(A Brief History)
I was one of a lucky few who got to visit Andrew Bill and Phil and Dea Holland at Moddershall Oaks Health Spa near Stoke-on-Trent in February 2001 as part of a small consumer group to talk about the new Verbum Magus range and input ideas, we saw early concepts for the packaging and certificates, we heard about the releasing policy and the way the pieces were to be sold exclusively by mail order with a website called 'The Dragon Site' set up to sell the pieces that would expand over time as the range expands, we were also to learn of plans for different pieces/ranges by other sculptors for the Dragon site but what really impressed us the most was to actually see the pieces, we were lucky enough to see Verbum Magus pieces 'Incantation' and 'Deliverance' in their painted state and Andrews original wax sculpture's for 'Secrets' and 'Thief' (plus we got to see a couple of other pieces for the Dragonsite by Julie Bell (Vansal) and Boris Vallejo and heard about a piece by Hap Henriksen), what we saw blew us away and we left very happy indeed.
Then on the weekend of the 26th and 27th of May 2001 the range was launched at a small show at Moddershall Oaks Health Spa near Stoke-on-Trent (that just happened to be on the same weekend as Royal Doultons Enchantica Extravaganza), the show was a great success and visitors got the chance to purchase 'Incantation' and 'Deliverance' (and Julie Bells 'Vansal') and meet up with Andrew Bill who happily signed pieces for people, Phil and Dea Holland were kept very busy as they were very much 'hands on' selling the pieces, collectors also got to see painted versions of forthcoming pieces like 'Secrets', 'Thief' and 'Renaissance', also Steve Vyse was at the show painting various pieces (including Hap Henriksens piece for the Dragon site). The day was a great success and showed great promise for the future of the range.
Over time things went quite well but pieces began to take ages to appear and then there was the sudden death of Doug Michell the owner of the US side of the company in June 2003 and the decision of Phil and Dea to concentrate their time on building work at their Health Spa, all this resulted in no news from the dragonsite other than the Fact that Doug's son, Douglas had taken over the U.S side of the company. collectors began to get aggravated and dejected at getting no news, this wasn't helped when a dealer in America started to sell the Verbum piece called Window of Wonders but it wasn't available in the UK nor via the official site (in fact it wasn't even mentioned on the site!). Then on the 10th of December 2003 Phil and Dea Holland announced via the Dragonsite chat page that they intended to sell the UK arm of the company.
In March 2004 it was announced that fellow collector Adrian Donati had purchased the UK arm of the Dragonsite in February and he still continues to run the UK side which mainly involves Dragon figures and Douglas started to scout for artists to release Faerie Figures. The ranges available started to expand, as well as Andrew Bills Verbum Magus range we got Hap Henriksens Ressurection range in 2003 plus we got our first taste of what would become an extremely popular range, Nene Thomas Fairies were introduced and the first piece was 'Fairy of the Ravens' so popular was this piece and 'Serenity' & 'Introspection' in 2004 that they became the Dragonsites most popular range. So popular were the Faeries that it was inevitable that more would appear based on other faerie artists work, so in 2005 we got pieces by Sheila Wolk & Jessica Galbreth, in 2006 Brigid Ashwood & Linda Biggs then in 2007 Selina Fenech, Ruth Thompson & Jacqueline Collen-Tarrolly.
It wasn't all faeries though... Andrew Bill was hard at work on other dragon figures for other ranges to complement his Verbum Magus range, 2004 saw the introduction of the Bookwyrms which were released in 2005, also at the end of 2005 was got the first of the Seven Sins range 'Anger' this was a complete departure because now we had a range of Dragons completely produced in the UK and this was warmly welcomed by collectors, Unfortunately the UK company that produced them went into liquidation in 2007 which caused a few problems because a new manufacturer had to be found which has put some delay in production. Then in 2006 the T. Chi Dragons of Dragony were introduced which were sculpted in China, these were followed in 2007 with the Dragony bubble riders.
In 2007 at the Dragonsite event we got our very first event piece, the Andrew Bill Sculpted 'Staffordian' which like the Seven Sins was produced entirely in the UK.
To be continued...
The boxes for the Dragonsite are shown in the picture below, the interior packing consists of solid Styrofoam blocks that are specially made for the piece and is has soft sponge foam to protect the more delicate parts of the piece like the claws and neck. (The Dragonsite web site used to have the same pattern that's on the box for it's backgrounds)
Each box has a sticker on the back in the same design as the box that tells you what piece it is and it is individually hand numbered with the limited number of the piece.
Each piece Verbum Magus piece comes with a full colour certificate wether it is an open edition like 'Incantation' or a limited edition, The picture below shows the certificate for 'Deliverance'. Not all ranges come with certificates though, the Faeries are limited pieces but only have the number on the base and box but don't come with a certificate
How to contact and purchase Dragonsite pieces
You can contact The Dragonsite in any of the following ways
By Phone - +44 (0)1606 359111
By Fax - +44 (0)1606 359111
By e-mail - email@example.com
By Web site - The Dragonsite.com
Or By Post - thedragonsite.com
Unit 4b, Leftwich Warehouses
Cheshire, CW9 5JN
Or if you are in the U.S
1220 Waterville-Monclova Rd
Waterville, OH 43566