Monday, April 8, 2013

Drifting Near Mt. Vesuvius

Far vague and dim,
The mountains swim
While on Vesuvius' misty brim.
With outstretched hands,
The gray smoke stands
O'erlooking the volcanic lands.

 ~from Thomas Buchanan Read's poem, Drifting~

I have wanted to show this plate since I first began blogging a few years ago.  It is by Spode/Copeland and the pattern is named Beverley and sometimes called Grecian Scroll, depicting a pastoral view with Mt. Vesuvius in the distance.

Mt. Vesuvius is an Italian volcano that erupted in A.D. 79 blanketing Pompeii and Herculaneum in 10 - 75 feet of ash.  It was the first volcanic eruption to be described and written about in detail.

I have collected several pieces in this pattern as well as a few other Spode/Copeland transfer ware patterns of the same colorway; rust and black. 

Most of my black and rust two colored transferware is displayed in MY ENTRYWAY on...
... either side of the front door....

...and down a narrow strip of wall between two doors.

I have only come across the Beverley pattern in green a few times so when the opportunity came up to buy a set of 12 of these plates I jumped.  The Gadroon border of these plates have been hand painted in a green that matches the transfer.   Unusually striking.  They are listed for sale HERE

Eight or nine years ago after I'd bought my first Beverley plate depicting Mt. Vesuvius I came across a book featuring Thomas Buchanan Read's poem, Drifting, which makes several references to the volcanic area.  The title of the poem and its first two lines drew me right in, "My soul today, Is far away".   

I didn't have to open the book to know I would buy it but I did anyway and quickly thumbed through the pages.  I was thrilled to see that the book had at one time belonged to someone with my maiden name, and even more coincidental had an address which I recognized to be from the town I grew up in.  I still need to ask my Mom or Dad if she was a relative of ours.  This little book also had a hand written inscription of Christmas 1918 and 35 pages of notes taken from a lecture by Louis C Elson on The Law of Sound.  Elson is highly regarded as the author of the musical dictionary and wrote and lectured on the subject.  

Each page has a verse and a beautiful etching to accommodate.  I read this poem and look through this book often.  I thought I'd include the poem in its entirety.  I hope you like it~

My soul today
Is far away,
Sailing the Vesuvian Bay;
My winged boat,
A bird afloat,
Swims round the purple peaks remote.

Round purple peaks
It sails, and seeks
Blue inlets and their crystal creeks,
Where high rocks throw,
Through deeps below,
A duplicated golden glow.

Far, vague, and dim,
The mountains swim;
While on Vesuvius' misty brim,
With outstretched hands,
The gray smoke stands
O'erlooking the volcanic lands.

In lofty lines,
'Mid palms and pines,
And olives, aloes, elms and vines,
Sorrento swings
On sunset wings,
Where Tasso's spirit soars and sings.

Here Ischia smiles
O'er liquid miles;
And yonder, bluest of the isles,
Calm Capri waits,
Her sapphire gates
Beguiling to her bright estates.

I heed not, if
My rippling skiff
Float swift of slow from cliff to cliff; -
With dreamful eyes
My spirit lies 
Under the walls of Paradise.

Under the walls
Where swells and falls
The Bay's deep breast at intervals
At peace I lie,
Blown softly by,
A cloud upon this liquid sky.

The day, so mild,
Is Heaven's own child,
With Earth and Ocean reconciled;
The airs I feel
Around me steal
Are murmuring to the murmuring keel.

Over the rail
My hand I trail
Within the shadow of the sail,
A joy intense,
The cooling sense
Glides down my drowsy indolence.

With dreamful eyes
My spirit lies
Where Summer sings and never dies,
O'erveiled with vines,
She glows and shines
Among her future oil and wines.

Her children hid,
The cliffs amid,
Are gambolling with the 
gambolling kid;
Or down the walls,
With tipsy calls,
Laugh on the rocks like

The fisher's child,
With tresses wild,
Unto the smooth, bright and beguiled,
With glowing lips
Sings as she skips,
Or gazes at the far-off ships.

Yon deep bark goes
Where Traffic blows,
From lands of sun to lands of snows:
This happier one,
Its course is run
From lands of snow to 
lands of sun. 

O happy ship, 
To rise and dip,
Whit the blue crystal at your lip!
O happy crew,
My heart with you
Sails, and sails, and sings anew!

No more, no more
The worldly shore
Upbraids me with its loud uproar!
With dreamful eyes
My spirit lies
Under the walls of Paradise!


  1. Nancy-That poem just puts a lump in my throat it is so very beautiful. I love those plates, too. Spode is always beautiful and I have never seen this pattern. xo Diana

  2. Gorgeous Nancy! Such a beautiful combination and they way you've displayed pretty!
    Would love for you share at AMAZE ME MONDAY!

  3. Nancy, it always makes me smile to see a new post from you pop up on my sidebar. Both the Spode and the poetry are beautiful. Hope all is good for you and your family.......Sarah

  4. What a beautiful post. I love the poem, it reads very easily, it's almost musical. And your china pattern is really gorgeous, such an unusual colour combination. So glad i came by tonight.

  5. You've really brought that pattern to life for me. Beautiful poetry and beautiful chinea!

  6. Wonderful post, Nancy. I always enjoy seeing the ways you display your china. This pattern is wonderful and the green is so interesting. Thanks for sharing the lovely poem!

  7. Beautiful plates and poetry

  8. I love the straight lines and not so much when the plates are everywhere.

  9. Hi Nancy, Coming over from Tina's! I love transferware and look forward to checking your on-line store and following your blog.

  10. I so enjoyed the guest post at The Enchanted Home. Your collections are incredible. I look forward to browsing your store more thoroughly and sharing it with my other transferware loving friends. Happy to find your blog too.

  11. Oh Nancy, to have found that china and that book. It must have been kismet. Such a wonderful collection.

    - The Tablescaper

  12. What an unusual color! And I love that green too; it's the kind of green in the green camilla pattern too, isn't it? I have 4 Spode patterns that don't have names on the back. Is there a book that shows pictures of unidentified patterns?

    As always, you have displayed them beautifully. And what a find the book is!

  13. I love everything you do and all of your fabulous dishes are so beautiful. You constantly amaze me. Every picture is always better than the last. Thanks so much for joining Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

  14. I always learn SO much when I visit your blog, Nancy! Those plates are wonderful, and you display them so beautifully. Thank you for posting the poem... it's very dreamy, isn't it? And the illustrations in the book truly complement the image on the plates. So pretty and evocative!


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