Thursday, September 24, 2015


Spode (1770-1833) "Aesop's Fables The Horse And The Loaded Ass" 21 inch well and tree platter, ca. 1832-33.  The series was continued throughout the 19th century by Copeland & Garrett and Copeland.

Spode "Aesop's Fables" mark

I watched the second Republican debate recently.  This is not actually a post about politics.  It is more about reality because politics and reality do not often make good dance partners. Some of the questions and potential candidates' answers made me think of Aesop's Fable "The Horse And The Loaded Ass."  Here is a version of the fable:

I think I would exchange the word "kind" for the word "help" and the word "weak" for less fortunate.   If we (I am including myself) don't share the burden, we will be condemned to shoulder it all!

Here is a history of the fable, found on Wikipedia, titled The Horse and the Donkey.  The entry is illustrated with the same Spode pattern as above.  It ends with the moral from La Fontaine's Fables;

Saturday, September 19, 2015


Transferware keeping company with Art Deco pottery, both English and American.  The platters from the left are: Fisherman With Nets, Robert Hamilton (1811-1826); Named Views Series, Don Pottery (1801-1839), and Scene After Claude Lorraine,  Leeds Pottery, Hartley Greens & Co (1781-1827)
Growing up in 1950s New Zealand my maternal grandmother had 9 Wedgwood and Wade transferware dinner plates, on her dining room dresser. Because she was born with only one arm, it was my job, aged 10, to dust her precious plates when we visited her. I soon came to love them and was allowed to dry them after special meals, Easter, Christmas and so on. At 17 I bought my first transferware teapot from a Salvation Army shop for $5.00, 'snail ware', (by Wade). Twenty years later a friend admired it so much I had to give it to her, thrilled she was starting her own collection. Moving to London I bought my first Wedgwood meat platter at Alexandra Palace, and another from Portobello Road, where we lived for a while. By my mid twenties I was obsessed but limited myself to English blue and white transferware meat platters and only early Spode, Riley and Wedgwood. I also forbade myself to buy in auctions or online. Somehow I need to be in the room with the piece, to feel it in my hand, to let it win a place in my heart. I also rotate my favorites, bringing them out for a year or so while other pieces 'rest' in the attic, until it is their time to come out to be enjoyed again. Now our daughters are
interested in transferware, so I have a good excuse to go treasure hunting for them, which is such a joy.

Favorite platter, Don Pottery (1801-1839) well and tree platter/Notice the cherubs in the border.

Sunday, September 13, 2015


Close-up of the center of the Beehive and Vases platter

The only food we derive from insects is honey from the honeybee.  Bees are important!  I have already written about dangers to bees in my post "Bees And Transferware."  This post is about honey and the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, which begins today at sundown.   It is customary on Rosh Hashanah to eat food dipped in honey or made with honey to symbolize a sweet New Year.  I remember dipping apples in honey and eating my grandmother's delicious honey cake when I was a little girl.

Beehives and bees are popular transferware patterns because people have always admired and benefited from them.   Here are a few of my favorite bee related patterns.

Enoch Wood & Sons (1818-1846) Beehive and Cottage pattern  plate, ca. 1825

Davenport (1794-1887) Beehive in a Skep pattern, ca. 1825

Ralph Stevenson & Williams (1825-1827) Beehive and Vases platter, ca. 1825

L'Shanah Tova/Happy New Year!

Honeybee on the Armistad salvia in my garden.  Thanks to David Hoexter for the photo!

Saturday, September 5, 2015


Saucer dish, 8 inches, ca. 1820.

A few weeks ago, my cousin, Molly Arost Staub (google her name and you'll see she has written for a lot of newspapers), had an article published in the Forward about her family farm retreat in New Jersey in the 1940s and 50s.  The farm was an integral part of my childhood too, and the story renewed memories that I thought I had forgotten.

I went to the farm every summer for about ten years.  I was a part of a large and loving family filled with aunts, uncles, cousins and beloved grandparents.  I got to pick blueberries in the nearby woods, swim in a lake, and toast marshmallows at a campfire.  If it sounds idyllic, it was.  There were even a few dogs who roamed freely with me and my cousins.  I miss the farm, my innocent childhood, and the people who were in it. 

One of my favorite poems is Dylan Thomas' "Fern Hill."  I have always loved it, but it is more meaningful to me now.  Especially the line in the last stanza; "And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land."

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would
take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.

I know I sound maudlin or sad, but I am not.  I appreciate my life now as much as I did as a child.  I only wish I had appreciated the people in my childhood more.  When I was young, I didn't realize that life and time were so ephemeral.

Bubby and Poppy's 45th wedding anniversary in 1947/From the left Back Row: Bubby holding my newborn sister Janet, Molly, Nory, Alice, Sidney, Marilyn, Herbie, and Poppy; Middle Row: Mickey, Mike and David (held by Poppy);  Sitting: Anne and Judie (I remember that Anne was crying because she didn't want to be in the photo!)  I was three.