Monday, March 20, 2017


William Brownfield (& Son (s) 1850-1892 "Spring" pattern plate.

The vernal or spring equinox is March 20, so I thought I'd see if there were any transferware spring patterns.  I found a few.

T. & R. Boote (1842-1906) "Spring" 6 inch tile.

Mintons (1872-1950) 6 inch tile "Spring: Ploughing." 
S. Fielding & Co. (1880-1917) "Spring" 12 inch pitcher.
Maker Unknown, 5.56 inch child's plate titled "Spring."

Spring flowers are also popular, so I thought I'd use this post to show you some photos of spring flowers in local gardens (and mine). You can skip these photos and go to the bottom of the post, where I added another transferware Spring pattern.

Camellias and Azaleas

Obedience and Erigeron (daisy-like flowers)

Grape Hyacinth

One more photo of a camellia

One more Spring pattern.

Bovey Tracey (1801-1836) "The Gem" 5 inch by 5 inch loving cup. "The Gem" patterns depict scenes from the four seasons.  Here, maypole dancers illustrate Spring.

Spring is my favorite season, although I like all four.  We are accused, here in Northern California, of having no seasons.  We do have seasons, but they are subtle.  Let the rest of the country be jealous!

Two more Spring posts: Doves and Clematis.

Sunday, March 12, 2017


Pap boat, ca. 1830

What is a pap boat?  It has taken me quite a lot of time to figure this out, and I'm still not totally sure.  It appears to be a small boat shaped item that was intended to supply pap to babies and invalids.  What is pap?  I have found more than one recipe (Robert Copeland* says it is a mixture of bread and flour soaked in milk with perhaps a small tot of rum!), but is is basically a mixture of flour and boiled water plus, on occasion, sugar or bread.  Pap was intended as a supplement for milk if a child failed to thrive.  Most of the pap boats have a spout on one side and a curved area on the other side instead of a handle (although some do have handles).  The curved area would make the small item easy to rest in the palm of the hand.  

My interest in pap boats in part of my interest in medical items.  For example, I have already written about toast water jugs and baby or invalid feeders.  But, it was a gift of a small teal printed object that led me to learn about pap boats.  I thought the object might be a butter boat because of its small size, 2.5 inches by 1.25 inches by 1.5 inches high, or a creamer from a child's service.  Once I learned it was a pap boat, I still wondered if it was intended to be a  plaything for a child.  I may be wrong, but I think it was just made to be used for infants and very young babies. 

Romantic pattern teal printed 2.5 inch x 1.25 inch x 1.5 inch high pap boat, ca. 1835

This photo shows the other side of the pap boat (anyone know the pattern?) plus how small it is.  For example, the mug on the left is 2.5 inches high.

Here are some more examples of pap boats. 

John & Robert Godwin (1834-1865) "Crete" pattern 5 inch by 3.5 inch by 1.25 inch high pap boat.  The Transferware Collectors Club entry for this pattern says "Pap was a glutinous mixture of flour or bread and water sometimes with egg or beer." 

Unknown Maker, 19th century sheet pattern pap boat.

William Ridgway Son & Co. (1838-1848) "Humphrey's Clock" pattern 3 inch by 2.25 inch by 1.5 inch high pap boat.

I found more information  about pap boats in "Antique Medical Instruments" by Elisabeth Bennion, which was published in 1979 for Sotheby Parke Bernet Publications by Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd. Russell Chambers, Covent Garden, London.  Notice that pap boats were made in silver and other materials, not just ceramics.

If you want to know even more about pap boats and baby feeders, here is a link to an excellent article titled "A History of Infant Feeding" by Emily E. Stevens. 

As much as I love pap boats, I'm glad we don't have to use them today!

*Robert Copeland, "Ceramic Bygones," p. 37

Wednesday, March 1, 2017


1939 movie poster for "The Wizard of Oz"

I recently watched the "The Wizard of Oz" on my iPad with my seven year old granddaughter.  We have watched it together before.  She loves Glinda the best because she is a good witch and beautiful.   Dorothy is my favorite character.  And Toto.  Both are brave.  They act to protect others, even when they are afraid and in danger.  I also love that Dorothy has such a strong wish to go home to her loved ones.  

If you have been reading my blog, you know I can find transferware patterns that relate to almost everything.  The patterns and the words  seen here are a bit sweet, but they echo Dorothy's wish.

David Lockhart & Co. (1876-1898), Victoria Pottery Scotland, 5.5 inch porringer.

Maker Unknown 5.06 inch plate printed with the words: "The dearest spot of earth to me/Is home, sweet home."  The text is from a poem titled "Dearest Spot On Earth to Me Is Home" circa 1857 by William Thomas Wrighton. The entire text reads: "The dearest spot of earth to me Is Home ... sweet Home! The fairyland I long to see Is Home! ... sweet Home! There, how charm'd the sense of hearing! There, where love is so endearing! All the world is not so cheering As Home ... sweet Home. The dearest spot of earth to me Is Home ... sweet Home. The fairyland I long to see is Home sweet Home. I've taught my heart the way to prize My Home ...sweet Home. I've learn'd to look with lover's eyes On Home ... sweet Home! There where vows are truly plighted, There, where hearts are so united, All the world besides I've slighted For Home ... sweet Home! The dearest spot of earth to me Is Home ... sweet Home. The fairyland I long to see is Home sweet Home."

Maker Unknown, 4.94 inch plate printed with the words: "I've taught my heart the way to prize/My home, sweet home."

I have watched "The Wizard of Oz" more than a dozen times.  I never find it boring. Two of my favorite lines in the movie, "There is no place like home" and "I don't think we are in Kansas anymore" are as meaningful to me today as they were when I first heard them in 1948.  As a four year old,  I understood the love of home with a pure passion.  Now, I just miss my wonderful childhood and family of origin.   I also understood that Dorothy was not in Kansas anymore.  Kansas was in black and white and Oz was in technicolor!  I learned early that life can be viewed in black and white and in technicolor.

You can stop reading here unless you want to know more about the "Wizard of Oz."  As a seven year old, I discovered that my library in Philadelphia had a large collection of Oz books.  I read all of the books in my local library, so the librarian sent a request to the main library for more. I read most of the Oz books by the time I was ten. I think there were 37 or 38 books.  I even bought, with my own money, a few Oz books at Leary's Book Store (a place as magical to me as Oz).  I still have the books.

Cover of the 1900 original edition of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum

Here is the back cover of the book.
I love sharing the movie with my granddaughter.  We have even read the book together.  I shall add that my oldest son was also passionate about the Oz books and the movie.  It just has been a long time since we watched the movie together.

Saturday, February 18, 2017


There is no real transferware connection here (so I added some lovely Japanesque patterns below),  but I wanted to tell you about a poetry reading I attended recently.  Yumiko Tsumura read from her newly published book, "Woman of March."  Every word in each poem left me both wanting to know more about the poet and wanting to know more about myself. I realize that describing a poem is like describing the taste of chocolate. You have to experience it for yourself.  So, here are the first few lines of her poem: "My Pacific War on the Hidaka Plain."

When I was six years old
I ate rice porridge and potato vines
occasionally broiled locusts
and chewed sugar cane
all the flowers were gone
And the last few lines from her poem about her mother, which is titled "Wrinkles."

when lost and tired
I wish I could crawl
in between her soft
wrinkles and

All of the poems in the book make for a poetry memoir.  I recommend that you read it.

Here is the vague transferware connection;  the patterns are Japanesque Aesthetic Movement patterns that were popular at the end of the 19th century.   They are based on motifs taken from Japanese decoration, which became popular following the 1862 International Exhibition in London and the 1867 and 1878 International Exhibits in Paris.  Such decoration remained in vogue for the rest of the 19th century. 

Davenport (1794-1887) pattern "4241" porcelain saucer
W.T.Copeland (& Sons) 1847-1970 pattern "2/2147" or Chrysanthemum pattern plate, ca. 1884.
J. Meir & Son (1837-1897) "Bamboo" 10.25 inch plate.

Maker Unknown Fans and Butterflies pattern 6.75 inch jug, ca. 1880.
Bovey Tracey Potteries (1842-1957) "Fan" 10 inch plate, ca. 1880.

Maker Unknown 9 inch jug in a pattern known as Japanese Vase, ca. 1880.

The transferware is a digression.  Read "Woman of March!"

Friday, February 10, 2017


Josiah Wedgwood (1759-2005) "February."  The pattern was designed by Helen Miles for a series of tiles that were later used as the center of plates with various borders, ca, 1880.  The border is known as "Mikado."  The border was used by Wedgwood for a series of Japanese inspired tiles.  And this series.

February is birthday month in my family: two of my sons and my granddaughter.  We celebrate Jonas' birthday on the 8th, Maya's on the 15th, and David's on the 21st.  We eat a lot of cake.

I thought this would be a good time to show you a few February transferware patterns.

Here is a later rendition of the Wedgwood pattern seen above.  Notice that the "tile" has disappeared from the center.  Obviously, a different border was used too.

This 6.62 inch plate with a molded alphabet border is part of a series of months.  Although each month is printed on the plate and has a scene to match the month, every pattern has the same poem: "Summers (sic) Sun Is Warm And Bright/Winters (sic) Snow Is Cold And White/Autumn Brings Us Sheaves Of Grain/Spring Will Scatter Flowers Again/Pleasant Changes God Arranges All Throughout The Year."  

Beech, Hancock & Co.  (1851-1855) 6.5 inch plate with a molded daisy border.  It is part of "The Seasons" series.  Each plate features a scene that represents the month of the year plus a poem.  Here the words are; "Now vapours gross obscure the air/Or by the northern blast congealed/The trees their hoary honours bear/Or sheets of snow blanch oer (sic) the field."  To me this is pure doggerel!

Scott (1800-1897) 6.5 inch child's plate with a molded daisy border. If you look carefully behind the man's left shoulder and to the right of his head, you will see the two fish that represent the Pisces astrological sign.

The February birthdays need cake.  I meant to take a photo of the chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream frosting and chocolate buttercream filling that took me more than two hours to make, but I forgot!  Here is what's left.  I made it for Jonas' birthday dinner.

Here is what's left of Jonas' birthday cake.  People liked the frosting best. 

One more thing.  Is there a "Happy Birthday" transferware plate?  Yes.

William Hackwood (1827-1843) 7 inch child's plate made for the Dutch market.  The words, translated from the Dutch, mean "Happy Day of your Birth or Happy Birthday."  What a lovely gift for a child's birthday. 

We also have family birthdays in March (two), May, June (four), July, August, September, November (two), December, and January.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


Shell Edge 6.38 inch plate printed with a rooster or cock, ca. 1810.

According to the 12 year cycle of the Chinese zodiac, 2017 is the Year of the Rooster.  The New Year begins on January 28 and lasts until February 15.  As I have mentioned in other *Chinese New Year posts (see below), each animal has symbolic meaning.  The rooster is the symbol of fidelity and punctuality. And more.

The rooster was a popular 19th century transferware pattern.  Here are a few. 

Brown-Westhead, Moore & Co. (1862-1904) "Fables" 9.75 inch plate.  The title refers to the Fables of Jean de la Fontaine (1621-1695).  There are at least 24 different patterns in this series.  

Maker Unknown, 5.5 plate printed with a version of the Fox "Quadrupeds" pattern seen next.  Both are copied from the same source print, which is found the "Cabinet of Quadrupeds" by John Church.

John Hall (& Sons) 1814-1832 "Quadrupeds" undertray, ca. 1825.

"Fox" print (notice that the rooster appears to be warning the farmer that foxes are in the barnyard) from the "Cabinet of Quadrupeds" by John Church, 1805.
Look at the plates above again.  You'll see that the fox in the "Quadrupeds" pattern is not standing on the dead chicken that is found in the source print.  The pattern on the small plate kept the dead chicken.  I think that some potters thought a pattern that included a dead animal might not be appetizing!  By the way, if these patterns look familiar,  you can see them in my post "Recognition of the Familiar and a Transferware Fox."

One more pattern.

Child's jug printed with a rooster.  It is copied from a print by the English engraver and naturalist, Thomas Bewick 1753-1828).

Thomas Bewick's print.

You may wonder why someone who writes about British transferware is writing about Chinese New Year.   Simple.  I like animals and animal patterns.

Chinese Zodiac

If you want to know more about Chinese New Year and the Year of the Rooster, follow this link.

*Here are links to my other Chinese New Year posts.
Dragon For The Chinese New Year
Year Of The Horse
Year Of The Sheep/Goat/Ram
Year Of The Monkey 2016

Sunday, January 29, 2017


Chocolate Dutch Baby with strawberries, blueberries, and powdered sugar.  *I know this plate isn't transferware, so see the bottom of this post.  

Three things were new to me in January 1977: a husband, a kitchen, and a Dutch Baby.  Not a human baby, he came later, but a buttery, fluffy, huge pancake that was gorgeous to look at (for a minute before it deflated) and delicious to eat.  The recipe arrived by mail in the January 1977 issue of Sunset Magazine.  I liked the Dutch Baby so much that I think made it nearly every week for 10 years, and then I didn't.   My kitchen grew old and my children complained.  They wanted meat!  Recently, two things happened.  I remodeled my kitchen!  And, a recipe for a Chocolate Dutch Baby arrived by email from the superb cooking blog, Smitten Kitchen.  I had never thought of adding chocolate to a Dutch Baby. It seemed perfect without it.  But I tried it and loved it, so I thought I'd share the recipe.

Smitten Kitchen's Chocolate Dutch Baby January 17, 2017.  You'll get more information from the link, but I added some of my ideas here.

Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
6 tablespoons (50 grams) all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons (15 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder, any variety, sifted if lumpy.  (I used Peet's unsweetened Dutch Cocoa)
1/2 cup (120ml) milk (I used 1%, but use whole milk if you have it)
4 tablespoons (60 grams) unsalted butter
Shaved dark chocolate and powdered sugar (to finish) I skipped the extra chocolate, but I did use the powdered sugar.
Fresh berries and syrup (to serve, if desired)  I used blueberries and strawberries, but no syrup.

Whisk (I haven't used my circa 1960s whisk in years) eggs, sugar and salt in the bottom of a medium bowl.  I  actually used the largest of my 1970s Pyrex bowls because I am a messy mixer.  Add flour and cocoa, whisking until mostly smooth (some tiny lumps are okay, but whisk out what you can).  Drizzle in milk, whisking the whole time.

Heat a 12-inch ovenproof skillet on the stove over high heat.  Add butter and melt, tipping the pan around so it butters the sides too.  Turn heat off and scrape batter into the pan.  Transfer skillet to the oven and bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until pancake is billowy.

Fluffy in the oven.

Just like my old Dutch Babies, the pancake deflates quickly.



This half of the Dutch Baby held its shape better than the half on the plate at the top of this post.  The plate is decorated with the hand-painted "Valencia" pattern made by Arabia in Finland, ca. 1960.

Here are some of my Chocolate Dutch Baby thoughts.  Despite its sweet sounding name, it is not that sweet.  I suggest using the shaved chocolate and the syrup if you have a sweet tooth.  If you want a light chocolate pancake to enhance you fruit experience (I did), than leave out the extra sweets.

One more thing.  Here is the original Dutch Baby recipe from 1977.   I always tore out my favorite Sunset recipes and put them in a folder.  I am so glad I saved them!

Sunset Magazine, January 1977

Sunset Magazine Dutch Baby
I know it's too small to read, so below I present the recipe for the large version Dutch Baby.   I always made the largest Dutch Baby (there are different sizes).

Heat oven to 425 degrees
Pan Size: 4-1/2 - 5 quarts - I used a 14.5 inch paella pan.
1/2 cup butter
6 eggs
1-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 cups milk

Put the butter in the pan and set in the oven. Mix the batter quickly while the butter melts (I always had the mixture ready before I did this).
Put eggs in a blender, and whirl at high speed for about 1 minute.
With motor running, gradually pour in milk, then slowly add flour, and continue to whirl for about 30 seconds more.  It is so easy to do in a blender!
This is when I put the pan in the oven and melt the butter.  When butter is melted, remove the pan from the oven and pour the batter into the hot melted butter.
Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
Use your favorite topping.  Perhaps chocolate? 

*Actually, I should have plated the Dutch Baby on a transferware plate, but I didn't.  The Dutch Baby would have looked beautiful on any of my transferware plates.  Or yours.