Friday, October 7, 2016

Vintage Tea Treasures: An Etsy Shop Update

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Hi friends! Just a quick update on a few of the items recently listed in my new Etsy shop, Vintage Tea Treasures; a four place tea set of Johnson Bros teacups, saucers, and cake plates, a Regency bone china teacup and saucer, and a Gibsons teapot. They are all beautiful, vintage English tea ware.

• The Johnson Bros tea set consists of four teacups, four saucers and four cake plates, all in Johnson's lovely Greydawn color, which is a pastel sky blue.

• The Regency teacup and saucer set both feature a repeated pattern of rose bouquets, and the saucer has understated edge scalloping.

• The Gibsons teapot has a distinctively styled spiral fluted body and lid, with a delicate spray of red lilies on the front and the back.

Both the Regency teacup set and the Gibsons teapot are embellished in gold gilding. 

If you would like to know more about these items, including detailed descriptions, sizes and condition, please visit Vintage Tea Treasures on Etsy! And if you have any questions, I'm happy to help. You can leave a comment here, or in the shop.

Thank you for visiting my shop, and while you're there, I hope you will consider showing Etsy you support Vintage Tea Treasures, by "liking" or "favoriting" an item, or clicking on the 'Favorite shop' button. Thanks again!


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

#collectandstyle - September Monthly Favorite

#collectandstyle September Monthly Favorite, Instagram hashtag challenge #collectandstyle, plum cake, transferware, late summer early autumn plum cake

Greetings #collectandstyle community! Thank you for visiting the Under The Plum Blossom Tree blog. I'm thrilled you are here!

For September's #collectandstyle Monthly Favorite I have a special surprise. This month's favorite image was not only created by my brilliant fellow Instagram friend in the U.K., Madeline Norris (@bymeeni), but Madeline also agreed to share with you, in her own words, the story behind these beautifully styled pieces of transferware from her collection of vintage crockery:

"Over the years I have acquired quite a few pieces of vintage crockery. I’m not quite sure how this collection began but I have always been interested in objects with a history and a story to tell. Some of the items in my collection have been handed down to me and belonged to my grandma and great grandma, other pieces have been gifted to me by friends and family and some things I have bought myself.

I don’t collect a particular make, design, period, or colour of crockery and my collection is quite eclectic. I often look on the bargain shelves, as I don’t mind if something is a bit damaged, in fact this often draws me in. For me this gives the piece more character and I want to give it home and a purpose.

The large blue and white plate that I used for my homemade plum cake in this photo is just such a find. It was in the bargain bucket at a little antique shop that I visited while on holiday last year. I love the crackles in the glaze and it’s signs of use. The white and gold plate is part of a tea set that was my grandma’s and I bought the plate with the rose to add to that set, I like to mix and match.

You will notice in this photo a couple of doilies and these are part of another collection. I started collecting these for use in the textile pieces I design and make but some of them have found their way into my prop box and have become a kind of signature in many of my photos. My family often tease me about my doilies!"

Since connecting with Madeline on Instagram, I have been influenced and inspired by her numerous creative talents, and I'm so happy to be able to share this sample of her work with you. As I have only recently discovered, and come to appreciate, the beauty and history of transferware, it seems fitting to include Madeline's image here, since it was other beautiful photos by her which led me to the discovery of transferware in the first place.

To discover more of Madeline's work, including her Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest accounts, visit her on her blog bymeeni for all the links.

And if you would like to participate in #collectandstyle, click here for all the details.

Thank you for reading, friends!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Vintage Finds: Antique Burgess & Leigh Chinoiserie Revival Indian Tree Platter

Indian Tree pattern, Burgess & Leigh Indian Tree Platter, antique pottery, chinoiserie, Chinoiserie Style, Burgess & Leigh Indian Tree antique transferware, antique transferware, decorated transferware, handpainted transferware, antique handpainted transferware, Indian Tree transferware

Greetings vintage and antique lovers, and welcome to another edition of Vintage Finds! Today, I am pleased to share with you a beautiful antique Burgess & Leigh transferware platter, in the well loved and timeless Indian Tree pattern, that I recently purchased at my favorite charity shop. It was manufactured by Burgess & Leigh in the late 19th or early 20th century, which, as I've mentioned in a previous blogpost, falls within that time period known as the Chinoiserie Revival Period.

The Indian Tree pattern was created by Coalport China in 1801, and, not surprisingly, was one of their most popular patterns. Its distinctive feature is an Asian inspired tree situated in a still life floral setting. The Indian Tree motif has its origins in textiles from India; the typical colors found in this transferware pattern theme were green, blue, pink, and orange, which were often hand painted over a monochrome transferred pattern. Over time Indian Tree earthenware was manufactured by other companies besides Burgess & Leigh, such as J & G Meakin and Johnson Bros, in varying degrees of quality.

If you look closely at the painted colors in this particular platter, you'll notice that the greens are faded and the turquoise is nearly gone, while the pink, red, dark blue and brown have remained quite bright. Furthermore, the glaze on the entire piece is crazed, and a patina continues to weave and wind its way into and onto the aged surface. It is just these qualities that most interest me, and appeal to my curiosity about antiques. They add what feels like a timeless charm, making this piece even more unique, since no two will ever age in exactly the same manner!

And speaking of timeless, that is exactly the right term to describe the tradition of Burgess & Leigh earthenware. Their primary place of manufacture, the Central Pottery, located in the town centre of Burslam, Stoke on Trent, England, began as an earthenwares business in 1851 by a Mr Hulme and a Mr Booth. Although Frederick Rathbone Burgess & William Leigh established a partnership in 1862 which took over Central Pottery's works and changed its name to Burgess & Leigh, 1851 is still considered to be the official establishment of their business.

Various backstamps used from these early beginnings are identified by a 'Burgess & Leigh' inkstamp, while later wares, beginning around 1907, became known as 'Burleighware' (a combination of Burgess and Leigh's names) and were stamped as such. Thus the platter pictured is from Burgess and Leigh's earlier days, between 1862 and 1907.

Here's a detail shot of the backstamp:

Indian Tree, Burgess & Leigh, English pottery, English pottery backstamp
Don't you just love the way the tree branch curls around the names?

In addition to this backstamp, there is an impressed 'B & L England' stamp on the back - another indication that this is a very early 20th century piece.

Over the years there were moves to other facilities (Hill Pottery, followed by another to Middleport Pottery), always improving and refining their crafting of underglaze transfer decorated tableware. And the good news is that Burleigh continue making beautiful English earthenware to this very day, and still at the Middleport Pottery!

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My new platter will join other antique Chinoiserie pieces purchased over the last few months, alongside other vintage items in a more modern style. My plan is to style my c. 1950s James Mont Chinoiserie Limed Oak Hutch with an interesting variety of Asian inspired ceramics and collectables. While researching Burgess & Leigh, I found a very interesting article on the Burleigh website; "Achieving The Dresser Look, The Art Is In The Detail", is a step by step guide on how to style a kitchen dresser (also called a hutch or china cabinet).

And if, like me, you are now hooked on Burleigh, I'd like to share with you a two minute video entitled "Burleigh: handcrafted at Middleport Pottery", from The Story of Burleigh ware, a feature in the culture section of the online magazine Ralph Lauren. Enjoy!


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Under The Plum Blossom Tree Presents: Vintage Tea Treasures - An Etsy Shop

Vintage Tea Treasures, La Marr teapot, Cauldon teacup and saucer set, Maneki-neko, good luck cat, Flow Book For Paper Lovers

Hello everyone - this is my 100th post here on the blog and I have an exciting announcement for you. Under The Plum Blossom Tree now has a vintage teatime china ware shop! "Vintage Tea Treasures" is now open for business. 

Some of you may remember that last spring, Numi Organic Tea sponsored my Instagram hashtag #collectandstyle for the entire month of May. Michelle at Numi Tea graciously donated a box of tea for each of twelve winners, as well as provided a lovely flowering tea set to one lucky winner at the end of the month. Since that sponsorship, I thought it would be fun to expand on the collecting and styling aspect of the hashtag, and offer antique and classic china wares for those of you who love vintage style tea parties and collecting tea ware for styling props. And now that the shop is up and running, I am so happy for you to see the results! 

I've been having a lot of fun searching high and low for unique and beautiful vintage teacup and saucer sets, teapots, cake plates, milk jug and sugar bowl sets, and serving plates to fill out the inventory in my new shop. My goal is providing you with the best quality porcelain and bone china pieces from a bygone era. So far I have in the shop, brand names that you most likely will recognize, such as Wedgwood, Old Royal, and Noritake. I also have many pieces in stock from other companies such as Spode, Royal Vale, and Haviland Limoge, waiting to be listed in the shop.

I'm very excited to be able to share my growing knowledge, expertise and passion for vintage tea ware with you in this new way!  Please join me over on Etsy at Vintage Tea Treasures, and while you are there, don't forget to say hello!


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Camping At Newberry Caldera

Newberry Caldera, East Lake Newberry Caldera, Newberry National Volcanic Monument, volcanic lake

Volcanoes are both scary and fascinating. The thought of being near an exploding volcano is frightening, but as I stood on the floor of Newberry Caldera last week and thought about how this very large caldera was produced as a result of a volcanic eruption 75,000 years ago, my mind was blown away!

Newberry Caldera, in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, is located on the eastern side of the Cascade Mountains in the Deschutes National Forest of Oregon and encompasses 54,822 acres. When Newberry Volcano exploded, the violent eruption produced two lakes - East Lake, pictured above, and Paulina Lake which is about one mile west of East Lake. Newberry Volcano is, to this day, an active volcano with both seismic and geothermal activity! 

Last week our family took great pleasure in escaping city life for a three day camping adventure in this captivating environment. For three days and two nights, we basked in warm sunshine and breathed clean dry air, surrounded by volcanic mountains, a variety of tall conifer trees, clear cool water and a fair amount of wildlife such as birds, mule deer, ground squirrels and chipmunks.

Cinder Hill Campground Newberry National Volcanic Monument, Cinder Hill Campground, Anderson campsite Newberry National Volcanic Monument
Newberry Caldera East Lake, Newberry National Volcanic Monument East Lake, Newberry East Lake
Newberry National Volcanic Monument
Golden Manteld Ground Squirrel Newberry National Volcanic Monument, Chipmunk Newberry National Volcanic Monument, Cinder Hill Campground Newberry National Volcanic Monument
Newberry National Volcanic Monument, camping at Newberry National Volcanic Monument, Cinder Hill Campground Newberry National Volcanic Monument
Map of Newberry National Volcanic Monument, Lakes of Newberry National Volcanic Monument, East Lake Newberry National Volcanic Monument, Paulina Lake Newberry National Volcanic Monument

Our campsite was situated amongst many pine trees and located near the shore of East Lake, in the Cinder Hill Campground. There's about one hundred yards between the camp and the lake, with willow bushes, tall grasses and sandy soil between the two. Of particular interest are the red, white, and black 'cinder bombs', or volcanic pumice rocks, that litter the floor of the caldera:

cinder bombs, volcanic pumice rocks, Newberry National Volcanic Monument volcanic pumice rocks

The campsite had ample room for our three tents and included a large picnic table where we set up the campstove. (That's Jim tending the stove.) There was also a fire pit which we used during the evenings for light, warmth and cooking. 

Newberry National Volcanic Monument Cinder Hill Campground, James Aoyama, James Aoyama at Cinder Hill Campground, James Aoyama at Newberry National Volcanic Monument
Cinder Hill Campground Newberry National Volcanic Monument, Coleman campstove, Coleman Powerhouse 413, campstove cooking

There were also some very simple meals:

camp breakfast, breakfast at Newberry National Volcanic Monument, Cinder Hill Campground camp breakfast, Joe's O's, Joe's O's breakfast cereal

On our one full day in this beautiful wonderland, relaxing and exploring were on the agenda. Audrey relaxed in the sun with a favorite book on the shore of East Lake and took occasional cooling dips in the calm water. Takeo explored the variety of interesting rocks that lay within the waters edge.

Audrey Anderson at Newberry National Volcanic Campground, Audrey Anderson at East Lake Newberry National Volcanic MonumentTakeo Anderson at Newberry National Volcanic Monument, Takeo Anderson at East Lake Newberry National Volcanic Monument

A hike was also a priority and Takeo, Jim and I did just that. We headed straight up the hill from the lake and found an animal trail to follow. We saw ancient volcanic rock formations, skeletal-like dead pine trees, and many new pine trees bursting with cones.

Newberry National Volcanic Monument, East Lake of Newberry National Volcanic Monument, snag at Newverry National Volcanic Monument, pine trees and rocks at Newberry National Volcanic Monument
Newberry National Volcanic Monument, pine cones at Newberry National Volcanic Monument, East Lake forest at Newberry National Volcanic Monument
Newberry National Volcanic Monument, pine cones at Newberry National Volcanic Monument, pine forest at Newberry National Volcanic Monument

It was a great pleasure to be able to sit quietly on the mountainside, soak up the magnificent view, and breathe in the fresh pine scent. To listen, watch, and observe. As I sat watching a flock of Clark's Nutcrackers flitting in and out of a snag (dead tree), communicating through call and response, I thought to myself: these are the moments to live for. 

June Anderson at East Lake of Newberry National Volcanic Monument, June Anderson photographer, June Anderson at Newberry National Volcanic Monument

As is characteristic of all of the National Parks we've visited here in the Western United States, one of Newberry Volcanic Monument's primary missions is its focus on recreation, and that is exactly why our family made the trip. Of course we all understand recreation to mean something we do for fun and is not work. But recreation also refers to a mental or spiritual consolation, or a source of comfort. On each of the two nights we camped, I lay in our tent, looking out its screened window at the silhouette of the trees against the sky at dusk, listening to the quiet stillness of the forest as the last of the evening light faded into darkness. That view and the tranquility of that moment came home with me and still resides in my mind's eye.

"Keep close to Nature's heart. Break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean."
-John Muir

Saturday, August 27, 2016

#collectandstyle - August Monthly Favorite

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Hello #collectandstyle community! Thank you for visiting the Under The Plum Blossom Tree blog. I'm so happy you are here!

Welcome back to another edition of #collectandstyle Monthly Favorite, where at the end of each month, one image from the Instagram hashtag #collectandstyle is featured here on the blog.

Have you had the pleasure of viewing Mayumi Ichiryu's Instagram gallery @atelier_cocon_m? Mayumi is a craft designer who possesses boundless energetic ideas for composition, using a wide variety of antique and vintage items.

Mayumi's use of well-worn backgrounds, coupled with an amazing collection of interesting objects and dried flowers that she crafts into pretty wreaths, contribute to a very unique take on the shabby chic style. As well, her strong pastel color palette provides beautiful harmony and stability to her Instagram feed.

I love the art form of collage, and really enjoy how Mayumi utilized it in the image above, with her creative use of dried hydrangea petals as a 'dress' for her 1950s inspired piece.

Besides creating beautiful images for her own Instagram gallery, Mayumi is also a moderator on Instagram for @tv_retro and @antique_r_us, as well as being a member of #9vaga_members99. You can also find her on her own website,

Thank you for stopping in! If you would like to participate in #collectandstyle, click here for the details. I hope to see you there soon!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Vintage Finds: Antique Brownfield & Son Chinoiserie Revival Pottery

Brownfield & Son, Brownfield & Son dishes

On a recent weekday trip to my favorite downtown charity store, the Assistance League Thrift Shop, I discovered a small box of dishes tucked away on a shelf in the back of the shop. A sign on the box said "Brownfield and Son dishes, pattern number 8909, introduced 1879. Dishes are as found. Use for crafts? Priced as a set, $5.00." I suppose someone who knew anything about antiques would have scooped up the box and happily paid the five dollars.

Not me.

Although I've become quite familiar with the 'vintage scene', and comfortable in my knowledge and expertise in buying pieces that I'm attracted to, I know next to nothing about antiques, so I passed up on the purchase. 

But that evening I found myself thinking about those Brownfield dishes, recalling the pattern, the colors, and the crazing on the glaze. What was especially interesting was the very wide range of wear and use amongst the pieces, from chipped, cracked and color-worn, to almost perfectly preserved, and all had a gorgeous aged patina. Clearly these varying levels of wear show how the items were individually used and cared for during their lifetime over the past century and a half. From a favorite teacup used each and every morning for many years, to the one dinner plate that sat reserved for a special guest, just imagine the stories that each piece could tell!  

As well, I realized that the pattern, with its graceful chrysanthemum-like flowers and the interestingly shaped urn with a depiction of a tiny Asian style building with mountains and a tree in the background, were in fact, the very Chinoiserie style I have recently come to love.

So, when Saturday morning came around, I went back to the shop to see if the box of antique dishes was still there, and if so, that I would buy them. And I did.

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Although the Chinoiserie style was fashionable worldwide during the 17th and early 18th centuries, it fell out of favor by the 1760s. Then in the mid-nineteenth century there was a renewed interest in Asian themed decor, and it has continued in popularity into the modern era.

My 'new' old box of dishes were made during the 19th century revival period of the Chinoiserie style. A few of the pieces are back stamped 'Brownfield & Son, No. 115', and I've been able to confirm that this particular back stamp was used between 1871 and 1891. Each of the pieces has the number '4773' hand painted in red, as well as 'Brownfield' and dates of manufacture impressed into the clay. These dates are 1878, 1879, and 1880.

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Curious to know the history behind these lovely dishes, I did some research, and here's what I found:

According to an 1886 advertising pamphlet, William Brownfield & Son were successful manufacturers of  'Useful and Ornamental Goods in China, Earthenware, Stoneware, Majolica, and Parian'. From about 1850 until 1891, their Cobridge Works factory, at Stoke-on-Trent, England, made these house wares, and employed about 500 men, women, and children.

William Brownfield (1812-73), the son of an earthenware potter, began his own career in earthenware manufacturing at the Cobridge Works pottery factory, which was built in 1808 and located on Waterloo Road. The factory was occupied by a succession of producers over the years, including Brownfield, until November of 1850 when Brownfield started working on his own there, producing his signature earthenwares, blue-printed and iron-stone ware, hand-painted wares, and one of the firm's specialties: moulded stoneware and Parian jugs. In 1871 the business became a partnership, when Brownfield's eldest son, William Etches Brownfield, joined his father. Porcelains were introduced that same year. In 1876 another of Brownfield's sons joined the business. W. Brownfield and Son(s), as it became known, grew into a successful large home and export trade business, with about 600 employees, into the 1880s.

In 1893 Brownfield's Guild Pottery Society Ltd. was formed to carry on the work of William Brownfield, until 1900 when the Cobridge Works was closed down and demolished. The Myott brothers rebuilt on the site in 1901, establishing yet another pottery factory - but that's another story in the great tradition and historical timeline of pottery manufacturing in the United Kingdom!

As mentioned, I've become very fond of the Chinoiserie style and a recent purchase of a c.1950 James Mont Chinoiserie Limed Oak Hutch brought the historic aspects of Asian themed house wares into focus for me. Since then I've been actively researching it, as well as going through my vintage collections looking for similar items with which to style my hutch.

I'm very pleased with the purchase of these historic pieces of Brownfield and Son pottery. These new old dishes will certainly enhance the variety of Chinoiserie style items in my collection, and I look forward to adding my story to such beautiful old relics.

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