Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Black printed brick-shaped money box, 6.3 inches by 4.3 inches by 4.1 inches high.  It is illustrated with five patterns designed for children; "The Pet Lamb" and "The Polka Dancer" are seen here.
I have only seen two brick-shaped transferware money boxes.  They were probably made for children, and didn't include a hole to remove the money.  So, not many survived.  One is owned by my friend, Dora.  It is printed with five patterns that are also found on nursery plates.  The other money box is owned by me.

Notice the hole on the bottom of the money box.  At least the whole box wasn't smashed to remove the money!  Dora's box has four molded feet.  You'll notice later that someone removed the feet from my money box.

 The money box has five different patterns.  Here is "The Butterfly."  Below is "The See-Saw."  

The top of the money box shows "The Market Cart."  Notice that this money box has only one slot for coins. 
Below is my money box.  It has two slots, perhaps for coins of different sizes.  The pattern shows a romanticized tiger hunt.  Any ideas as to the maker?

Brown printed 5.25 inches by 3.5 inches by 2.5 inches high money box.  Notice that this money box has two slots, perhaps for coins of different sizes.  The pattern is the same on all sides.

The bottom of my money box (seen above) shows that no one tried to remove any money,  but someone removed the feet!

The box is attractive even without its feet.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Early 19th century teapot with a center pattern depicting a child reading a book.  It is known as "The Reader."  I have been called that too. 

A close-up of the center pattern.

I should tell you that I read the the New York Times Book Review (paper copy) every week.  Every review.  I have been doing this since high school.  One of my greatest pleasures is reading, so I am always looking for something new to read.  So, you can imagine my pleasure when I discovered online book sites, which review (and sometimes sell for amazingly low prices) new and old books that have been digitized.  I signed up with my email address for book notices.  I didn't realize that an email would arrive every day!  Even Saturday and Sunday.   Bookbub, the first site I discovered, was followed by Bookish and BookperkShelfAwareness, NetGalley, and LiteraryHub soon followed.   I felt duty-bound by my love of books to read about every book.  I was tyrannized by book sites!  Deleting a site without reading it felt like book burning!  I shall add that my iPad overflows (or it would if it weren't a computer) with books waiting to be read.   (I have given you links to these sites.  Follow them at your peril!)

There aren't a lot of transferware patterns that show books and reading.  Most, as you may know, were used on mugs and plates that were gifts for children who were mastering the art of reading. I wish I owned one.

Child's 1.94 inch mug "For Loving A Book," ca. 1830.  What a charming gift for a child who loves to read.  Or anyone who loves to read.

"For Loving A Book" child's 2.38 inch high mug, ca. 1830.

One more thing.  Pottery and books go well together.  As you can see, pottery and books are cluttering up my shelves as much as eBook sites clutter up my in-box. 

Pottery and books go well together!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


Darla Roberts Barclay (1940-2010)

August 7 is National Friendship Day, so I thought I'd write about Darla Barclay, who was my best friend.  I met her in June 1971 when I moved from Philadelphia next door to her in Palo Alto.  I knew no one.  She befriended me immediately, and showed me around town and Stanford University: the Co-Op Market (no non-union grapes),  Bing Nursery School at Stanford (my oldest son and her daughter were 3), and Foothills Park (Palo Altans only!).  She introduced me to many of the wonderful things the Bay Area had to offer (and still does): the Oakland Museum, the Oakland and San Francisco Zoos, the Stanford Art Museum (now the Cantor), and all of the art museums of San Francisco. We visited gardens and beaches, and we hiked in state parks.  Through the years, she helped me navigate a painful divorce, a new marriage, a difficult pregnancy, and the death of my young husband. She celebrated with me when I married yet again.  She loved my sons as if they were her own.  Our friendship lasted nearly forty years, until she died of esophageal cancer at the age of 69 in 2010.  Darla was an only child, which she said gave her the right to choose her siblings.  I became her sister.

One thing we didn't have in common was my love of 19th Century English pottery.  She  liked modern, simple things.  She loved me despite my passion for pottery.

There are a few transferware patterns that are about friendship. The sentiment on the plate below sums up my friendship with Darla.  She would have liked the concept, but would have hated the plate.

"Friendship without Interest and love without Deceit" child's plate or lover's gift, ca. 1820.

I once gave her a mug similar to the ones below.  She gave it back!

"More Friends And Lefs (Less) Need of them" 3 inch mug.  The saying is from an old drinking toast. 

"A Present from a Friend" 2 inch child's mug.

"A Token Of Friendship" 2.12 inch child's mug .

"A Present for a Friend" 2.25 inch child's mug.

A few more things.  Darla was smart and beautiful.  She had a terrific sense of humor.  She was an outstanding gardener, an interior designer (her vocation), and a loving mother, daughter, and friend.  I miss her every day.