Blue Willow Printing Plate Origin

Good Morning! Happy Saturday my fellow willow collectors. Today’s topic is researching an item. While at the IWC convention this year in Oklahoma City, I took the collectors back to where it all began! Some artist painfully carving the willow pattern into a heavy piece of copper to design a new willow plate!

The plate above I had no idea who the manufacturer was and quite honestly still don’t but now I have some clues! I met my new friend Len Kling from the Transfer Collectors Club and after the convention he sent me an email that sent me on a wild goose chase…or at least two wild doves!

The printing plate above does have some unusual aspects. If you look closely at the birds, their tails are split and feathered like a fountain. Not all willow patterns have this effect. I can often judge a Japanese piece by their chunky little birds!

There is a mark on the front of the printing plate but as of now it has not turned up in any database that we could find…however on the back of the printing plate there is another pattern that gave us the clue to get as far as we have gotten!

It very much appears someone wanted to ensure the tracking of the back of this printing plate was not easy so the remainder of the mark has been blotted out…but my friend Len..well he did some digging and found exactly who the manufacturer was.

I am guessing someone ran off with a printing plate they were not supposed to have, and this was essentially the end result. This company had its issues. You can find more data at this link: http://www.thepotteries.org/allpotters/734.htm

Below you will see the Windsor pattern above. I am amazed that something from 1849 has survived this long!

I think we without a doubt, know who made the pattern on the back side of this plate. Now, I decided to look in Connie Roger’s Encyclopedia on British Pottery specific to willow but I had no luck, that manufacturer was not mentioned anywhere. I still have yet to find that specific mark!

But….thank God for Ebay! I did find a willow plate by Mellor Venables! The mark is not a match, but the birds have the same fountain design so I take that as being close to a win!

Now the mark on the actual face of the printing plate is as below:

It makes me wonder if the printing plate were sold to another manufacturer or stolen. Regardless I do see a great deal of similarities between the actual plate I purchased off of ebay and the actual printing plate, so I feel like I am pretty close! I will keep digging for you all and maybe in Kentucky I will have some examples of each item with the respective printing plate.

If anyone has the Twigg Brothers plate from Connie Roger’s collection, I would love to have it or at least get pictures! I have the printing plate that it was made from!

I wanted to send a couple of links to remind us of why we fell in love with these pieces. This my friends is on my bucket list. I have always wanted to see a willow plate be made and would love to go to the Spode factory/museum.

Spodeworks often posts videos of artisans keeping the Heritage alive by doing tutorials featuring the willow pattern plates. Can I tell you every time I see a video pop up, I drool?

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. Happy willowing!

Christine

Blue Willow – Back to the Beginning

I began collecting blue willow back in 1996. The same year my husband and I got married and were expecting our first child. We were still in college, really had a rough start trying to make ends meet. My parents and my in-laws were such a huge support. The picture above is my first piece of willow, and it holds a very special place in my heart. The salt box is vintage and made in Japan. Unfortunately, it was missing its lid, so my mom used it to hold her bills until they were paid and then filled it back up again!

Ben and I moved into the old house I grew up in. The kitchen counters were yellow Formica and the cabinets a bright white….so we decided blue and white would work and since my mom didn’t have the lid to the salt box it became mine! Soon she was clearing a shelf of blue and white dishes from her antique shop, and we were ready to decorate. That is how it all began. For years, that was my most valuable piece of willow.

Last week, my husband and I got to enjoy some fellowship at the IWC convention in Oklahoma City. It was a wonderful time with about 60 other willow collectors. The auction, flea market, teachings and sale are always favorites. But right before we left, I had made a decision to step back from Recovery ministry. Anyone who has worked with folks in recovery, understand it isn’t an easy task and 10+ years volunteering has taken its toll on us.

Anyhow, I had made my mind up and like so many times before nothing was going to change it. On our way out of town I get a message from a girl who we had worked with through that very recovery program. She was out and about and found a beautiful blue and white gift for me and she promised the next time she saw me, to pass it along.

Yeah, you see where this is going. God connected the two just to remind me, people do appreciate the work we do and while the rewards are few, they do come when we need them the most! So today I had to take my mom to an appointment so we stopped so I could see what my gift was….and here it is!

It is funny how God always sends us a reminder when we need it and oftentimes, we don’t even feel deserving, but he still provides. I almost cried when I saw it. It was in perfect condition and the even better part; it is different than my other one pictured above!

Here is to realizing God always has us, and when we least expect it, blue willow gifts sooth the soul!

Happy Willowing!

Christine

A Willow Tea Set – Easy on the Eyes!

I don’t often purchase full tea sets because I have zero room to store or display anything else. I continue to tell myself if I want to purchase anything something must go but I always locate just enough space if I stack it all just right! This set, though caught my eye.

This is a beautiful deep teal blue tea set with hints of red orange and tiffany blue adorned with tons of gold gilding. It is simply gorgeous. The tea set is made by E Hughes & Co. whish was open from 1889-1940. According to British Willow Ware by Connie Rogers, on page 169 it states the company specialized in tea and breakfast sets. I have to say, they were good at it.

This set is in mint condition with no cracks or repairs. To think it has survived all these years and survived the shipping from the UK to West Virginia is in itself a miracle! This set has a teapot, a creamer and sugar and 6 demitasse cups and saucers.

I have to say the tiffany blue coloring on it sold me, but I probably would have bought it anyway! Now, all I have to do is sell a few things to make room for more!

I am considering taking this beautiful set a show and tell item to the Annual Willow Convention to be held in July in Oklahoma City. I hope if you are reading this, you check out the event. It is totally worth it.

https://www.willowcollectors.org/conventions.html

The link above takes you right to the details of the willow convention scheduled in July. I plan on selling items int eh flea market, entering the place setting competition and entering a craft item for the competition. I cannot wait for the willow auction and the grand sale.

Come see us! Happy Willowing! Christine

What Time is It? – Time for More Willow!!!!!

Royal Doulton Blue Willow Clock

I don’t know about you, but as a collector we have those “willow pieces” we dream about. I have never laid eyes on one of these before, but I have seen these in the Mary Frank Gaston’s Third Edition book on Blue Willow. Pages 48-49. These are the dream pieces for me.

Now having said that I was only able to get the clock, not the frames but I am on the hunt now! The book referenced above notes this clock dates from 1882-1890. This clock would have been part of a mantle set. It has gold spattered work, gold edges and a brass frame and is 8 ” in diameter. The clock was made by British United Clock Company. Below are the book references:

My clock is not without imperfection but if you were made in 1892 you might have a few extra cracks too! This piece is 130 years old. Honestly it is a miracle it survived and an even bigger miracle that it survived shipping when the other clocks in the box were shattered.

I am pretty pleased that I was able to get this adorable clock. I have a full collection of willow clocks I will share here in a bit, but first, I have another item to share with you.

Royal Doulton Clock 1882-1890

Above is the second clock I managed to come by. This piece is simply stunning. There is no gold on this piece, but the raised flower edging is simply gorgeous. This one is larger than the other at 10 inches. The clock is brass in the center, but the framing almost has a rose gold tint to it. It is simply gorgeous.

Below are some additional pictures of this clock. I would anticipate each of these having a value between $500-$600 each but I am definitely not an expert. But….I would pay that to have them in my collection.

My husband says it is time for me to stop buying, but I say it is time for me to make more money so I can buy more!!!!! My timing is always off, and he always has to go pick something up at the post office for me! Now for other clocks in my collection!

I think it is TIME for me to find the rest of the mantle set and make my clock collection complete!

Happy Willowing and Happy Easter – Remember Jesus died for us, but he rose again!

Christine

Blue Willow Dreams!

I must admit there are times in my collecting where I am amazed that I managed to find a certain piece that may complete a set or it is something I passed up buying and well…..I was mad at myself for walking away. I am probably the only one that has a non-buyer remorse!

When it came to these guys, I purchased three of them together and then a lovely friend brought them to an IWC convention. These are prestonpans and are some of my favorite toby pieces. I truly think each of them take on a personality all of their own. I loved the yellow jackets and I knew when I bought them I was going to search for a long time to find the remainder of the set…the open salt.

In November I caught the lovely Covid and was shut in for 10 days. During that 10 days I did a great deal of Christmas shopping for the family but I also came across a lot of toby prestonpans of all patterns so I decided to bid on a whim. Well as of today they were finally delivered. Unfortunately, Covid hit the auction house and so I patiently waited. After all I knew how bad I felt, so I understood.

I now have a full set with the red/orange jackets, blue jackets and now yellow. I honestly could have washed this open salt but I kind of dig his pigpen look. A little dirt never hurt anyone. Look how cute these guys are!

I guess it makes my heart smile when I complete a set and find all of the pieces. I truly love these little men and I now have a full set of 12! I’ll post the others later.

For now, happy willowing!

Christine

I have been so “Eggcited” for this piece!

I am the kind of Blue Willow Collector that loves to see other people’s items and collections because it teaches me and lets me know there are other more exciting pieces out there to be had! I look at collections of people like Connie, Jeff, Loren and others and I am simply in awe. If you don’t know these names, you really need to join the International Willow Collectors! You are totally missing out.

In any case, I have patiently awaited this delivery and the boxes when they arrived were not only crushed but wet, like soaked it took days for them to dry and days for me to get up the guts to open the boxes, living each moment in fear of a shattered piece. In any case, my second egg holder piece. I added a post about my first one a few weeks back. I managed to get it for less than $25. This one, not so much! But I wanted it.

I have already sold another piece that was in the lot with this item to cover the shipping cost, so not all is lost. If you have read any of my other posts, I have favorite collections inside of my collection. I have a wonderful serving set that is stapled. If you haven’t seen my post on stapled pieces, they are truly amazing. The way someone cherished these pieces amazes me.

This set has some damage but it is repaired with staples, which I adore. The third picture below shows the staple repaired piece. The sides of this egg holder are formed to look like a basket weave with the willow pattern layered on top. The handle is the same. Regardless of it’s imperfections, I simply love it.

This pieces is unmarked and probably dates to the early to mid 1800’s. I am blessed to have it complete, even though it is imperfect!

Happy Willowing friends.

Christine

Blue willow and Bacon! Yes Please!

Yesterday before I began my commute home for the week there was a “mountain” of packages for me as evidenced by a picture from my daughter who painstakingly brought them in from the porch daily while I work away from home during the week. Some were Christmas gifts for others while some were gifts to myself!

I had purchased 3-4 pieces of willow that take a vast amount of time to arrive when coming from the UK. On package arrived soaked and open, I was not hopeful but to my surprise the double boxing did the trick. Everything was ok and this piece was tucked away on the inside.

I was elated that not only did it arrive and it was safe but it is in near mint condition. I noted no cracks or repairs or chips, just aging. It was listed as Spode but upon inspection I realized it was in fact Grainger (I referenced Connie Roger’s book). I contact my friend Jeff who told me these smaller warming plates were often called bacon warmers. I find that amusing because neither of us know of a reason to allow back to A. get cold or B not be eaten immediately!

I am in love with the details on the handle of this piece as well as the sides. The warming section has a cork with ceramic knob to plug the hole. It appears to be all original and the cork is still intact. Based on the book I believe this piece is from the 1860’s to 1890’s.

I am simply in love with this piece and I have to wonder, who had it that cherished it so much to ensure it never got broken. I am sure it was also loved by them. I also wonder who ever lets bacon get cold. They must be sick or something! I think I will use mine for display and simply eat the bacon as it comes out of the frying pan!

Here is to buying your own willow Christmas presents….a little early!

Christine

Blue Willow Addiction? Frog Mugs

About 6 months ago I saw a friend’s post on a website his collection of frog mugs. I was in complete awe of how many different ones he had pictured. Here I was without one at all! To say I was jealous was an understatement. There are collectors out there that seem to find all of the amazing pieces. At this stage in my collecting, unless we are driving on vacation, we don’t normally find rare willow items much of anywhere other than online then you pay and arm and a leg for shipping!

I decided I wanted a collection of frog mugs. I found one then a week or so later I found another….next thing I know, I have 6. Now I have to say my husband would say the two mugs at the ends of the second row are the same, but upon further inspection one frog is smiling while the other one has a closed mouth….I could shout from the roof tops, they are NOT the same. Those of you that collect and of course are not addicts, know what I am talking about.

You can see, I just have not stopped looking for these cups with the surprise in the bottom! I don’t know about you, but to me if you addiction results in a collection you can eventually capitalize on, it isn’t so bad…or at least that is what I keep telling myself!

None of the frog mugs are marked with the exception of the one with one handle and the traditional willow pattern. It has a Mailing mark that would probably date around 1924 or after, so that tells me they remade this lovely line of mugs probably a second time.

Well for now, Happy Willowing!

Christine

Blue Willow Baby Feeding

Good Morning! I apologize for being so absent here lately. I have had a great deal going on with life in general, work and recovery ministry and time has not been on my side! None the less, I recently added to my baby feeding collection. Ok, so only two of these are baby feeding devices and one is an invalid feeder, but you get what I am saying. I am guessing since I now have more than two items I can call it a collection! I don’t really know the rules on that!

My newest piece is a baby bottle with the traditional blue willow pattern on it. I typically see these with the Brosley pattern or Two Temples II but I don’t often see the traditional border, so I was super excited to pick this one up. It has a much different shape than the one I already had. This example is much thinner and flat, where the other one is very curved. You can kind of see the difference in the pictures below.

I would date both of these pieces to the early 1800’s. I think a great deal about how things have changed since that time. These days, you see a baby bottle that laid around the house, it isn’t uncommon to toss it out. To think these items may have survived over 200 years amazes me. Think about the fact that someone cherished these items that long and they had to have been passed amongst generations, some of which may not have even known what they were used for!

Lastly is the pap boat mainly used to feed older people who don’t have the ability to feed themselves in hopes of preventing choking. I would guess this is from the same era as the the baby bottles. I simply love the light blue patterns on some of the older English items. They are so gorgeous.

Anyhow, for now, Happy Willowing. I hope to post again soon.

Christine

Blue Willow & Fall Decor: Mix and Match!

I must say as we head towards fall, I truly enjoy the crisp mornings, the sunny afternoons and the smell of leaves falling. I love when seasons change. I love the colors that begin to show as the leaves change. I live in West Virginia where the seasonal colors have vibrant shades of reds, oranges, yellows and browns.

I also love a wonderful place setting that reminds me of those times and yes I am a month early with this, but everyone was sleeping! There is something calming for me about taking time to set a table as though someone important was coming to visit or as if a member of the International Willow Collectors was coming for a visit and we were planning pastries and coffee. Neither of which seem to happen but I intend to be ready if the occurrence arises.

This morning I woke well before everyone else, which is par for the course. My internal clock will not let me very far past 6 am, all 7 days of the week. I decided the white table cloth on my big table needed to come off and some hints of fall need to be shown. I quickly through on a gold table cloth, some pumpkins and some leave swags with a huge willow platter front and center. I will show you that table later. Now that we essentially have a household of 7 we use that table often and with my grandson grabbing everything in sight I don’t think it will last long, but for this morning it makes me happy!

My small table in the nook doesn’t get used unless we have a large family gathering. This table is set with a beautiful yellow willow pattern table cloth as the base. I then added place mats from Ireland that are linen. These too are the willow pattern. Next I added a clear cut glass pitcher with a floral arrangement to the center.

I decided I wanted to have hints of blue and white and fall colors. I added some velvet pumpkins and this cute little ceramic turkey jar I purchased at the Goodwill for $2. He is quite the cute turkey. I then decided I wanted to add a teapot and creamer and sugar but decided I wanted silver. These pieces are willow as well and need a good polishing, but I simply haven’t made it that far!

Next I added my newest blue willow plates and a cute little covered tureen used for sauces. It has an adorable lion finial. It is such a cute addition. I didn’t pull out the silverware simply because I was lazy after setting the larger table. I hope you enjoy it!

Until next time Happy Willowing!

Christine.

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