18 January 2012

Warming Up to Winter with Olde Avesbury

The weather in our part of the world has been so benign, so magnificent, for so long that the onset of Winter which surprises us now in mid-January comes as a big-fat shock. Looking at the leaden sky, we wonder when it will be sunny and warm again (weather pundits say at least a week, egad)... so to brighten the day and take our minds off of the impending storms, we dove into the teaware cabinet and brought out this warmly colorful cup and saucer: Royal Crown Derby's unabashedly over-the-top Olde Avesbury. Such a riot of color and pattern! What do you suppose was the impetus, in Stoke-on-Trent of 1932, for this unbridled outburst of hue and rhythm? The good folks of RCD say that it was an embroidery that was the inspiration for the design (which, by the way, is sometimes referred to as Olde Aves). Well gosh, if looking at fine needlework can bring them to such heights of passion... that's pretty impressive. Still more impressive is the fact that they still produce this pattern.

Over a reddish-brown transfer design, an abundance of pine green and chocolate brown enamels have been slathered to highlight the vegetation; more delicate applications of reds-to-purples, even a dash of blue, bring out the various birds in the design, which include pheasants ("cockatrices"), parrot-like birds, even a tiny robin or wren. Wisteria and roses add to the fabulousness of the scenes... sigh.

Trixie and I are playing that favorite of Tea Person's games, What to Serve on This Dish -- I just love to play this! Though dear Trix, resident Tea Maiden and ruler of the hearth, usually holds sway when it comes down to actually cooking the stuff.

No other pottery has made anything quite like Olde Avesbury... though there are other patterns that fall into this exhuberantly-avian category, such as Minton(s) Pink Cockatrice, or Asiatic Pheasants by Burleigh.

Back to RCD for a moment, since we are entering HM Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee year: if you click through this link you can see what RCD is offering in the way of collectibles for the occasion, which we think are mighty fine, possibly the best commemoratives out there. {If you are lucky enough to acquire any such baubles, would you let us feature them, here, on our weblog? Gratitude in profusion will pour forth...}

Bundling ourselves against the cold and rain (and rain and rain, and more rain still), Trix and I send our very warmest New Year greetings and best wishes for all of your 2012 teatimes,
xo, Dustin