As I construct a catalogue, I examine each piece of china carefully and, sometimes, this means that I notice something that isn’t obvious at first glance. That is the great attraction and, whatever your own enthusiasm, you probably know what I mean. It’s the subtleties that appeal.
A few photos to show you what I mean. Here is a small vase, quite an early one. Sadly, it’s been spoiled in the past, because the rim got chipped or cracked or broken and some joker thought it was a good idea to grind the entire rim down. But the lovely early flower is on the front and that’s very attractive. Look at the back, though. Isn’t that a fabulous strutting bird?
The next two pictures are of a coffee can. Mandarin figures – Chinese characters in a garden, most often – were popular because Oriental china was very fashionable in the 18th century. But look at this woman and surely you’ll admire the artistry of the decorator. The cup itself is three inches tall and the face is about 1 centimetre across (I use imperial and metric measurements according to what fits) but what an expression. Tim thinks that she’s wondering when her cup of wine will be filled? I think she’s more quizzical altogether – what are you giving me? But just a few brushstrokes give such an enjoyable scene.
This spoon is absolutely copied from the far east. As unEnglish as you can get. I remember an auction, years ago, when a health club/spa folded and the contents were sold off and there were two Lowestoft spoons. Russell and I really wanted one of them, but we were outbid. This one is a bit damaged but still delightful.