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.
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 glass...it is still lovely.
Some of the pieces in my collection are quite unusual and not what you would normally acquire....like 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.
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!