Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sin, Death and Transferware

A beautiful platter...

In ghastly condition, but apparently regarded for ages past as too good to be thrown away. Life support was called in, who knows when, maybe a hundred years ago. Perfection, as I have said before, is overrated. The cracks,and the repairs, make this art as far as I am concerned.

The Sabbath was observed in the Last House today by a morning screening of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds. "Don't go in the attic Tippi!"

The kids sat on the stairs and watched it in their pajamas. The morning's other accomplishment, if watching a movie on TV counts as an accomplishment, was setting up a Facebook account for the Understudy. Why did I agree to such a thing?

What we have here is a milkmaid scolding a cow for kicking over the milk. Sigh. I love it. No marks at all on the bottom, but I am guessing 1830s...

I have my great grandmother's goin-to-church Bible, a little pocket number with a flap that folds over the front to keep it dry. Her name is written with a fountain pen on the fly leaf. The type is tiny. It saw a lot of use. That flap is just barely hanging on. Sorry Grandma. I am hoping I have not sent you spinning. Protestant guilt survives, if the habit of church attendance has not.

Making things worse, no doubt, was that 10 AM saw me perched on a not very comfortable, very ugly Victorian chair at my favorite auction house, which may be sort of the opposite of church. I left the auction with two box lots of 1840s to 1850s transferware. (The ugly chair and its mate went for $40 shortly before I left to go have lunch with a friend). I had seen these boxes of dishes at the preview yesterday, and coveted their contents.

I was laying in my room just now, looking at all the books and pictures and plates I have acquired over the last few years. Someday, I was thinking, when I have gone the way of great grandma, all these worldly goods will go the way of worldly goods. Given my spiritual circumstances, I think I better leave them to charity...

These little bowls are in a pattern called "Farm" that I have seen repeated on many other wares, usually not nearly so old as these. I gave my sister a biggish "Farm" platter for Christmas. The transfer printing on these is fabulous and crisp. Ooo!

In the meantime, they are lovely... And I do contemplate the lives of those who made these, and owned them before me, and repaired them (every piece has a crack)and preserved them. Does that help? And how about confessing. Any points for that? Or is the road to hell paved with transferware, and books and pictures?

Don't answer that.