|Beemaster Pattern, c. 1820|
Monday, February 25, 2013
I love the stories that transferware patterns tell. Some of the stories are obvious and some need us to bring our individual points of view. The Beemaster pattern was copied from a watercolor by George Robertson, which is in the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery in Bedford, England. The watercolor is titled "Autumn: Swarm of Bees." There appears to be a swarm of bees on the ground. You do need to look carefully. The beemaster is carrying a bee skep to place over the bees. I was a bit confused about the title of the painting until I located the small patch of bees on the ground. I thought swarming bees needed to be in the air!
An elderly English friend of mine said the pattern always made her think of a country wedding. The young couple are wearing their best clothes. He has his arm around her, and she leans toward him. The beemaster is holding a bee skep, which my friend said was a traditional English wedding gift. Bees, she added, offer both symbolic and real gifts: honey for sweetness and wax for candles. Jonathan's Swift's "sweetness and light."