I Spy: TeaWares and AnTeaques

The collector’s creed must include a portion about field research. We can look at pictures in books or online until we are salivating all over the keyboard, but nothing compares to physical examination of the objects of our affections. Today, I am introducing a new prompt series to document the items I find during my anteaquing travels. The journey helps me learn many things: size, decoration, markings, pricing, etc. For the most part, the items I feature will be part of those I left behind – the items I did not purchase. The only reason for this designation is that those items I do purchase will be featured in a future post.

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For our first foray in the wonderful world of tea collectibles, I walked through an antique mall in the central region of the country. The only reason I see the regional location as important is due to the pricing of items. Prices can vary greatly from region to region. Now, on our way!

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This first adorable teapot is a lovely example of improvised repair. A Japanese lusterware teapot from the first half of the 20th century, marked on the bottom with “Japan.” As of yet, I do not own a proper Japanese lusterware teapot, and it is on my ‘to-buy’ list, but as lovely as this little affordable beauty may be, closer inspection will discover that the literal gem at the top is a repair. I will admit – a very cute repair, and if you only collect for color, or theme in the room, this repair is quite acceptable. If, however, you collect items that are in reasonably original condition, with very little damage, you would have to walk on by.

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This next group was very tempting as they were full size Sadler teapots, not the miniature versions that we see more frequently in the states. Varieties seen here: Piccadilly, London/Guardsmen, Big Ben. The jury is still out on these, and if I go back and they are still there, I may grab a couple….at $10-$12 they’re a steal…but I have a low tolerance for cutesy. They are obviously current examples of touristware…manufactured in large quantities to appeal to the tourist, with little thought given to classic design. They are travel teapots, and probably not seen in the homes of most Britains. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Sadler teapots, but this is just too much pandering for my taste. If you want to get an idea of the number of these types of teapots out there, just do a quick search on Ebay. Again, they are in perfect condition, and at least half the price you see online, so, hmmmm, maybe I should go get them…but I would feel guilty. I would probably only buy these for resale at a later date. Good heavens…I’m a collector, not a purveyor of teawares! Then again, how does one fund a rather expensive collecting hobby? Decisions, decisions…

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Dragonware from Japan: This set is quite stunning. If I had more room for full sets like this one, I might have been tempted. All I can say is that it is a brown glaze figural set from the 20th century, marked “Japan”. As you can see from the bottom, it is also made of red clay, or redware. Very nice for steeping temps. If you like dragons, this would be a great find!

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Our last find for today’s post: a mid-century teapot made by the Hall company. What I learned from this teapot: these are a tad larger than I envisioned when seeing them for sale online. Also, considering the wear damage, I’m thinking this price was a little high. If the gilt had been perfect, the price would have been much higher, but the amount of wear is extreme in my book. Nevertheless, it still reminds me why Hall teapots are the bomb…totally love their durable quality and sleek designs! Plus, they made plenty to go around.

That’s it for my finds today…stay tuned for more “I Spy” segments as I shop shop shop, and learn, learn, learn!

Teacup Eggstravaganza

Today, we’re going to feature EGGS, and, you guessed it: Teacups! Spring, with its little sister, Easter, provides some of my favorite opportunities for decorating around the house. Flowers come inside, chasing away the gloom of winter, and my tea wares switch over from darker hues to pastels. When Easter gets a little closer, my set of colored marble eggs makes an appearance wherever I need a spot of color. Since tea has become the newest guiding force in my house, teacups naturally welcomed these beauties…in ways that ensure they will make repeated appearances every year from this moment on!

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This firstĀ little gem is a 20th century version of Pink Splatter Lusterware. The popularity of this type of china has survived centuries, but was still being made as late as the mid 1900s. Mine is one of the more recent creations from England: Gray’s Pottery, Stoke-On-Trent. Note the contrast of the plastic grass in the white china with pink surroundings. Simple, inexpensive, and a bit retro since we all grew up with this look in our Easter baskets!

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Of course, nothing says “spring” like Wedgwood Jasperware – in PINK! One of my absolute favorite teacups, no matter the season. Again, not a very old tea cup, rather, a more recent mid-century Wedgwood.

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A side addiction that has developed out of my tea addiction is 18th century antiques. This one was sold to me as a “Chinese Export” piece from the late 1790s. Could be…I’m not an expert on collecting 18th century wares just yet, but I’m starting to see the difference when examining closely and holding in my hands. They say the best way to learn about antiques is from an up close and personal examination – as frequently as possible.

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Another 18th century beauty, of the “Famille Rose” variety. This describes the motif choices applied to the porcelain in the form of pink dominant enamel.

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This is a close-up of the beautiful, and delicate, detailing inside another 18th century tea cup, or bowl.

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And now for an alternative to the green nesting material used in some of the previous pictures. Honestly, any dried herb will work here, but this little white flower provides just the right accent and cushion for the egg – or the cup/bowl – I admit, the marble eggs make me a tad nervous with delicate 18th century porcelain. Dried chamomile, or better yet, roman chamomile would compliment beautifully. Since we already make tea from chamomile, the imagery would have a lovely double meaning. I also believe that the natural look is more fitting with the 18th century tea bowls. After all, why not try something that would befit an 18th century retro look…at least retro for those from the 19th and 18th centuries! Happy Easter, my Tea Lovelies!