Pretty Things


There’s a little discussion about how much better tea tastes from a proper china cup in the comments to a post further down. Which led to a brief confession about my secret love for china. But you don’t need to scroll down to find it as I’ll share the same confession here, in more detail.

I have always had a “thing” for fine china, which started in early childhood. The family home passed from my paternal grandparents to my dad, and they still lived with us when I was very young. Thus my grandmother’s treasures were there and remained there after she died. Said treasures included a china cabinet crammed full of fine china of various descriptions and vintages. Sideboard and cupboard, too, but the china cabinet was glass-fronted, and hence the object of my fascination. At every opportunity I’d climb up on a chair and stand there, transfixed. I’ve always had an appreciative eye for pretty things, but perhaps the “forbidden fruit” aspect made the china especially tantalizing in my young mind. Such things were definitely off limits to little fingers, for all of the obvious reasons. But once in awhile I’d be included in an adult tea party and allowed to sip my very milky tea from one of those lovely cups, placed carefully into my little hands, which then held it with all of the reverence called for on such occasions. Probably sounds very prissy and old-fashioned in this day and age, but my dad’s family were/are a throw back to a more genteel age. And it rubbed off.

Once I left the nest I had far more important priorities than china for my hard-earned pennies. But the fascination never went away. I used to just roam the china departments in upscale department stores or antique shops to satisfy the craving, but then along came Richard, who was raised in much the same kind of environment. He was quite shocked that I didn’t have a china collection of my own as I just “seemed the type.” When we were just colleagues he drew my name for a Christmas swap and far exceeded the price limit with a gorgeous china mug. Then, when we became a couple, he insisted that I choose a pattern and start a proper collection. Oh, well, if you insist!

Of course choosing the pattern was no easy task. But it was easy to narrow it down to a manufacturer as Royal Albert had been my grandmother’s favourite, and I particularly like their attention to detail on their pieces. My favourite patterns from her collection were long discontinued, of course. Still available at antique shops and such, but it seemed more sensible to choose a modern pattern that would be easier, and cheaper, to collect. So, after much thought, I went with Tranquility, as featured in the pictures above. Old-fashioned enough to suit the nostalgic part of me, pretty and feminine to suit the very girly part of me. Which is really why china appeals, of course.

But, unfortunately, I chose a pattern that was destined to be discontinued soon after I started collecting it. Typical! However, I managed to collect all of the pieces required for a complete tea service, so I’m happy. A dinner service would have been nice, too, but I’m not so obsessed that I’m willing to pay the price for the pieces, now that they’re collector’s items. I inherited a complete Royal Doulton tea and dinner service, including all of the serving dishes and other “extras”, from an aunt a year or so ago. So that will do nicely.

Next up is collecting just a cup and saucer from each of the patterns that I remember from Grandma’s collection. I was actually supposed to inherit the contents of her china cabinet, but you know how these things go sometimes. But that’s ok. The ones I acquire now won’t be quite the same as they weren’t hers, but they’ll still be special and evoke the same memories.

*** The colours on the cup and saucer pictured above are spot on, but the pink on the cake plate is a bit too bright. It’s only there as it’s the best picture I could find which showed the entire pattern.

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