If I could pop into the Tardis, spit myself out of it in 1997 and tell myself that I’d become passionate about handpainted stoneware and porcelain I may well threaten to clock myself round the ear ‘ole with my Pied a Terre strappy sandals and call myself a lunatic. Secretly though, I already rather liked it.
Paintings hung on the wall are the bees knees but a handpainted cup or plate has three dimensions and it has utility aswell as good looks. Fill it with tea or stick a slab of Victoria sandwich on it, add a friend or two and perhaps some knitting and the little painterly flowers become part of something joyous.
Most days I’m a mug fan. None of your teeny cappucino numbers for me, I like a sizeable vessel for my brew and if it holds nearly a pint then so much the better. I have to take my tea upstairs and oversee ‘getting dressed for school’ every weekday morning. Sometimes this is a long and arduous business involving tears about tiny tights – there’s no time for repeated trips to the teapot. I have a thing for these massive teacups. The one below reminds me of feedsack florals. I’d give my eye teeth for a skirt with this design.
I managed to find a 19th C handpainted mug in an antique shop in Pateley Bridge. Joy.
My dear friend Fleur likes gentility when it comes to tea. When she comes round I break out my delicate teacups. I suppose I have a collection. This may seem middle aged and tragic (my 25 year old self is jeering) but a teeny patch of handpainted Spring flowers from the nineteenth century for 50p from a Car Boot sale that you can drink tea from. Erm YES PLEASE. This scenario has occurred several* times leading to a collection of around 5** teacups.
My teacups are singletons – I have no sets. They’re a right jumble and not all have saucers but I admit to fetching them down from their pegs now and again, gazing at the tiny flowers and leaves and swooning a bit. The same applies to my cake plates. These are used more regularly for the homemade biscuit break during each of my workshops. I’m not keen on the idea of ‘looking china’. I prefer ‘drinking and scoffing china’. I like to use it.
Mr M is now used to my odd ways when it comes to old china. He asked me if I wanted an extra birthday present – I directed him to the Foodie Bugle’s electronic pages of joy. They should come with a health/purse warning. Oof.
I suspect I’m not alone with this slightly Granny-ish excitement over bits of painty porcelain. Care to confess?
Planet Penny says
I 'lerve' old china, and have to confess I was younger than 25 when I started collecting it! I have all sorts of bits and pieces, but my favourites are the cups which have been lovingly repaired with metal rivets. They are cheap to buy, but I am fascinated by their history. They must have been so precious to have been repaired this way. I don't suppose they were usable, but must have made a special display on the dresser in the front parlour. We'll never know!
Love your collection, Emma
The Coffee Lady says
I washed all the pictures off mine in the dishwasher.
You can delete me from your life now.
Magic Bean says
Our china is such a mismatch that it gives BigBean a headache.
I can just about cope with the daily morning dressing time- it is the hair-do time which I need the tea for… Ax
Hahaha — I knew that double asterisk behind the 5 meant that you were telling a little fib. Beautiful tea cups and plates! I have a bit of an unhealthy obsession too, although it tends to run in sets. I have 3 ** sets of dishes. ;-D
Old china is my best and my favourite. I have much, a lot of which I try to use regularly. Unfortunately as a non-hot drinks kind of person I don't use the cups so much but sometimes they have to come home with me anyway.
I SO love old/vintage china and am always on the lookout for odd bits and pieces that take my eye. The sheer daintiness of some pieces reminds me that tea used to be a precious commodity, to be savoured and taken from small cups, not swilled down from a mug as I confess I do more often than not!
My granny had some lovely 1930s teaplates. I do love it and yet my china is plain white with the odd bit of Cornishware here and there which I love too.
You are not al one. I LOVE old china and have a massive collection of mismatched bits and pieces as well a couple of entire tea sets. I fear my habit is such that I'm heading into hoarder next door territory. I used to justify it by using as much of it as I could. But it's grown beyond that now, so I've started telling myself it's for the girls – my own collection started with my mum's cast-offs when her collection grew too big.
my gran had the most wonderful collection of tea cups and saucers, none of which matched anything else. I loved it so. I need to start creating my own collection I think x
Corrie Corfield says
Guilty as charged…but I don't use my pretty cups and plates as much as I should. I love mismatched china and mismatched anything really. We're doing up the kitchen in Stratford at the moment & not fitted, non matching is order of the day. I'm taking inspiration from your shelves stocked with beautiful things. Have already shamelessly copied the bone handled knives in a glass look xx
Poppy Black says
I adore my vintage china, and am especially passionate about floral chintz china, and pretty primula designs. Oh and roses, forget me nots, sweetpeas and violets … so so pretty!
I must admit, I do love pretty vintage floral china 🙂 my mr doesn't like 'flowery' pink things so we have more Indian bright prints at our gaff which I love just as much (similar stuff to your beautiful big mug). I really love your collection emma, especially the yellow primrose plate, heavenly 🙂 safxxx
I like big mugs and I cannot lie…
There is something deeply comforting about a big mug of tea that you can cradle in your cold hands, warming you in and out. I have a bit of a mug thing and my collection is ever growing, nicely mis-matched and it makes me rather happy to pick out a different one according to my mood.
It is funny to think how alarmed your 25 year old self might be by your current pleasures but that the fun of getting older and more eccentric:)
Enjoy your beautiful china Emma, small pleasures are the very best x
I love it. Tea tastes better in it, I'm sure of that. It just adds something to the beverage. Plus It has that comfort, big satisfied sigh factor for me. I like it best if it is a little lived in too.
alice c says
I have a china stash. In fact, now that I am facing up to it, I have a china habit. It is possible that it may be a lifelong addiction. Ideally we would have different china for breakfast, lunch and dinner and of course for the weekend. I also think it would be nice if we could have another house where I could have hand thrown pottery. I must speak to the mister.
Ali Ballon says
I have my Grandmother's sideboard which houses my old/vintage china, cutlery and glasses. I particularly like little china jugs, but have all sorts. I also like the old linens, so napkins, table cloths and tray cloths. Just bought two little exquisite cotton cutwork mats at the weekend – not sure where they will go but they were too beautiful to be left behind so they came home with me!
There ought to be a self help group for all us vintage teacup and plate collectors. We could sit around and drink tea from fine china teacups, while secretly admiring the cake plates.
I have mix matched crockery. I have some from my Grandmothers and Great Grandmother. Tea from the garden just tastes so much better when drunk from a vintage teacup.
Emma, I'm another old china fan raising her chipped tea cup. I do like to use some of my old pieces. The items that are really, truly antiques do get a bit more reverence.
It was great fun to see the close up views of some of your beauties! xo
Annie @ knitsofacto says
Of course you're not alone! I'm very picky, but I'll fight to the death on eBay for pieces that I love.
Nothing to do with painted mugs but I just picked some tiny Victorian pudding moulds with a beautiful crackled glaze … perhaps you'll understand their attraction, my family don't sadly!
I confess! I have only two plates and two bone china mugs that match, all the rest are singletons, misfits, but all beautiful and chosen for their beauty.
You are not alone! I had to buy a dresser top to display my collection… it doesn't all fit. But I change it up depending on what I'm eating off, drinking from (and taking photos of!) Lovely pictures, lovely china! x
Carole D says
I love, love, love old china – teacups especially. I have – LOTS of them 🙂 an entire corner cabinet full actually. Hardly any of them match, I like the mismatchedness of them, it's so much more fun. I started out in my teens as a mug collector, but I moved to teacups(and small plates) later. Now, I am headed to my mid-fifties under full steam at this point, but I seem to have passed the bug on to my daughter (16) as an "only" she knows she will inherit my collection at some point – but she already has a sizeable collection of her own. There is no age limit on loving mismatched old china!