This week has yet again been one of trials, many hours of work, transition, and unfortunately more and more COVID. There were a couple of highlights of my week prior to seeing this beautiful willow piece when I got home late last evening.
Highlight #1 – on Monday we did a “live” Recovery meeting on Facebook with the ministry. Our ministry normally had anywhere from 20-40 in attendance but due to COVID my husband and I decided to do some live sessions as some attendees were in quarantine. We decided with so many watching on Monday to leave the post up. We had over three thousand watches. I now have had ladies from all over the country join my January step study!
Highlight #2 – on Tuesday I tracked a package several times (I know I am not the only one). It arrived and I texted my son to ensure it got brought inside from the cold. I cannot leave precious willow out in the cold. He went out to the porch and retrieved my find. It had arrived 5 days early! That never happens this time of year, but the delivery men know my front porch so well.
Now for the not so good parts of my week: Struggle #1 – our hospital hit an all time high in COVID cases and we began asking everyone to pick up extra shifts even in areas they do not normally work to help keep beds open. When we topped 101 inpatients, my heart sank. The state also had close to 40 deaths in a day. I made the tough decision to distance myself from meetings, or gatherings of any kind over 10 (even church). I do not want this awful sickness.
Struggle #2 – work was so hectic, trying to cram two weeks of work into one in preparation for the holidays left me exhausted. I went in this week every day at 6:15 and didn’t leave until after 5 and plugged my pc back in as soon as I got to my rental. Exhaustion has been tough and today and tomorrow are no different.
Struggle #3 – I hate when I am away from home and a cherished willow item is delivered and I know it will be days before I get home. Right now it is not so bad because my son is home from college (he is 19), but normally, there simply isn’t anything I can do other than hope it remains safe, even in the heat and cold. This week I lucked out as my son was home!
I tracked the package several times when I got a notification it was being delivered early. This rarely happens when an item is coming form the UK. My son took the box inside after I texted and made the request. Knowing I wouldn’t be home for a few days I later texted when I had a few minutes and said, can you hear anything in the box? You know, the willow shake test. He said I am assuming you don’t want me to shake this box very hard?! what a good kid he is!
He texted back and said “Mom, do you want me to open it and send you pics so you know if it is ok? I took and deep breath and said, go ahead, but asked please be careful, I don’t know how it is wrapped and it is an amazing piece, probably now one of my most favorite pieces (there is no favorite just so you all know, that’s impossible).
He texted me the picture below and said does this make you feel better?! I was like yeah, but please move it off of the bar, I don’t want a cat or someone to knock it off by accident. Needless to say, he did everything right. I feel confident now I can enlist his help in the future!
Now onto the piece itself. This is probably one of the most unusual items I have found and purchased. It was listed as a hot water pourer. I believe that is probably what it was actually used for. If it had been wine or tea, I would have expected the interior to have some sort of staining. The inside is completely clean.
The cradle is hallmarked and I haven’t had a change to research it, but it is silver plated. I took some time to date the actual piece and it appears to have been registered June 7th 1882. I found one registration around this date by Minton’s but my internet was so bad due to snow, I couldn’t even pull the site up to investigate if it was it.
This piece stands approximately 13 inches tall and is 6 inches wide. The cradle is as I said silver plated like the ring around the pot itself. The ring around the pot has a triangular mark that helped me date the piece. I referenced a British pottery page to determine what the letter and numbers meant. The pot itself is unmarked with only a 7 on the bottom. I am assuming maybe the 7th pot made? I don’t know.
I would say this was used to pour hot water for tea. It makes sense to me that every area you would touch to pour would be metal and would not be as hot as touching the pot itself. You can see the side views and the back of the pot as well in the picture below. It was probably used for tea, but since I don’t drink tea, I will say hot cocoa!
The part I find most intriguing is the little tab at the bottom that prevented it from tipping over backwards. What an interesting way to prevent spills. Each side of the pot has two metal pieces that hold it in the cradle itself and keep it from from tipping sideways.
You can see the small painted tab on the bottom in the picture above on the right. This helped the piece remain stable and from tipping the wrong direction. You will also see all of the amazing gold guilting. I love how precious the details are. I took a close up picture of the front of the pot itself so you could see the pattern is not the full willow pattern.
My guess is that they took a traditional pattern and placed it on the pot and removed sections that did not quite fit. For instance the bridge only has two people and the tree is not complete either. Regardless, it is still a prize to me.
You will NEVER hear me say I have seen it all! That simply will never be the case. Seeing collections of those like Loren Zeller, Jeff Siptak, Hugh Sykes and so many more in the IWC, I can attest to not knowing enough or seeing enough!
For now, keep researching, keep looking for your next find!