Friday, February 12, 2010

It's a bright, bright sunshiny day

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
I like this quote by William Arthur Ward. Today it reminds me of Eline, a blogger and Etsy shop owner who has shown me such kindness and generosity.   I am new to Etsy and even newer to blogging.  A few weeks ago Eline sent me a note through Etsy telling me she has featured one of my teacups and saucers in her treasury list and that it had made Etsy's front page.  Unsure of what a treasury was, I sent Eline a message explaining this, and the fact that I was new to Etsy and was not a techy person in the least (I just today learned how to do a hyperlink for this post)! She took a lot of time in explaining the treasury to me, how it works and even sent a link to another site where one can see if any of their items had been featured or not. She has since used another of my items in a treasury, blogged about transferware and my Etsy shop and blog. She has been so nice and giving of her time. Her most recent act of kindness was awarding me with the Sunshine Blog Award:

Eline, I owe you a special thank you. You are talented, creative, insightful and very giving. Thank you.

Rules for accepting the award are as follows:

Put the Sunshine Blog Award logo in your post or on your blog, or both.
Give the award to 12 bloggers and include links to their blogs in your post.
Let the nominees know they have been given the award by commenting on one of their posts.
Share the link to the person from whom you received the award.

I would like to honor these bloggers with this award for their unique perspectives, writing, creativity and inspiration they each give to me and others:

Cynthia Bogart at   Cynthia is the editor of this webzine who has also shown me alot of kindness.  Recently she wrote an article on transferware and featured me as a collector.  Needless to say, I was absolutely thrilled!   The Daily Basics puts out a broad range of stories anywhere from decorating to the Winter Olympics.  I especially enjoyed the article Stenciling - British Style.

Aston Smith at Living in your Kitchen -- design trends-- Aston Smith  Aston is a friend I met on Twitter and is a kitchen designer with fabulous ideas, experience and taste.  I enjoy her creativity and she posts some wonderful recipes too!

Marie Maguire at Holly Lane Antiques  I think Marie was my first twitter follower and the first I followed on Twitter.  She has a beautiful blog and antique shop where she specializes in antique white English ironstone.  She has other lovelies too, such as stunning vintage linens and my personal favorite, transferware.

Julie Bova at   She is an interior designer and her blog is gorgeous covering fashion, furniture and design. 

MABJewelry She also has an Etsy shop showcasing her incredible talent for making jewelry bridging styles from steampunk to modern, vintage-inspired to gothic.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

John Constable's romantic landscape paintings transferred to pottery by Grindley

I have always been drawn to transferware patterns depicting bucolic English scenery. When I look at the domestic animals grazing fields near quaint thatched cottages, lush flowering gardens, rivers or streams with bridges and oftentimes mountains in the background I always think to myself, "I'd love to live there" or "I want to move in"! I love the romanticism and seeming simplicity of an era long gone by.

One of my favorite patterns depicting these scenic views is by Grindley, an English pottery company founded by William Harry Grindley at the Newfield Pottery, Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent in 1880.   The pattern is entitled 'Scenes After Constable" showcasing an array of John Contable's romantic landscapes.   Grindley continued operation through 1991.  The company produced many wares, in particular for the markets of Canada, the United States, South America and Australia.

As a young boy, John Constable developed a unique style combining objective studies of nature with a deep, personal vision of the countryside around his home.   Most landscapists of the day traveled in search of picturesque or sublime scenery, but Constable never left England.  His name is so closely associated with his native Stour Valley that the area is sometimes referred to as "Constable country."   He is known as one of the greatest British landscape artists of all time, although during his life his paintings were considered unfashionable and he gained little recognition.

1827 was the year that John Constable began working on a project which would consume his attention and time, until his death seven years later. This project was the publication of prints based on a series of his paintings. The painter closely collaborated with David Lucas, an engraver, to create prints that would adequately communicate the didactic intentions of Constable: to illustrate the "chiaroscuro of nature." Mezzotint, a medium employed to develop from dark to light using an array of velvet like tones, was perfectly suited for this project. The bright sunshine of a summer morning illuminates a textured landscape, variegated in light and shade.

Summer Morning Engraving
Made by David Lucas (British, 1802–1881); Designed by John Constable (British, 1776–1837)
Grindley Summer Morning Blue Transferware Pitcher Circa 1940-50

Summer Morning, painting ca. 1830


The Hay-Wain, the painting exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1821 and at the British Institution in 1822 under another title, Landscape: Noon, was one of the big 'six-footers' on which Constable worked in the winters in London from sketches and studies made in the county during the summer. The harvest wagon of the modern title was copied from a drawing made by John Dunthorne, Constable's childhood friend and assistant, and sent at Constable's request from Suffolk. The view is of farmer Willy Lott's cottage on a mill stream of the River Stour near Flatford Mill, of which Constable's father had the tenancy. A full-scale sketch for the picture is in the Victoria and Albert Museum. In this final version Constable omitted a figure on horseback at the edge of the stream, substituting a barrel which he later painted out (but which is beginning to show through).

The Hay-Wain Platter - Red Transferware c 1950


A Lock on the Stour Engraving

A Lock on the Stour Two Color Transfer ware plate with hand tinting.  Circa 1930

A Lock on the Stour Black Transfer ware bowl by Grindley circa 1930-40
A Lock on the Stour River Plate - blue transferware - Grindley c. 1930


The swallows flew in the curves of an eight
Above the river-gleam
In the wet June's last beam:
Like little crossbows animate
The swallows flew in the curves of an eight
Above the river-gleam.

Planing up shavings of crystal spray
A moor-hen darted out
From the bank thereabout,
And through the stream-shine ripped his way;
Planing up shavings of crystal spray
A moor-hen darted out.

Closed were the kingcups; and the mead
Dripped in monotonous green,
Though the day's morning sheen
Had shown it golden and honeybee'd;
Closed were the kingcups; and the mead
Dripped in monotonous green.

And never I turned my head, alack,
While these things met my gaze
Through the pane's drop-drenched glaze,
To see the more behind my back . . .
O never I turned, but let, alack,
These less things hold my gaze!

Thomas Hardy

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Thrill of the Find | The Daily Basics

The Thrill of the Find The Daily Basics

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A favorite amongst collectors and the era of romantic Staffordshire

As my husband prepares some Super Bowl Sunday snacks (which I am happy to sample along the way)  and updates his twitter posts, I am at my desk doing some research on Ralph Stevenson and in particular, the MILLENIUM pattern which is highly sought by serious and avid collectors of transferware. 

This is a rare and wonderful early transferware plate in the iconic MILLENIUM pattern. It was made by Ralph Stevenson, circa 1832-35. Marked with the pattern name "Millenium" (a misspelling of the word Millennium).  Despite the fact that my plate has a small chip (at about 5:00), it still is both valuable and collectible.  It remains one of my favorite pieces of transferware I own.

The Millenium pattern was designed to illustrate the biblical prophecy set forth in the book of Isaiah, Chap. XI.VI predicting the second coming of Christ who would rule for a thousand years before the last judgment.
The central image depicts this biblical prophecy of a Peaceable Kingdom, the thousand years of peace under the reign of Christ.

The top of the plate shows the all seeing eye of God and the bible opened to the book of Isaiah.

The center of the plate shows a child embracing a lion, with domestic animals including a lamb and cow,  and various beasts of the wild.  Above the image, the caption "Peace on Earth" is seen as a dove carrying an olive branch flies above, through rays emanating from heaven.    "Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread" is under the image with a small depciton of a praying man.

The stippled border of the plate is decorated with fruits, flowers, and grain producing plants. 

The backstamp is a cartouche which reads Millenium (misspelled).

 The plate holds a particular sentiment to me and many collectors.  The detailed imagery is simply stunning. 

 I have my plate displayed in an arrangement of red transferware on my dining room wall as shown below:

The Millenium pattern can be found in other colors:  purple, blue and brown:

Purple Platter:

Brown Plate:

A bit of information on Ralph Stevenson:

Ralph Stevenson, the son of Ralph and Ann Stevenson, was baptised, probably at Burslem, on 28 January 1776. Between 1784-1800 he lived in Scotland with an uncle, John Adams, then returned to Cobridge where established a business as an earthenware pottery manufacturer.  He went bankrupt in 1835.
 Ralph Stevenson married Mary Nee Mayer  on  August 31, 1807 and together they had two sons, Ralph Stevenson and John Adams Stevenson, both of whom became solicitors and clerks to Hanley and Stoke councils respectively. 

He was involved in the establishment of the Potteries Mechanics' Institution in 1826. From about 1803 to 1818 he lived at Cobridge Cottage, situated off Elder Road, in the area of the later Grange Street where the poet Thomas Campbell visited him in 1805, remarking on the poor road conditions.  His house later became a convent, then the home of Samuel Alcock (another potter) and was demolished in 1913.
  Ralph Stevenson died in Sandon in 1853.

Freedom And Love

How delicious is the winning
Of a kiss at love's beginning,
When two mutual hearts are sighing
For the knot there's no untying!
Yet remember, 'Midst our wooing,
Love has bliss, but Love has ruing;
Other smiles may make you fickle,
Tears for other charms may trickle.
Love he comes, and Love he tarries,
Just as fate or fancy carries;
Longest stays, when sorest chidden;
Laughs and flies, when press'd and bidden.
Bind the sea to slumber stilly,
Bind its odour to the lily,
Bind the aspen ne'er to quiver,
Then bind Love to last for ever.
Love's a fire that needs renewal
Of fresh beauty for its fuel:
Love's wing moults when caged and captured,
Only free, he soars enraptured.
Can you keep the bee from ranging
Or the ringdove's neck from changing?
No! nor fetter'd Love from dying
In the knot there's no untying.

Thomas Campbell ~ Glasgow, Scotland 1777-1844 (the visitor mentioned in article on Ralph Stevenson above)