Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Staffordshire Mezzanine aka Meat Strainers / Drainers

From the early 19th century, most dinner sets included a drainer, or mezannine as they are often called, which was flat and had a hole in the center, with smaller holes all around it. This drainer would fit inside a large serving dish and would have been used when serving meat, particularly fish, to drain the juices.

From my personal collection are these two examples below.
Copeland Spode, circa 1860 Duncan Rural Scenes with Hops Border

Did you recognize them?  You're used to seeing them with my canine collection displayed on them.

I decided to do this post because each time I show you all my doggies I have several comments and emails from you asking about the drainers.  Most of the time, you all tell me you had never heard of or seen them before so, I decided to gather some photographs and examples of these to share with you.

Here is a rare, Chinese influenced piece with a camel and giraffe amongst exotic foliage.

From Wedgwood, circa 1846, is this drainer in the Bouquet pattern.

Classic Blue Willow, early 19C

I am planning a post which will feature many plates from this Aesthetic Movement pattern by Brown Westhead and Moore entitled Gainsboro.  The transfer on this and the corresponding pieces in this set are impeccably rendered and very striking.  You'll love seeing all the various fruits, but for now here is the meat drainer.

From Brownfields, a pretty floral drainer in a lovely gray transfer.

Next is an early example attributed to John & William Ridgway in the India Vase pattern, circa 1825.

Pretty lavender colored transferware by Burgess and Leigh in the Paris Plum pattern, circa 1870

This impressive example is an ivory colored polychrome transfer ware fish platter complete with is original drainer insert.  It was made by Powell, Bishop & Stonier,  circa 1878-1890,  and is decorated in the Aesthetic style with the sweetest songbirds perched amongst  flowering tree branches, and dragonflies buzzing about.  This oblong platter measures over 21" in length!  You can see how the drainer is made to fit into the platter.

Here we have yet another Powell, Bishop & Stonier Potteries set.  The pattern is London, circa 1882, and is a relish or berry server of sorts printed in brown and renders meticulous hand painted detail in a plethora of vivid, natural colors.  It depicts exotic flowers, birds and so indicative of the Aesthetic movement, an inset featuring the Horseguards; the London stables during the Victorian era.

This very rare strawberry dish by Copeland (Spode), also from the Aesthetic Movement, features images in dark sepia brown transfers of a butterfly amongst wild grasses in interior of the bowl.  
I have several pieces of this pattern, Daisy, in my shop. The exterior is embellished with a ring of daisies which have been tinted in a rich palette of green, turquoise, ochre glazes and luster glazes. With its open lattice work sides, reminiscent of earlier creamware pieces, and the drainage holes in the base, this piece is remarkable. Reticulated handles and four feet have accented gold flora and scrolls adding a special touch. The underplate also has the butterfly grasses and daisy motifs.

Back to the more common type of meat drainer inserts. These next few examples are each paired with their respective meat platter.

From the Aesthetic Movement, this Doulton's piece is a wonderful polychrome example in the Oxford pattern, circa 1882.  

 19C Blue Willow adaptation 

And again, from the Aesthetic Movement this pattern is Palmyra by Sampson Hancock & Sons, circa 1880's.  I have several polychrome plates in my shop HERE where you can also read about the pattern and the potter.

Here's a small drainer from my collection as well.  You've seen this pattern here quite a bit because it's one of my favorites; Spode Byron, circa 1930's.

Drainers are seldom used anymore but they are very collectible, and displayable.  In one of my all time favorite dining room photos, look what Charles Faudree crowned this wallscape with.  See the holes in the top, center piece over the painting?  Yep, it's a Staffordshire transferware mezzanine!

Lastly, this isn't transferware obviously but it is a wonderful, whimsical creamware example of a 19C meat drainer.

Hope you all liked seeing these.  Have a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, April 26, 2012

An Impromptu Picnic

Since we've moved to this neighborhood, we've discovered one of the parks is just a few blocks away.  Shawn and I have been walking a path that goes around a large pond for the past few months.  Day before yesterday I decided we'd take a picnic with us. 

The park has picnic tables around the pond but we chose to picnic on this shaded, large rock that overlooks the fountain. 

I made us each one of our favorite cold cut sandwiches with mesquite smoked turkey, sliced monterey jack cheese, a little mayo and banana peppers, threw in some Fritos, and some fruit. 

I had just bought this sparkling blueberry grape juice.  I buy this every so often for the kids, but I snagged it for us to enjoy today.  It is yummy!

Of course, we dined on some transferware plates! I can't help it, sorry.     These are by Booth's, a pretty pattern with peonies and butterflies...pretty perfect for a Spring picnic, wouldn't you say?  I have four left that are for sale HERE.

The weather could not have been more beautiful.

Graham joined us for our picnic.  I feel like we are Grandparents that babysit him during the day.  I am beginning to like this little fellow.  

There were others enjoying the park that day as well, including this precious family.

Pick a day.  Enjoy it, to the hilt.  The day as it comes.  People as they come.  The past, I think, has helped me appreciate the present, and I don't want to spoil any of it by fretting about it.
~Audrey Hepburn~

Between Naps On The Porch
French Country Cottage
romantic home
Faith and Grace
common ground

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Garage Sale-ing With Shawn

Extremely out of character, last week Shawn says to me, "We need to start going to garage sales while we're having this great weather".  


Completely still, my eyes shifted from one side to the other looking for someone to jump out and shout "You've been punked!".
  If a cat ever had my tongue, this was that moment.  I was dumbfounded, but after a long pause and no one telling me this was a joke,  I quickly sprang into verbal action.   "Oh, yes, I agree...let's go Friday, okay?", I say to him calmly, all the while thinking I've got this one chance to make him commit to garage sale-ing and it is NOW.  He brought it up after all.  "Don't act too excited Nancy... be cool. Act nonchalant", I was silently saying to myself.  Still in disbelief that I heard him actually suggest going to a garage sale and wondering if I was really having this conversation with him, he says "okay, let's go early right after getting the kids off to school".   
Wow, this would take time to soak in.

  Shawn is the type of person that doesn't like yard sales or thrift stores or 'junkin' as so many of us say.  I begged him to go with me a few months back and before we walked in to one store I warned him that, "sometimes this store has some junk but if you dig around you'll find something".  As soon as we entered the store, me leading the way, I could almost feel his breathing heavy sighs on my back as we made our way through the aisles.  I most assuredly heard them.   Though I didn't turn around to look at him, I knew his eyes were probably rolled to the back of his head.  I could just hear his thoughts..."What the he**?" while he wondered what I had dragged him into.  He made remarks like "this is all the crap left over from garage sales that no one wanted to buy".  I reminded him that I'd warned him before we went into the store what it might be like.  His response to me was, "you should have spent days warning me about this s***!"

I figured that would be the last of going 'junking' with Shawn so when he suggested going to garage sales last week it was a real shocker, let me tell you.  Nonetheless, I was very anxious for Friday morning to arrive and when it did, to my surprise again, he was up for it!  We enjoyed a cup of coffee together and then left early as planned to hit the sales before all the good stuff was gone.

I found out that Shawn had a motive for wanting to go garage sale-ing.  As you know, he loves to cook.  On the way out the door he says to me "I need to find an old, cast iron skillet".   Oh no, now I'm thinking this is going to be a total bust.  You don't just decide suddenly that you're going to go to a garage sale and that the one, very collectible, hard to find thing that you want is going to be there, under a spotlight, waiting for you to come and get it.   He needs a reality check.   This time I am the one doing the eye rolling and letting out a few heavy sighs.  I couldn't help but think about the iron skillet we had years ago that he trashed because he saw a tiny rust spot on it.  This was before he became the cook he is today.
Still,  there is no way I'm passing this opportunity up to go to some garage sales.  I can always find something I need want, and I did.

You might remember that I collect dog figurines.  Posts 1)HERE   2)HERE and 3)HERE
Well, I got all of these dog figurines for what I have paid for just one in the past.  There were lots of others, including some I already have.  I should have bought them all at such a good price and then put them in my Etsy shop.  Oh well. 

I have a pair of English Chippendale side tables (from our furniture importing days) with faux bamboo legs.  On each of the tables I display several of my dogs on antique transferware meat drainers.  You can see it with the holes in it.  These pieces were placed, or often fitted, onto larger serving platters and allowed excess juices to drain underneath the meat.  They've become increasingly hard to find.  
My new setter is perfectly at home with his new buddies here =)

Seeing this in the photo, I am not sure it will stay here, but for now some of the tiny dogs are displayed in a cupcake cloche, on a red transferware coaster. 

I had actually bought all of these tiny ones below for use in another project that I hope to share later, but I thought I'd try to work them into my current decor for now.

Over on the opposite table I've got another grouping of dogs on yet another meat strainer.  Two of my new additions are displayed over here now. 

As well, I found two antique rolling pins and a large pestle at another sale.  $5 for all three pieces.

I also found these Black Forest parts that came off of a Cuckoo Clock.    I knew immediately what they were and I couldn't believe it when the lady said she wanted 50 cents for the three pieces.  Deal.  I love Black Forest things and you know I have a liking for bird objects.  They have glass plus.   I think these will make great toppers over pictures or, maybe even a transferware plate!

As for Shawn and his skillet...well I'd done a quick skim over of the kitchen at one sale and saw a stack of pans.  I knew Shawn would take a look to so I scurried back to the room full of linens.  As we were leaving I said to him, "Did you look at those skillets"?   "What skillets?" he asks.  I guess the spotlight thing wasn't working.
I tell him that there is a big pile of skillets on the stove.  He goes back to have a look and what do his big brown eyes spy?  
The cast iron skillet he said he was going garage sale-ing for.   What beginners luck!
He paid $7 for it and it's in great condition.  Now he wants another skillet; a bigger one.
Guess what we're doing Friday morning? 
  I wonder if he can go two for two.