Tuesday, May 13, 2008
The World in a Teacup
My favorite blogger is Juliet Doyle. See her blog, "Musings From A Muddy Island," (link to your right). I think we both found inspiration in my last teacup posting and her comments on them i.e.("The Single Most Beautiful Teacup in The World"). So, in what is either an inspired bit of blogging or a disgustingly cloying display of 40-something tweeness, I am back with a few of my favorites from the China cupboard. I just checked on "Musings" and Juliet has not yet got her teacup photos and commentary going. I have faith however, that between us we can reveal the true and worthy fascination (and fun) of the teacup. Are you still in on this Juliet?
Leading off my teacup show are a few of my favorites. I am particularly fond of the one with the pine cones on it. It's got an American feel(though made in England). The one with the gold rim is just so elegant - I felt underdressed and clumsy just holding it. The black and white pieces photographed on the old chair are from a box lot of 27 that I picked up at auction a couple of weeks ago. The pattern is "Minuet" by WM Adams & Son England and my guess is they are from the teens or '20s. They are a little unusual because they are black transferware, not the more usual blue. I love the pattern and the style and also that these are meant for everyday as "genuine English ironstone" (a.k.a., "clay") not fine china. The demitasse cup is particularly fetching.
These next few are not properly mine; my mother and her husband asked us to store them some years back. It appears likely that I will be their next custodian, however. (Teacups outlive their owners, which is one of the great and sort of scary things about them). The "May" teacup is a little too sweet, but unashamedly so and I think it pulls it off. The others are just plain refined; real emblems of the pinnacle of western civilization that tea drinking represents (at least some of the time - like those times you bother to go to the China cabinet and get out the good teacups).
I know entire books have been devoted to exploring the great and overlooked contributions to the world of the simplest things; an engineer called Henry Petroski published a book in the early 90s about the pencil: The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance. Has the teacup book been written? I searched Amazon.com and didn't find it - maybe Juliet and I could take it on? Or maybe a blog post or two, or five, is enough.