. No revenue of any kind is generated by this site.
As related in this early 2020 post, the Cybis studio itself no longer exists.
How to Use the Cybis Archive
In an effort to group sculptures together in what I hope is an interesting fashion, the Archive posts typically have a theme which falls into one of the general Categories shown in the sidebar (when viewed on a computer) or lower portion of the screen (on a mobile device.) Thus, under the People category you will find links to the posts showing the Shakespeare characters, characters from literature, ballerinas, and so on. Sometimes a post topic will fall into more than one category (e.g., both Holidays and Giftware/Home Decor) and so it will be accessible from either. The Search function can also be used, although to be honest, it works much less well than utilizing the Categories.
The Useful Cybis Topics category contains all the posts that are not an overview of sculptures themselves. In this category you will find posts on such topics as signatures and marks, the various edition types, how to determine whether a piece is authentic, the studio’s history, advice on selling or buying, etc.
As of early 2021, the Archive now has several different types of indexes. The most extensive is the Name Index, but if you don’t know the name of a human figure or bust, the Visual Index for that genre is where to look (it is the only visual index in the Archive, because the non-human figures can be easily found via their Category.)
The What’s New page gives a heads-up about any revisions or additions that were made to existing posts during the preceding month. A link to this page is among the Categories but is also in the very top row of every Archive post, above the site banner.
You can return to the Archive’s home page at any time by clicking on the site banner or the site name above it, or on the Home link in the upper left corner.
If you would like to contact me directly with any questions, or to share a photo of a piece that doesn’t already appear in the Archive, you can do so on the Contact Form page. Neither your message nor your email address will be shared or shown on the site when using the Contact Form.
I hope that you will enjoy browsing through this unique ‘online encyclopedia’ of Cybis porcelain! 🙂