Saturday, February 22, 2014

Every collectible has a story.....

Keri, from the lovely blog, Ivy Clad has inquired about the dishes stored in my laundry room drawers, and suggested I do a post on it...I posted this quite a while back, and you can read the story behind it's acquisition... I have reposted it here....

This past week has kept me very occupied...I have not posted for a about a week, and felt I could share a special story....
I have begun packing up my china and dinnerware and not enjoying a minute of it, other than recalling  the story behind every purchase, and remembering the acquisition.

Like so many of us, I was always drawn to blue and white pottery, blue transferware, flow blue and the like...what I especially admired was Blue Mikado made in England, by Royal Crown Derby.

I knew that when I began my interest in it, that it would be unattainable, because of the price and also because I could not explain my attraction to it, therefore I would in all probability never put myself in a position to buy it. I am not particularily drawn to Oriental motifs, preferring more of the traditional English patterns.

However, as luck would have it, an estate sale near my home yielded some fine treasures a few years ago.  The estate was that of an elderly woman, who had always lived in the same home, previously her maternal home, and she had never married.
Therefore everything in the sale was that of two generations of inhabitants. Sales such as this one were rare and "must attend'' for any serious antique collector.

When I arrived, the sale was beyond exquisite in its offerings! The first thing I noticed was the immaculate, never before used set of Blue Mikado. I have never trembled before at an auction, but I could feel myself getting very weak in the knees....
The bidding was about to begin and I noticed, a gentleman standing next to me, watching me very curiously....he knew I was so intent on the dishes, I hadn't even heard my sister, who was with me talking to me!
He began to tell me that the estate was that of his aunt, a school teacher who had never married.  On the first Sunday of every month, a suitor of many years, would pick her up, drive her to Niagara on the Lake for lunch and then purchase one piece of Blue Mikado for her! One piece, every month!

Each piece is so perfect in its execution, the lovely indigo blue, sharp and clear, and often the images of the characters appear almost life like!
Her nephew told me, that if I took careful note, there was only one egg cup in the collection....She never did marry him, after all!

I was so intrigued with the story he told during the bidding, that I didn't realize my bid had been the last, and it was sold to me! I was thrilled and terrified at the same time, and it became my Christmas, birthday and anniversary present for that year as well as the next!

This china, in particular this pattern, Mikado reminds me of the immortal opera, Turandot...which tells of the cold,beautiful princess in Puccini's timeless classic.
She basically put her suitor through hoops, before she professed her love for him.
But he won her hand, as witnessed in the hauntingly, beautiful aria, Nessun Dorma, from the same opera. My Dad used to sing it to me when I was a little girl.  He always made me feel like a princess....
Perhaps my affinity to this particular pattern of Royal Crown Derby.

However, our suitor, did not fare as well!

Blue Mikado is still available, although the pattern has changed slightly over the years.
I wash it by hand when I use it, usually in conjuction with a white china charger, and layered with lowly milk is still lovely.

The solitary egg cup!

Some of the pieces in my collection are quite unusual and not what you would normally this dimunitive pitcher...and there is also a piece with a covered dome, perhaps for cheese or a solitary breakfast....

You can see the beautiful depiction of birds, trees and flowers as well as romantic images of characters through out all the pieces.

....the small domed plate I mentioned above......

I have implemented and enjoyed my collection for many years now. I try to use it everyday, not just special occasions. A cup of tea in an Mikado cup...a pat of butter on a sideplate....  I love that it has such a bittersweet story attached to it.  I often wonder about her suitor, how generous and earnest he was in winning her favour and affection. Its connection to me, my favourite opera, my favourite aria from my childhood instilled in me by my father....
Newly purchased objects can never impart the same emotions and recollections that cherished collectibles and antiques offer us. I hope you have enjoyed my little respite from the mundane packing and sorting I am going through at the moment!

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  1. Nella sweetie, you updated on my roll!!!! Sound the drums..woot!
    It must be the magic of the Imari, it's story so beautifully told!!!!

  2. You must be dancing on the ceiling Hun... finally Blogger has realised what we knew long ago... this blog deserves to be recognized in a more current manner.
    Beautiful china, but then I wouldn't have expected anything less.Those are the sales we live for.
    Susan x

  3. Oh Nella not only are you skilled in photography but in storytelling too. I love this story. I too would find my knees shaking when at an auction when the bidding would begin. So fun to win the bid!
    Lovely china I never knew about it.

  4. Nella this is a sweet story. I loved the telling of it! You have beautiful pieces.
    have had that shaking in the knees a time or two. I remember when I first saw the gothic window frame I have in my living room. Someone else was measuring it. I thought to myself 'I have to have that' and I could hardly move until the man finally walked away from it and I immediately went to the seller and told her I wanted it.
    hugs from here...

  5. NELLA!!!!!!! Your new post came up!!! AND I love love love all this blue and that Met. Opera jacket in blue and the pen? GORGEOUS!!!! Oh dearest, have a sunny and wonderful day! Anita

  6. Beautiful post Nella! I truly loved the story, you told it so well. Blue and white china has always been my favorite but I don't own any of the Imari. It is just beautiful. Have a lovely day.

  7. I believe the original owner of the china was at the auction that day, and it was she who ensured her nephew would be standing beside you. In addition to the beauty of these pieces is the story that goes with them - and that is truly priceless.

    Great images!

  8. Well.. you got me on this one! These are gorgeous! I'm a huge fan of blue and white and I love your story. Wonderful!

  9. What an amazing story, Nella! Love this pattern...

  10. It's a beautiful story! The collection is wonderful as well.

  11. What a gorgeous collection. Thanks for sharing.

  12. I just found your blog and it is breath taking. I love the blue and white china, I love the cabbage roses, and I love the greenery of the garden. It is simply delightful. As soon as I hit the publish button, I'm going back to the follower button and joining your wonderful fans. Please come and visit my blog, it is not as elegant as yours but it me, and maybe you'll like it enough to join me on my journey.

  13. Hello Nella...found your blog through a comment you left at Glamour Begins at Home. As I live in Niagara on the Lake, we are almost neighbours. I love Jordan...a beautiful part of this amazing area. Wonderful blog...I look forward to following along.

  14. I think the school teach would be thrilled that her beautiful dishes found a new home with you. What a gorgeous that I am not familiar with and your photos are stunning. Hope you have a wonderful trip to Florida.


  15. What a gorgeous collection and fantastic photos! I love blue and white so I'm particularly drawn to these photos.

    I'd love to have you link to Seasonal Sundays.

    - The Tablescaper

  16. What a lovely story of the estate sale and you acquisition of such a beautiful pattern. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Good morning Nella! Each blue piece indeed has a story, and that is what makes certain antiques/vintage items so alluring. I love that PEN and invite to the opera, as well as the liveliness of your greenery! Thank you for this inspiring post today, as I dream up how I will incorporate plants into my lifestyle. THANK YOU! Anita

  18. What a charming story and a beautiful collection. Your father must have had a lovely voice if he could sing Nessun Dorma (one of my favorites)...certainly a memory to treasure.

  19. Oh my, what a beautiful story...and how wonderful to be able to think of that lady and her suitor whenever you use those magnificent pieces...I am sure that her family is so happy that it is now in your possession as you shall covet and treasure it always...I have been to Niagra on the Lake and one of my very favorite places that I had the pleasure to visit...

  20. Nella,

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story & photos of your china. I had not read it the first time you blogged it, but in any case, it's so beautiful I wouldn't mind reading it many times over.

    Last night I had some time to myself & spent it reading the information about Mikado in the link you sent me. Several hours were gone before I knew it with one search leading to another. It was definitely time enjoyably spent.

    Thank you, too, for your kind mention of my blog. Have a wonderful Sunday!



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