Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Single Most Beautiful Teacup (and saucer) In The World




Reading through this blog, I doubt one would get the idea that what I do for my real work (for which I get paid and have health insurance etc.) is to handle court matters involving the state custody of mentally retarded would-be felons, or that I used to prosecute crimes of domestic violence and sex assault. With a jobs like those, you wouldn't expect that what I find really exciting is spotting a bit of Royal Doulton or Mintons in a box lot at auction, or some old college pennants, or a drawing or painting or etching that looks like it came from the 1920s or '30s, or a tea cup on the shelf of a local antique store. But it's true. Garrison Keillor once wrote in a story that if you really want to get people talking, don't ask them about their jobs, ask them about their hobbies. I am glad to have my present job; we all need a paycheck and health insurance and at least it's not Dilbert work, but what really gets me going these days is treasure hunting.

A teacup!? you say. This blog is descending into old fashioned ladies-pages treacle. But isn't it true that a teacup, so often interpreted and by so many artisans (and artists), that it can be venerated as a work of art? This little survivor was sitting on the shelf yesterday at my favorite antique store in Waterbury, VT. The shop, called M. Lewis, is in an old corner block building in the center of downtown. Yesterday M(artha) Lewis was minding the store herself. She's in her upper 70s, I think, but age has not dimmed her charms. I love her stuff so much (an honorary 70-something myself?) I was keeping her store my little secret in the Blogospere til now. M. Lewis told me as I paid ($16) that she's just back from a 10-day trip to Scotland. Naturally we had a brief natter about the UK and the Isle of Sky (a place she says I should definitely go and visit. I agreed of course).

As for this cup, it was made by Rosenthal in occupied Germany, as the mark shows. I think it is decorated with real silver. I normally gravitate to English pottery but this, among a shelf of teacups, was irresistible. Art. Yes, why not. I read once that architects become famous for their ability to design a chair. In a chair you can find a design for a whole city. So, why not in a teacup?

Off to work. I have two status conferences this morning in cases I am working on but my big excitement for the day will be to get back to M. Lewis for a plate I saw yesterday... Stay tuned.

11 comments:

Juliet said...

Ooh, it's lovely. Like you, I love old tea cups. I have dozens (I also sold off dozens before I moved house but I kept quite a lot) - all of them bargains from auction boxes, junk shops and bootsales: not one of them from a proper grow-up Antique Shop. And it's the 'rescue' aspect which is part of their charm. I can feel and Old Cup blog post of my own coming up soon. At least I know now that at least ONE of my readers won't think I'm entirely mad ("bits of glass from the beach and now odd old cups . . . what IS the matter with the woman?" !)

KSV Woolfoot said...

Hey there Juliet. You haven't heard the last of my teacups. I hadn't thought of that rescue angle, but I agree that is part of the charm. I love the sea glass too.

Juliet said...

Maybe you and I can have a 'who can post most tea-cups pics' competition, like we did with Gladys Peto a while back!!

Do you want me to pop your name in the sea glass dish for my spare copy of the kids' book?

KSV Woolfoot said...

Commenting in real-time imagine that. I couldn't endorse anything so crass as a competition between us, of course - but a mutual effort to enlighten a dark world, by all means. I would hate to have you stuck with the postage to the US if I won the Seaglass book (which is why I didn't enter). If you can face that risk please throw my name in the box. Thanks.

Juliet said...

I didn't mean a *competitive* competition, naturally. I only ever get competitive when I spot a bargain at a boot sale!

Jenny said...

Hey hey hey, I resent your Dilbert remark! I work in the Dilbert world! ;-) Kim, speaking of tea, you probably don't remember, but my mom collected blue teapots from the 1930s and 1940s. I have continued that collection----and oh boy, how fun is it to spot one in an out-of-the-way shop, and at a good price. Blue teapots are so hard to find. So hey, I totally understand your thrill of the chase, and your enjoyment of auction potential.

KSV Woolfoot said...

Jenny - great to hear from you. Sorry to hear you are living in Dilbert's world - although maybe I shouldn't be. I think the compensation is better there than it is in State gov't. I didn't remember about your Mom's teapots although I am fascinated to hear about them. Blue teapots call out to me too, but, I have got to have some limits. If you have pictures I would love to see them.

Jenny said...

All the photos of my blue teapot collection are with the blue teapots themselves----in long-term storage in Colorado, in Dad's barn, where they have been since I left Colorado in 1998. How sad! I wonder if bubble wrap deteriorates over the years?! Along with the blue teapots is my other collection----elephants from the 1930s and 1940s. Mom started me on that collection as a kid in Niskayuna and it's grown over the years---it's now a collection out of control. But when and where will I ever have the chance to display it?! I really wonder about that. I really miss having a proper house. :-)

Cat said...

Wow, I thought I had exactly this cup, however it's only similar.

KSV Woolfoot said...

Hi Cat. I guess you must have the world's second most beautiful cup then. :-)
Jenny - my bad on the elephant collection. I reread your comment (more slowly) and saw that your Mom got you _started_ collecting them. If you ever get to VT (and get a house with a lot of shelves)I know where you can score a few more.

Cat said...

OK, my post is up.