Our Love Of Blue and White Pottery: Snippet Of The Day Number 2
Many of us love blue and white pottery, and I am one of the many, but the question is why?
Blue and white pottery has been around for, literally, a millennium. It has been made by a large number of manufacturers, with the only thing in common being the predominance of a blue colouration, with some white.
It is also includes flow blue: a blue glaze that blurs/ flows during firing. Flow blue was popular in the Victorian era, particularly in the U.S where it is still popular today.
Blue and white pottery or porcelain start life as white pottery. This is decorated underglaze with blue pigmentation; usually cobalt oxide. The decoration can be applied in several ways including, hand painting, stencilling and transfer-printing.
The origin of blue and white pottery can be traced back to the 9th Century and, contrary to popular opinion, originated in Iraq (Persia) and not China; albeit using Chinese stoneware. Chinese blue and white porcelain appeared in larger numbers from the 14th Century, using cobalt pigment exported from Iraq to China. I think most of us will have heard of the 15th Century Ming Dynasty pottery!
Europe loved the Chinese imports but didn’t develop their own tin-glazed earthenware until the 16th Century, with the introduction of Delft ware in The Netherlands. This was then followed by other famous manufacturers including Meissen (Germany), Worcester (UK), Wedgwood and Spode (to name just a few!).
One of the most enduring patterns is ‘Willow,’ which looks like it should have been invented in China. However, it was actually introduced in the UK, albeit heavily influenced by Chinese imported pottery designs. The actual inventor of the Willow pattern is attributed to Spode, Staffordshire, UK but many other Staffordshire potteries were using similar, but slightly different, designs.
I know I haven’t quite answered the question of why we love blue and white. Maybe it is because of the numerous designs, the aesthetically pleasing colour combination and patterns, and the fact that it is associated with the development of white porcelain and tin glaze? For me, it is a combination of all these factors and perhaps more than a little visceral sentience!
Today, I thought I would share with you What is Ironstone? Snippet Of The Day Number 1. This is a mini-blog about Ironstone, as you probably expected from the title!
Charles James Mason registered the patent name ‘IRONSTONE’ in 1813 for the ‘Improvement of the Manufacture of English Porcelain, IRONSTONE PATENT CHINA:’ Patent number 3724. The name was soon adopted by competitors, whom were using similar materials.
Mason wasn’t the first manufacturer to actually produce ironstone. This accolade is usually attributed to William Turner of Lane End Potteries, Staffordshire, UK in 1800. He sold his patent to Spode whom produced the bluish/ white ironstone many of us are familiar with.
Contrary to popular belief, Ironstone does not contain iron! The name is derived from its ‘iron-like’ strength and durability.
Ironstone is an earthenware vitreous pottery with stoneware appearance and properties. It was mass produced as a cheaper alternative to porcelain.
Famous British Manufacturer’s of Ironstone (Earthenware) include Spode; Mason’s; T&R Boote, Swadlincote Potteries amongst many others.
In 1922, Mason’s Ironstone introduced Amber Glaze described as ‘a ground colour of the ware, is a soft pale Ivory and the colouring unusually fine.’ Minuet was the first pattern produced in this new glaze and Mandarin soon followed.
Today, is the first of December, and I wanted to celebrate the start of advent with you by sharing a post entitled All I Want For Christmas Is Memories. Intrigued? Then please continue reading!
What does Christmas mean to you?
I don’t think it really matters where you are in the World, or what faith, as many people now celebrate Christmas by exchanging gifts with loved ones. It is a time when families get together, put disagreements aside (hopefully!), for one day and focus on one another and spread some ‘Good Will’ to most people you come across. Even in the holiday traffic jams and travel chaos, people seems to have more patience and tolerance at this time of year!
Contrary to popular opinion amongst some children and adults, the 25th December isn’t about celebrating the birth of Father Christmas but, for Christians, the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. Whether or not you have faith, I think it is striking that 2000 years after His birth people are still celebrating. Or is it?
Most theologists agree that Christ wasn’t born on the 25th December, so why do we celebrate on this day? In fact, early Christians only celebrated Easter.
One of the theories is that the date was set to coincide with the Roman festival of Juliana around the time of the winter solstice (~ 21st December in the Northern Hemisphere). Or the birth of the Roman sun god, Mithra, on the 25th December.
Christianity only came permanently to the shores of the, then pagan, British Isles in the 4th-6th Centuries.
How Do You Celebrate Christmas?
Many parts of Europe, the Commonwealth, and USA have similar traditions during the festive season, but it is the country specific differences which I love hearing about.
Most of us have a gift giver who’s name differs from country to country including; St Nicholas (many parts of Europe), Kris Kringle, Father Christmas (UK), and Santa Claus (U.S and Canada). Many of these Christmas personifications appeared during mediaeval times in Europe. At this stage, Christmas was predominantly celebrated by adults. It wasn’t until Victorian times, at least in the UK, that Father Christmas appeared in the guise we now know him today and started giving gifts to children. He often wore a green cloak too!
Christmas trees were brought to the UK in the 1830s. They were popularised by Prince Albert, husband to Queen Victoria and born in Germany. In 1848, he had one put up and decorated in Windsor Castle. The rest is history!
The tradition of Yule trees at Christmas had been around in most of Northern Europe from the 1400s but in Germany there was a special legend to celebrate. The folklore said that the Christ Child arrived on a Forester’s door step on Christmas Eve, as a poor, cold, boy. The forester, though poor himself, took the boy in and gave Him food, shelter and a bed. On Christmas morning, the boy appeared as the Christ Child with a choir of angels. He thanked the forester for looking after Him by breaking a branch off a fir tree and bringing it in to the home for the fire.
One UK tradition that always intrigued me is ‘Boxing Day,’ the 26th December or St Stephen’s Day. The name is said to be derived from the custom of young boys collecting money in clay boxes after the Church service on the day after Christmas. Once full, the boxes were broken and the money distributed to the needy.
The arrival of the U.S gift giver, Santa Claus, (supposedly derived from the Dutch word for St Nicholas (Sinterklaas), dates back to the 17th Century. But the Santa Claus, whom lives in the North Pole, wears a red suit, and has a sleigh with reindeer, didn’t arrive in the U.S until 1863 following notable appearances in literature from the early 1800s. The UK’s Father Christmas and the U.S Santa Claus are now essentially the same person.
There are lots of lovely country specific traditions in mainland Europe but one I particularly like is the Santa Lucia ceremony, celebrated on the 13th December, in Sweden. St Lucia was a Christian virgin martyred for her beliefs in the 4th Century. The youngest female in the family dresses as Santa Lucia; usually with an evergreen crown with candles, a white robe and red sash. She then participates in a candlelit procession with other girls , whom are accompanied by ‘star boys’ in white shirts and pointed hats. It is such a simple ceremony but very poignant and beautiful on a cold, snowy, day.
What does Christmas Mean To Me?
To me, Christmas is about family memories. One of my earliest Christmas memories was as a 4-year old, just a few days before Christmas, when I was sat with my maternal grandmother watching Hansel and Gretel on the TV. I was worried that it wasn’t going to snow, and if it didn’t snow then how would Father Christmas use his sleigh? My Grandmother went over to her dresser and pulled out a small jewellery box and handed it to me.
‘Open it and make a wish’, she said.
I tentatively opened the box, it was quite big in my small hands, and inside was this wonderful Christmas tree brooch. With eyes sparking, I laid the brooch on the palm of my hand, closed my eyes and made a wish. I then put the brooch back in the box and returned it to the dresser drawer.
Within 5 minutes it started to snow! I think you can guess what I wished for and why that memory will never fade!
My Grandmother died a couple of years later, and I pleaded to be allowed to keep the brooch after fervently promising that I would always look after it. I was given the brooch and still have it to this day. I wear it at this time of the year, every year.
To me, this is what Christmas is all about. I don’t remember what my Gran gave me as a present, possibly a doll. The gift really does’t matter. What she did create was a wonderful memory of Christmas and I hope that it creates notable moments for you all too!
The Christmas Tree Brooch
As I was thinking of writing this blog a few days ago. I went and retrieved the Christmas Tree brooch from its resting place and was intrigued to know more about it.
The costume jewellery brooch measures 7cm (2.8″) x 4cm (1.6″). It was bought in the 1950s (we think!) for my Grandmother (a housekeeper for a wealthy industrialist), as a Christmas gift from Saks, 5th Avenue (see the non-returnable sticker). I wasn’t sure about the back mark impressed on the plant pot at the back of the brooch, so I turned to the Vintage and Antiques Community on Google+ for their help. It didn’t take long before several members of the community came back to me!
Originals by Robert which was part of The Fashioncraft Jewelry Co. NYC 1942 to 1979 founded by “Robert” Levy, David Jaffe and Irving Landsman.
The copyright mark makes it post 1955.
Richard, blogger extraordinaire, going by the pseudonym ‘Young Man Gone West,’ (YMGW), has kindly allowed me to post his wonderful blog ‘X-Ray Specs’ for our Mullard Antiques readers.
Some of you may recognise this Halsey USAAF X-Ray Warning Light from our website. YMGW purchased the light and has ensured that it is now in full working condition. The blog explains more about its fascinating history with some great accompanying images!
I think we can all say that YMGW has done a good job on the post and the light. Wonderful to see the lamp in working condition. A real vintage statement piece!
Likely manufactured in the late-1960s but updated in the mid-1980s – the Freed transformer inside is dated August 1969, but the Soderberg anti-collision beacon October 1985 – this Halsey industrial X-ray warning device was used by the United States military. The item bears an affixed metal plate, plus a sticker from the time of its disposal, that together provide valuable information on its origins.
The Disposal Turn-In Document (DTID) number acts as a unique disposal serial number. The first six places provide the Address Activity Code. FB5587 is RAF Lakenheath. The light was, thus, used by the USAAF. The next four places indicate the date the item was catalogued for disposal. Per the US military’s adaptation of the Julian dating system, 9196 is 6 April 1991.
The National Stock Number (NSN) system was standardised by NATO in 1974 to track military assets, although versions of it existed prior. The first four places indicate the Federal Supply Classification Group. FSCG 9905 is for signs, advertising displays and identification plates: even military ID plates have their own ID codes! 00 in the fifth and sixth places indicates the United States.
Demilitarisation Codes indicate the degree of physical destruction required. DEMIL: A denotes a non-munitions/non-strategic item that does not demand any such. $2,245.63 is understood to be the asking price at disposal in 1991, over £3,000 at 2017 prices. The Federal Condition Code is given as A1 – serviceable without qualification, new/unused.
Halsey was a trademark of Post Glover Medical Products, of Erlanger, Kentucky. Established in 1938, the company supplied medical items, including X-ray illumination boxes. It still trades, as PG LifeLink. The light would have been supplied via the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, Georgia, part of the USAAF’s Materiel Command.
Shaped like a truncated pyramid, the device stands 29 inches tall. When switched on the Lucite panels are illuminated from within, and the twin bulbs in the beacon rotate within the red glass housing. Built to operate on US 115v mains, the light has been converted to run on UK 240v, with a new transformer inserted to provide steeped-down voltage for the 28v DC beacon. The original transformer and Hubbell connectors have been left in place, to enable any future reinstatement to the original set-up.
(Many thanks to Steve and Karen, of Mullard Magic, for assistance with the item’s history; and to various members of the UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Forum for advice and parts.)
Post written by Richard: Young Man Gone West (YMGW)
Thank you to you YMGW too! And for all Mullard Antiques blog readers, please click on the following link to YMGW’s website for more fascinating posts.
Latest Royal Mail Posting Dates for Christmas 2017!
I hope you are all keeping well?
I can’t believe how this year has flown by! Halloween and Bonfire Night have been and gone so here in the UK the next big holiday is Christmas! I know this isn’t quite the case everywhere in the World but my apologies for not listing all your special celebrations and holidays here, but I hope you all enjoy them anyway!
Since some of you are usually very well (or is it ill?) prepared for the vagaries of the postal system around the festive season, I thought I would share with you the latest Royal Mail Posting Dates For Christmas.
I have only shared with you the dates for the Royal Mail (under 2Kg weight category) International Tracked/ Signed, (as here at Mullard Antiques we don’t ship Internationally via surface mail), and UK Inland Services.
Items weighing over 2Kg, or of a larger dimension, are normally shipped via a courier. It is best to contact us prior to purchase, as the delivery times vary depending on the courier used.
Having shared this with you, I would add that some items will take longer to ship than indicated, as things can get held up in customs.
International Standard (formerly Airmail) and all International Tracking and Signature Services(formerly Airsure® and International Signed For®)
Saturday 2 December: Africa, Middle East
Wednesday 6 December: Cyprus, Asia, Far East (including Japan), Eastern Europe (except Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia)
Thursday 7 December: Caribbean, Central & South America
Saturday 9 December: Greece, Australia, New Zealand
Wednesday 13 December: Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Poland
Thursday 14 December: Canada, Finland, Sweden, USA
Friday 15 December: Austria, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland
Saturday 16 December: Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg
UK Inland Services
Wednesday 20 December: 2nd Class and Royal Mail Signed For®
Thursday 21 December: 1st Class and Royal Mail Signed For®
Thursday 21 December: Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed®
Friday 22 December: Special Delivery Saturday Guaranteed
Latest Christmas Posting Dates: 9th December (Aus/ NZ). Europe: 13th Dec. North America: 14th Dec. UK: 20th Dec 2017 Dismiss
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