Friday, January 11, 2013

Saucer of the New Year

Well, given the infrequency of my saucer postings lately, Dear Reader, I could hardly call this a "Saucer of the Week" post, now could I?


To be honest, the only reason I am beginning the New Year with a saucer post at all is because I was deliciously skewered by fellow-blogger Boxing the Compass in a most-amusing post at the end of December titled "Coming Attractions for 2013!"  Written by a Mr. Yankee Whisky Papa (the putative author of said blog) the post in question provides a tongue-in-cheek preview of what a number of us on the blogosphere will be posting about in 2013.  Reggie was singled out for sorely testing the patience of his readers with rather too many posts about saucers, a theme he was expected by Mr. Whisky Papa to continue throughout the new year.  If you haven't read Boxing the Compass or the post in question already, Dear Reader, I encourage you to click over and give them a gander.  You will thank me, for sure.

So, in tribute to Mr. Whisky Papa's saucy prediction, I am pleased to provide you with yet another saucer post—my first (but decidedly not my last) of the New Year:

Today's featured saucer is a pretty porcelain one lavishly painted with gilt decoration in the classical taste.  I suspect that it is French, and that it was likely made in the first quarter of the nineteenth century.  It is one of a dozen in a coffee service that I own which includes coffee cans (not cups, Dear Reader, but rather cans) that I acquired many years ago from an antiques dealer who has long-since closed up shop.

I am partial to this saucer because the decoration is lovely, and because it—when combined with the coffee can that goes with it—is immensely pleasurable to use for its intended purpose, namely drinking coffee.  Also, it glistens most attractively in the candle light of dinner parties held at Darlington House.

For you see, Dear Reader, the saucers I own are not merely decorative, but utilitarian as well.  Pretty things are made to be used, in my view, and not stored away on a shelf forever out of harm's way.  One only goes around these parts once, so why not make the best of it and use one's pretty things?

Photograph by Boy Fenwick

40 comments:

  1. Ah yes, coffee can – I've not heard that in years. Cups rule, more the pity. A beautifully bright saucer with which to begin the new year and I can well imagine how it catches the candlelight of an evening. How civilized!

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  2. Wait, wait. Reggie Darling, the doyenne of "everything just so," keeps his coffee in a can?

    I'm getting the vapors.

    Meanwhile, expect a note from Main Line Sportsman asking you and your saucers to a bout of sporting clays on the grounds of what is apparently the most ancient of Philadelphia clubs. (Yes, there seem to be men's clubs even in Philadelphia -- who knew?) He promises a grand afternoon, and that none will "go around" more than once.

    Happy New Year.

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    1. Dearest Ancient: No, no, no! One doesn't keep his coffee in a can, one drinks it from a can. All shall be revealed soon enough. I shudder at the thought that one would use one's saucers for shooting practice, but on second thought it is rather delicious, isn't it? RD

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    1. YWP: Understood, and right back at you, Sir! Reggie

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  4. And a glorious saucer it is, too.

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  5. Hello Reggie, It is interesting to see the development of styles as highlighted in your saucer collection. This one features a delicate vine/floral border, although a little more dense than in some earlier examples. The acanthus leaves in the center in form and style acknowledge the heavier style of the Empire/Greek Revival.

    The leaves are beautifully rendered with shading, reminiscent of engravings in architecture books--perhaps those were used as a model.
    --Road to Parnassus

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  6. I was surely channeling my inner Reggie when I was unable to resist an early 19th c cup and saucer last week. Covered in that wonderful old blue and awash with gold, it was the crescent moon in the handle that finally did me in. I look forward to using it for my morning coffee because like you I think beautiful things should be used. Facing the dawn with a gorgeous cup gives the dawn slightly rosier fingers, don't you think.

    Bravo for your saucers. Here's to a life better lived through a gentle appreciation of lovely things.

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  7. Hello Reggie:
    A delightful saucer indeed, but the thought of a glittering coffee service of a dozen, complete with partnering cans [we should certainly never refer to anything else], is truly wonderful. What a joy to see at the completion of a perfect dinner and, most surely, a pleasure to drink from.

    The decoration on the saucer is so delicately and beautifully done and gives it an almost three dimensional quality. How we should love to see it with its can, even though we appreciate that this is beyond the scope of 'saucer of the week' theme!!!!

    We shall now pop over to Mr Yankee Whisky Papa whom we suspect is as in love with your posts as we are. Happy New Year!!!

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  8. I agree with you that pretty things must be used and enjoyed. Every so often, my three year-old daughter and I have a tea party with one of the many antique tea sets I was given by my great grandmother. She and I had many tea parties when I was a child and its truly a joy to continue the tradition.
    Pray tell, what exactly is a "coffee can"? I assume that it has nothing to do with Maxwell House.

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  9. Hi Reggie,
    I was delighted to see another of your beautiful antique saucers, specially one that is familiar to me, but the photo here enhances its beauty.
    The fact is I can't resist antique English porcelain - if it's not too pricy ;) - and I happen to treasure a bute shaped tea cup and saucer, with this gilded motif of acanthus leaves, only the border is different. I take it for early 19th century and English, since I've already seen early Coalport and Grainger Worcester porcelain with the same gilded acanthus leaves.
    I plan to post my cup and saucer in two weeks' time, for a tea event, so you can compare both items then.
    Happy New Year with many other "saucer of the week" posts!

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    1. Hello Maria Andrade: Thank you for your kind words. You may well be correct that my saucer is, in fact, English. I am not knowledgable enought to determine whether it is English or French! Reggie

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  10. I loved the YWP post. A true roast in the most affectionate sense. Please do keep up your saucer posts. As a fellow dish ware lover I really enjoy them. And I agree with you 100% on using our nicest things every day. My mother had many things that sat on shelves and in boxes because they were "too nice to use". Such a waste!
    Bonnie

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  11. A handsome saucer, indeed. I much prefer cans to cups, so a whole set of is worthy of envy, to be sure.

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  12. That devil Maxminimus sent me to Yankee-Whiskey-Papa's where I chuckled about his reference to Reggie's saucer collection. All in good fun, and coming on the heels of your headline "Crackin' Nuts". Yankee-Whiskey-Papa certainly did, that he did.

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    1. Hello Gail: Most amusing, indeed! Thanks, RD

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  13. I love your saucer posts, as I have a weakness for pretty dishes, cups and saucers in particular. This is another lovely example, and I look forward to more in the coming year. Happy New Year to you, Boy and Pompey.

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    1. Thank you, Bitsy Dear -- I hope you are feeling better than when I spoke with you last! We are (now) mostly recovered. Fondly, Reggie

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  14. Reggie you may post about as many saucers as you wish...they are all gorgeous! Cans!

    xoxo
    Karena
    2013 Artists Series

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  15. Even though I've only been a reader for the last year, I think your saucer posts are lovely. The gold acanthus leaves on this saucer are beautiful. I must say, however, that while I come from a tiny outpost in Appalachia, and have acquired a bit of patina in my lifetime, I have yet to hear of a tea cup being called a can. From Reggie we can always learn something new!

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    1. Hello JM: How kind of you to leave such a nice comment. Thank you! RD

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  16. The saucer reminds me of the ones my dear mother collected during my childhood in Grosse Pointe. Unfortunately the staff did not realize their delicacy and most were broken through the years.

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    1. Dear Anon: In the summer of 2011 I interviewed Martha Glass, a collector of ceramics, for New York Social Diary. She has accummuated an enormous collection of fine china and porcelain, with examples spread throughout her lovely UES apartment. As any serious collector will tell you, they do not entrust such objects to the care of domestics, but rather dust and clean them themselves. As Mrs. Glass said to me, "I'd rather have dusty porcelain than broken porcelain!" Reggie

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  17. Happy New Year to you Reggie. Very pleased indeed that you started off with another beauty of a saucer. Do you suppose your saucer is French in origin due to the gilded ring, or is it some other feature that leads you to your conclusion? I own a couple of English saucers from the same period as yours that have this same gilt ring in the middle. Oh, and yes, nothing old or pretty is too precious to be used in my household. Life should be lived as beautifully as possible.

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    1. Dear LizaE -- the only reason I suspect it is French and not English is the complexity of the gilding. It is entirely possible, though, as you suggest, that it may be English. I suspect that you are more knowledgable on this topic than I, so am open to your counsel. Many thanks, Reggie

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    2. Hello Reggie,

      Thanks for taking the time to respond to my question on your saucer's origins.

      I don't know if I'm any more knowledgeable than you on the subject of beautiful ceramics and porcelains, but I do ever so enjoy the sleuthing by comparison and hands-on experience of living and using beautiful things. I believe the decoration on this particular saucer is just as complicated as your beautiful Barr Flight saucers with the central grisaille scenes that you featured earlier in the series. One thing I do know for a fact is that the French and English often copied each others' designs (thread and shell silver cutlery, for example), so it is quite fun to try to unearth such mysteries as which country produced your saucer.

      Looking forward to your cup/can post (oh, what about including a tea bowl too, just to add yet another type of vessel from which to sip one's hot beverage?).

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  18. Stunning saucer. Sort of an acanthus leaf pattern? And would love to see a photo of the coffee can.

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    1. Dear Kathy -- your wish is my command! (Stay tuned...) RD

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  19. Bring me that pug!

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  20. It's stunning--I love it! Can you show us a photo with its can?

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    1. Helly Cynna, thank you, I am planning on a can vs. cup post soon... RD

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  21. Agreed, why collect beautiful things and not use them -they make everyday life so much more enjoyable.

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  22. Dearest Reggie,
    This is a beautiful saucer but my favorite is still the one with the funny urn.
    xoxox
    Camilla

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    1. Dear Sister -- I'm inclined to agree with you! RD

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  23. Hi Reggie, where else could your devoted followers discuss saucers.

    I too, would love to see the can.

    Any snow where you are?

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    1. Hello smr -- thank you, your wish shall be granted shortly. And yes, we've had some snow. It was a lovely white Christmas at Darlington House, followed by several more falls. Although much of it has melted, I understand that we are expecting another snow fall of 4-5 inches in the next few days. Rgds, Reggie

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  24. Please Reggie post a picture of Darlington House in the snow

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  25. Most probably Coalport

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