Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ridgway and the Temple of the Sybil

This early, c.1830's plate from William Ridgway in the Italian series depicts the Temple of the Sybil (Temple of Vesta) at Tivoli, Rome, Italy . This temple is one of the earliest surviving examples of concrete construction and considered to be one of the most fascinating of the many monuments of the period. It was built in the 1st century BC. The plate is bordered with delicate roses and flowers amongst scrolls and urns. The color is unusual, a pale pinkish-lavender.

This plate measures just over 9"
Marked on back in an ornate scrolled cartouche: Sybil's Temple Tivoli WR ITALIAN

William Ridgway operated the Bell Works in Shelton and the Church Works in nearby Hanley from 1830-54. Ridgway were the potters to Queen Victoria. The WR marking on the plate is indicative that this was made at the Bell Works, which since 1956 has been The Potteries Musuem at Bethesda Street and houses the largest and most important collection of North Staffordshire pottery in the world.

Landscape with the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, by Adam Elsheimer, c. 1600

Waterfalls of Tivoli, Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich, 1745–1750

Now you can have your box of chocolates, AND eat it too....literally:
I know I would like this for Valentines day...a heart shaped box, made of edible chocolate!

A Poem For Your (love) Thoughts:
"For Those Who Dare to Love"

Love is possessed by two kingdoms of forces
Which of times cross through bewildering courses
Giving of gladness or wracking despair
Unto passive souls with hearts unaware.
Its paths are varied in depth and height
And merge with darkness or forge into light.
Love can slowly and softly steal into a heart
Or strike with the boldness of a swift, whizzing dart.
It can free grand inspiration influencing life's fate
Or it can clutch with sacred passion beneath ways of hate-
It can mold tallest mountains or claw deep valleys
It can crumple smooth highways or pave rough alleys.
When love is received it can be life's finest glory,
And given for naught, it is love's kindest story.
Love might bring joyous smiles and enchanting days
Or tears falling forlorn if clouds obscure with haze
A love that only sunshine can see mature,
But given a little rain cannot long endure;
Though: When lives are joined from love's firm foundation
Where there is friendship and determination,
For all its time it can sing onward and resound
The soft echoes springing forth of a sweet mellow sound;
Or, if love does not flourish after tried romance
Perhaps with another there will be greater chance,
For where one love takes another might give;
And where one live dies a second can live
And know lasting beauty and memorized mar
Through gold deeds that polish or thorns that leave scar.
Thus, for some, love will hold an enriching reward
And unto others will cast pain and wretched discord.
There is life's real wonder neath earth's marveled sun-
Its challenge is there with a victory to be won.
There's kingdom far below or one high above...
Awaiting those searching souls who dare to love.

©1977 Marilyn Stubbs Robinson (my Mother of many talents)

I've linked up with Beverly at How Sweet the Sound, her gorgeous blog, for Pink Saturday in celebration of all things pink.  Click on over for pretty pinks.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Dishes, candy & love, oh my!

14 days of Romantic Transferware

I just adore this pattern, The Chatham,  by Royal Doulton.  The name Chatham translates to forest settlement and is a city which lies in the heart of the Medway, a gathering of towns along the Medway River in Kent, SE England. 

The majority of pieces in The Chatham each have different scenes, mostly idyllic and including views in the background of the Medway river and the Royal Navy dockyard, which was opened during the reign of Henry VIII and closed in 1984.  The border of this pattern is light red/pink with tiny flowers, dots, and leaves.

Below is actually a two color transfer piece (we'll get into that later) where the center scene is a different color than the border.  In this case it is done in a charcoal color.  Furthermore it is handpainted over the transfer with various colors, all under glaze, called polychrome (I'll cover this later too!).  Circa 1902-1936

Salad plate:

and here is a platter in this pattern done in two-color only:

Below is the same platter with polychrome accents:

  I have a few pieces of The Chatham pattern in my office, opposite my desk, where I've mixed them with some deeper red pieces: (my talented Mom painted the painting in the center, above the sofa =)

A bit about Royal Doulton: 

Renowned as one of the worlds finest producers of tableware, Royal Doulton has a rich history which dates back to 1815 in Lambeth, South London where John Doulton and his partner John Watts established their pottery.
In 1882, Doulton purchased a small factory called Pinder, Bourne & Co, at Nile Street in Burslem, Staffordshire; part of The Potteries, where the Royal Doulton companies reputation flourished.   Tablewares and Art Pottery were being produced alongside industrial ceramics. Also, by 1882, this branch of Doulton's operation was making bone china (porcelain containing bone ash).
Developed by his son Henry Doulton, it became Britain's leading manufacturer of sanitary wares and other industrial ceramics as well as a major producer of art pottery and of ornamental and commemorative pieces, and tablewares.

The Lambeth Studio in London continued in existence until 1956, and until recent years the  Doulton production has been concentrated at Burslem.

Having taken over many of its rivals both in industrial and decorative wares, the Royal Doulton Group was one of the largest manufacturers of ceramics in Britain.

Today, Royal Doulton is owned by the Waterford/Wedgwood group.  As of 2005, the majority of Royal Doulton wares are made in the Far East, and Indonesia.

One of the blogs I follow, offered this pink fudge recipe recently...perfect for a homemade Valentines Day candy!  She's got tons of creative and fun recipes...even for today...Groundhogs Day cookie cupcakes!

Pink Pecan Fudge (Wouldn't this be lovely served on a red transferware plate?)


1 1/2 cups pink Candy Melts chips
1/2 Cup butter
2 cups sugar
3/4 Cup evaporated milk
Pinch of salt
1 Cup coarsely chopped pecans, shelled


Add pink Candy Melt chips and butter into a large mixing bowl. Butter an 8-inch square pan.

Place sugar, evaporated milk, and salt in a medium heavy bottom saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and immediately pour over chips and butter in mixing bowl. Beat mixture on a low speed for 5 minutes and then increase speed to high for another 5 minutes. Stir in pecans and pour candy into buttered pan. Chill until set and then cut into small squares.
Makes about 2 lbs.

Love Poem for today:

Because you love me, I have found
New joys that were not mine before;
New stars have lightened up my sky
With glories growing more and more.
Because you love me I can rise
To the heights of fame and realms
of power;
Because you love me I may learn
The highest use of every hour.

Because you love me I can choose
To look through your dear eyes and see
Beyond the beautify of the Now
Far onward to Eternity.

Because you love me I can wait
With perfect patience well possessed;
Because you love me all my life
Is circled with unquestioned rest;
Yes, even Life and even Death
Is all unquestioned and all blest.

~Pall Mall Magazine~ Leaves of Gold 1938

Monday, February 1, 2010

Romantic Transferware for the Month of Lovey Dovey

With February being the official 'love' month and Valentines Day only two weeks away, I thought, "what  better time than now to talk about Romantic Staffordshire transferware, and share some of my favorite love poetry and recipes"?     Mmmm...and now I'm already thinking about buttery shortbread cookies with rasberry jam and, of course, creamy milk chocolate.  I am a chocoholic, after all and I'm hungry.

 Red transferware (often called pink) was the first color I began collecting 20+ years ago, and do still.  Romantic transferware is most often referred to as a specific time period of production, mostly from the years 1815-60 though many new patterns were introduced well into the 20th century.  There are literally thousands of patterns referred to as 'romantic' and include city and scenic views of England and exotic foregin lands, bucolic scenes, patterns with abundances of flowers, fruits, shells and birds, and even sporting scenes!  Personally, I've never found either hunting or sports to be romantic but many intriguing patterns were produced with just these types of scenes and can be referred to as 'romantic'.

Below is a pink plate by Ridgways.  These views were taken from Scenes from Charles Dickens'  weekly periodical, Master Humphries Clock which was published between April 1840 and December 1841.

 This particular plate is entitled Outside the School House.  It has a beautiful relief / embossed type of border that is handpainted around the edge.  Circa 1891

This pattern can be found in other colors as well.  Below are plates in purple and green:

Here is a purple vegetable bowl which has a transferware border, rather than the embossed /relief border shown in the above pieces:

Backstamp found on some of the pieces in this series:

Master Humphrey's Clock book plate from
 London Chapman and Hall, 1840-1841. First book edition. Engraved by Ebenezer Landells and illustrated by Hablot Knight (Phiz) Browne.


How beautiful at eventide
To see the twilight shadows pale,
Steal o'er the landscape, far and wide,
O'er stream and meadow, mound and dale!

How soft is Nature's calm repose
When ev'ning skies their cool dews weep:
The gentlest wind more gently blows,
As if to soothe her in her sleep!

The gay morn breaks,
Mists roll away,
All Nature awakes
To glorious day.
In my breast alone
Dark shadows remain;
The peace it has known
It can never regain.

Charles Dickens

 ( I thought it befitting to use one of his poems for this post, plus I have an adorable little niece named Lucy!)