Friday, September 23, 2016


I have written about recognition of the familiar before.   So I was happy that I immediately recognized the fox stealing a goose on a pattern posted by Rob Hunter on the British Pottery And Porcelain Discussion Group facebook page.

Shell edge plate printed with a fox carrying off a goose, ca. 1810

As the editor of the Animals Category for the Transferware Collectors Club database, I also knew the source print.  It is from "The Cabinet Of Quadrupeds" by John Church, which was published in 1805.

"The Fox" print is from "A Cabinet Of Quadrupeds" by John Church, 1805.

Look carefully on the right, and you'll see the fox making off with the goose.  The larger fox has already killed a hen, and the rooster is calling for help!   Now, take a look at how the source print was used by different manufacturers.

Enoch Wood & Sons (1818-1846) vegetable tureen from the Sporting Series, ca. 1825.  Here you only see the fox making off with the goose.
Job Meigh (& Son) 1805-1834 "Zoological Sketches" tureen lid.  Here, you see most of the source print.  But where is the rooster?

Plate, 5.5 inches, shows only the large fox, the rooster, and the dead chicken.

"A Present For My Dear Boy" child's 2 inch mug shows the fox carrying off the goose.  This seems like a unsuitable pattern for a young child.

John Hall (1814-1832) "Quadrupeds" basket. Only the fox and rooster were used.  No dead chicken! No fox in the background.

Thomas Elsmore & Son (1872-1887) 7.5 inch child's plate with a molded alphabet border. This pattern may be a much later interpretation of the source print.  I wonder if the manufacturer was even aware of the source.
One of my greatest transferware pleasures is recognizing patterns used by different manufacturers.  Such fun!

Friday, September 16, 2016


Child's 7.25 inch plate with a molded alphabet border.
I have often been curious why the donkey and elephant are the symbols of the two major American political parties.  The animal symbols of the Democratic and Republican parties were initiated in the 19th century: the donkey during the presidential campaign of Andrew Jackson in the 1820s and the elephant during the presidency of Abraham Lincoln in the 1860s.  Both animal symbols were popularized by the political cartoonist, Thomas Nash, in the 1880s.

Many of the elephant and donkey (also known as an ass) patterns are found on children's items.  Here are a few of my favorites.

"Come Up Donkey" 4.75 inch child's plate

Child's 2.62 inch mug featuring a circus elephant.  A bit like what is going on in politics today.

Child's 4.5 inch plate featuring an ass or donkey.  No political criticism intended by me!  The TCC database says "A band box was originally a small oval box in which a clergyman's collar bands would be kept, etc." It is possible that the pattern refers to anything that is inadequate for its purpose, such as a bandbox to hold an ass. A similar American expression is "my ass in a sling."

I realize I didn't tell you much about the origin of the symbols, so if you want to learn more about the United States Republican and Democratic animal symbols, follow this link.

I can't wait for this election to be over!

Thursday, September 8, 2016


Summer vegetable and queso tostadas with fairy tale eggplants and spicy crema on a Spode Sunflower pattern blue and white plate.   

My family and friends know I hate to cook.  When David asked me to marry him, I told him I didn't cook.  He married me anyway.  That's not to say that I didn't feed my family, although my sons still let me know that eggs aren't really dinner food.  That said, I found that David and I, older adults, were eating in a rather unhealthy and boring way.  We bought prepared foods at our local deli, and often picked up burritos, Chinese, and pizza (all delicious, but heavy on salt and fat).  I wondered what it would be like to try one of the many websites that offered to deliver fresh food and recipes, and promised delicious, healthy meals without a lot of prep time and waste.  After reading lots of good reviews about the Blue Apron,  I  joined two weeks ago.  Last Friday, a box filled with lots of food was delivered.  We had dinner plans on Friday and Saturday, so I was concerned about how long the food would stay fresh.  I needn't have worried. The vegetables were incredibly fresh.  We made our first meal on Sunday, a pasta dish.  It has been a long time since I made anything from a recipe so David and I were a bit like a kitchen comedy act.   Neither of us had a clue what we were doing, so the next night (you get three dinners for the week), I did the prep work before we began.  The second meal went more smoothly, and the results were astounding.  I have never eaten a more delicious porchetta sandwich, and I don't even like pork.  The ciabatta roll was perfect (you toast it in the over with a bit of olive oil drizzled on top), and the spices that come with the meat were perfect too.  The pesto, made from kale, cheese, capers, lemon zest, and garlic lemon mixture, was the best I have ever eaten.  You make the pesto with these ingredients.  Nothing is from a bottle. The third night, we made summer vegetable and queso tostados.  The vegetarian recipe sounded as if it might be boring, but the play between the cheese, lime, and vegetables was perfect.  Again, this was one of the best dishes I have ever tasted.  Am I a gourmet?  No.  Have I eaten in many superb restaurants around the world.  Yes.

Obviously not a transferware plate, but I hadn't thought about a food post before I bit into the sandwich.  This is the porchetta sandwich with baby kale and marinated cucumber salad.  The plate is Arabia's  hand-painted Valencia pattern, ca. 1970. 
The food was delicious, and cooking with my husband was delicious too (this may be a new hobby we share).   My mother always said that "everything tastes better on a blue plate."  I think this saying could be amended to "everything looks better on a blue plate."  The taste is a whole different thing.  I look forward to making more Blue Apron meals and photographing more food on transferware.   I just have to grab my camera before I start eating!