Wednesday, January 22, 2020

DORA LANDEY 1936-2020

Dora when she was a young actress.

I met Dora in 1993 because a friend gave me a copy of a magazine that had an article about transferware. She said the pictures reminded her of the pottery I had in my house. I called the phone number at the end of the article, which was for Dora Landey Antiques. I thought I would buy a few pieces of tranferware, but from the moment I spoke to Dora we bonded over our lives more than pottery: children, husbands, animals, the East Coast and much more. Our friendship was immediate and deep. (I've always believed that a close friendship can begin like a love affair.)  We spoke often on the phone before we met in person in the summer of 1994 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Since 1994, we saw each other nearly every year, even though we were separated by the continent between New York and California.

Dora's loves were many, but she loved her family most of all: daughters Yummy, Nina, and Anna, and her six grandchildren. She also loved her friends, her dogs (she had five when I first visited her her), her house (a wonderful old farmhouse), and her blue pottery. Dora started her business, Dora Landey Antiques, in the late '80s or early '90s.  She sold in shops and at shows, and continued to sell blue pottery from Ruby Lane Antiques and on eBay until her untimely death on January 25, 2020.

Dora at the 2018 TCC Show and Sale in Warwick, Rhode Island

Dora is survived by her children, Yummy Helmes (David) and Nina Landey (Jodie), and her six grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her daughter Anna.

Dora lived her life fully. She stayed in her own house, enjoyed her family and friends, and sold transferware until a few days before her death. We should all be so lucky.

One more thing. Below is a photo of one of the many beautiful rooms in Dora's house. Beautiful and comfortable like Dora.

Rest in Peace dear friend.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019


Plate, 4.5 inches, titled "Self Accusation." The maker is unknown.

I really like learning new things from transferware patterns. I recently purchased a small plate that features a man with one leg asking for charity from a stout man who refuses him. The bubbles above them say: "Please to bestow your Charity" and "Friend I have it not." The title of the pattern is "Self Accusation."*  The eBay dealer from whom I purchased the plate included a copy of the source print, which greatly aided in understanding the pattern. The source print is also titled: "Self Accusation," and the subtitle, not seen here, is: "A Quaker outside a meeting house refuses charity to an amputee." Notice the words "Meeting House" on the building, which indicate a Quaker house of worship.

Self Accusation by William Pickering (1796-1854)

Even before seeing the source print, I wasn't surprised that the stout man was a Quaker as his hat and dress resembled the clothing of William Penn, a man whose image was everywhere in Pennsylvania where I grew up. William Penn, as you may remember, was the Quaker who founded the colony of Pennsylvania (Latin for Penn's Woods). Pennsylvania became the home of many Quakers seeking religious freedom.

William Penn (1644-1718)

I think the print, both on paper and on pottery, shows not so subtle prejudice against English Quakers. They were disliked because they had different religious and other beliefs; they had no priest or ministers, and they refused to fight in wars. Perhaps they were also disliked because some were successful in business. The prejudice is not unlike that against the English Jews. The Jews also practiced a different religion, although they were not adverse to military service. Read about the history of the Jews in England here.

Plate, 6.38 inches, made by Thomas Brough (1816-1822).

"The Jews Hobby" is part of a series that pokes fun at the new, in the early 19th century, craze of hobby riding (similar to a bicycle, but without pedals). However, the man with the hooked nose looks to me like a caricature that would have been at home in Nazi Germany. I have written about this pattern before. See "Caricature and Humor on Transferware or Prejudice?"

I digress.  So, what did I learn from the transferware patterns above? These small inexpensive plates with molded borders, usually associated with children's patterns, were sometimes used to feature political cartoons. Some could also spread prejudice.

*What does "self accusation" mean? It means an admission of misdeeds or faults, usually stemming from feelings of guilt.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019


Is the mug in the middle a porringer or a posset Cup?

Porringer, 2.5 wide by 2.5 inches high

I have written about this cup before.  I thought it was a posset cup, but now I think it is a porringer.*  I have read that the porringer evolved from the posset cup, and that they were very similar. The main difference is that a posset cup usually has a cover while the porringer usually does not. That said, the small size of the cup, 2.5 inches high by 2.5 inches in diameter, suggests an ornamental gift or token rather than one intended for use. It was probably given by a loving grandmother to celebrate the birth of a grandchild. Or, perhaps, a gift for a Christening.

The side view of the porringer shows the handle.
I thought I'd show you some other ceramic porringers, so you can compare the shape.

Shown is an 18th century Staffordshire porringer from the Potteries Museum in Stoke-on-Trent.

Shown is an English porringer (1800-1850)  from the Detroit Institute of Art.

Here's another pot with the same message, "A Grandmothers (sic) Gift," as the first cup I showed you. The shape, however, is like a miniature potty! As it is only 2.5 inches high by 1.75 inches in diameter, it was not intended to be used as a real potty. Instead, it is a humorous gift or token.

Miniature token in the shape of a potty
Miniature token in the shape of a potty

But, is it a porringer? No. However, it is a gift from a loving grandmother.

I have shown you the photo below in another post, "A Grandmother's Gift and Transferware." I am just adding it here so you can see the porringer with a plate and a mug. The message transcends shape and size.  Does it really matter if the shape is a mug, a plate, a porringer, a posset cup, or a potty? Or, does it matter if it is intended for use?

Did Grandfathers give ceramic gifts too? Of course! Although I couldn't find a porringer with this message, I did find the mug below.

Shown is a child's mug, ca. 1820

*Almost the end. I want to thank Sue Wagstaff and Gaye Blake-Roberts for suggesting that the mug, "A Grandmother's Gift," which I brought to the Transferware Collectors Club 2019 Annual Meeting in Birmingham, was actually a porringer. I am always learning something new!

One more thing. What is a porringer? Used for porridge of course! I have meandered as usual.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019


I thought this small item, 1.75 inches high, was a napkin ring.  I did some research and discovered that it is called an egg hoop or egg ring.  The opening at one end is larger than the other end to accommodate both large and small eggs.

Egg Hoop, 1.75 inches high by 2 inches in diameter on one side and 1.5 inches in diameter on the other side. It is printed in a variation of the Tea Party pattern. Notice that the hoop has an indented "waist."

Two inch opening at one end of the egg hoop accommodates large eggs. Notice that this opening is flared, while the opening at the other end is straight.

Smaller 1.5 inch opening on the other side of the hoop accommodates small eggs.

This egg hoop is printed with one of the many tea party patterns.* Although the pattern is a bit blurred, you can see the man and the woman sitting at the tea table.

The other side of the egg hoop features a building. Anyone know what it is?

The pattern wraps around the egg hoop. There are trees and bushes, as well as this unidentified building.

Below is the egg hoop holding a large egg. When the egg is cooked, the top of the egg can be removed so that that the egg can be eaten from the shell with an egg spoon (small spoon).

Is an egg cup the same as an egg hoop? I have written about egg cups in a previous post. Take a look at the post to find out.

Can an egg hoop be used as a napkin ring? Why not!

Egg hoop used as a napkin ring. Why not! I guess I would need more than one. Oh well.

 *Below is a version of the Tea Party pattern. There are many versions of the Tea Party Pattern in the Transferware Collectors Club Database of Patterns and Sources.

William Smith (&Co.) 1825-1855 "No. 3" saucer printed with the Tea Drinker or Tea Party pattern, ca. 1830.

Sunday, July 21, 2019


W.G. White 2.75 inch caviar pot. ca. 1900.

Did you know that July 18th is National Sturgeon Day? As I have said many times, there is a national day for nearly everything. What is a sturgeon? It is a fish that is known for its roe or eggs that we call caviar (this caviar link is really interesting). The pot above was designed to hold caviar for W.G. White, London, around 1900 (the company is still in business).  The pot was returnable (to be refilled), which may be why it has survived the dust bin.  Also, because it is so pretty. Is it transferware? I am not sure. It may be a decal transfer rather than the more time consuming copper plate to tissue to pottery process that is responsible for most of the transferware written about in "Dishy News." To learn more about the transferware process see my "The Potters' Art" post.

The lid of the W.G. White caviar pot.

The bottom of the W.G. White caviar pot.

The pot below advertises caviar sold by Fortnum & Mason in the 20th century. It was transfer printed at the Cauldon factory (1905-1920), although it may have been made by a later incarnation of this company. Notice the handsome sturgeon.

Twentieth century Fortnum & Mason caviar pot.

A picture of a sturgeon from Wikipedia.

One more photo and a bit of advice.

Notice the tape that holds the lid to the pot. I have learned from experience that this is a good idea!

Monday, June 10, 2019


Don Pottery (1801-1831) Milkmaid pattern 10 inch plate. Notice that there is no border.

One of my favorite transferware patterns is "The Milkmaid." To me it embodies 19th century rural England. Probably more myth than reality. The pattern was popular, and it was made by many factories.  For example, the Transferware Collectors Club database shows 15 milkmaid patterns made by different manufacturers.  In no particular order, I'll show you a few. All have a milkmaid, a cow, and usually some other animals nearby. And, some of the patterns are more realistic than others.

Davenport (1794-1887) 5.12 inch saucer. Notice the black and white sheep on the right.

Spode ( 1770-1833) Milkmaid pattern 4.5 inch high teapot.

Thomas Rathbone & Co. (1810-1845) Milkmaid pattern saucer. There are no additional animals in this pattern.

BelleVue Pottery (1826-1841) Milkmaid pattern.

Sewell & Donkin (1821-1852) Milkmaid plate. Notice that the milkmaid is much larger than the woman on her right!
Sewell (1804-1820) 6.75 inch Milkmaid plate. Notice the waterwheel and cottage.

Davenport (1794-1887) Milkmaid plate. The pattern is from Davenport's Rustic Scenes series.

Scott (1800-1897) Milkmaid saucer. The black sheep looks like a shadow.

Some unattributed milkmaid patterns.

This pattern is so busy, it is hard to find the milkmaid!

This milkmaid looks as if she is milking a bull or an ox!

A milkmaid 4.25 inch mug. Does this pattern seem simpler than the others?

Milkmaid 10.25 inch coffee pot. I thought you might like the lovely shape of the coffee pot.

Milkmaid coffee pot.  Notice the interesting repairs to the spout and handle.

Milkmaid with other people!

It's a bit of a stretch, but the above teapot could be added to my post "Recognition of the Familiar and Transferware Cows."

It would be interesting to chart the similarities and differences between all of the patterns. Perhaps someone will offer to do it!  One more thing.  Let me know if you have a milkmaid pattern that I haven't included in this post. 

Saturday, May 25, 2019


"A Present From The Staffordshire Potteries" plate, ca. 1830. If the photo looks familiar, I used it in my post "The TCC England Tour 2015: Part I - The Victoria and Albert Museum."

When I was a child in the 1950s, my grandparents brought me a pink glass flamingo from Florida. The base of this gift said "Greetings From Miami Beach." They knew I'd like this pink souvenir. I did like it, but I loved that they thought of me when they were far away. Now that I'm a grandmother, I  think about my grandchildren when I am away from home. I recently brought them stuffed bison from North Dakota and red money boxes from London.  I don't know when souvenir giving became popular, but I imagine it is an ancient custom. The word "souvenir" means "to remember" in French. It is from Latin "subvenire" which means "occur to the mind."

I digress as usual, but I have been leading up to showing you souvenirs from the Staffordshire Potteries. The souvenirs from the Potteries did two things; they not only reminded children that they were remembered (and loved),  but they also advertised the Potteries and their wares. Below are a few early 19th century souvenirs from the Potteries.

Mug, 2.5 inches high, "A Trifle From The Potteries."

Mug, 2.41 inches high, "A Present From The Potteries."

John Wilkinson (1828-1867) 4.25 inch darning egg, "A Gift from the Pottery."

Mug, "A Gift from the Pottery." Notice that this mug is poorly printed. Souvenir china was very cheap, so quality was not always important.

Mug, 2.5 inches high, "A Gift From The Potteries," ca. 1830

The item below is not from the early 19th century. It is a coaster that was made for members of the Transferware Collectors Club who attended the TCC meeting in England in 2015. Notice that it is the same pattern as the 19th century plate at the top of the page.  I use it everyday.  It sits on my desk and usually holds a cup of coffee.  It always reminds me of the Staffordshire Potteries and the excellent 2015 TCC meeting. 

A 4.5 inch coaster made for the 2015 TCC meeting in England. Notice that this is the same pattern as the early 19th century plate above.

The back of the coaster reminds me of the wonderful TCC meeting in 2015, and it advertises the name of the Pottery that made it, "Royal Stafford, Made In Burslem The Heart Of The Potteries."