A Message from Ruth at Antiques And Teacups

Welcome to the blog of Antiques And Teacups! Let's share a cup of tea and talk about the things we love...like teacups, antiques, collectibles, visiting England, antiquing and learning about victoriana and quirky gadgets. Fun!

Monday, January 27, 2020

January Hot Tea Month Winding Down, Story Of Blue Willow

January is close to ending, and the official Hot Tea Month is ending...
but not in this house!

On Saturday, for Chinese Lunar New year, I had a small tea to celebrate with a new teacup and some Chinese Almond cookies from the shop... along with green tea.

The teacup is a pretty and unusual Blue Willow variation... because it is pink!

The teacup is by Royal Albert, England from the 1930s according to the mark.

The funny thing to me, is that the pattern name is Mikado, which is a Japanese term, but the pattern is a Willow design, which had it's origin in China.

Do you know the Willow legend behind the pattern?
The history of the pattern, Blue Willow and all it's variations goes much farther back...actually the 1770s.  Blue Willow comes from a Chinese legend of 2 lovers, forbidden to marry who elope and are chased by the emperor. At the end, the boy is killed defending his fiance and the girl commits suicide. Sigh...not too cheerful.  There are some elements that usually turn up are the bridge they crossed to elude pursuers...often with the lovers or with 3 people being variously the lovers and a helper or the lovers and the emperor, a house they took refuge in and always includes 2 birds, doves flying together representing the 2 lovers which has become a symbol of undying love.

gif from Dallas Art Dealers Assoc

Willow comes in many colors with varying names...Willow, Old Willow, Red, Blue and Green Willow, as well as polychrome...or more than one color...versions...all basically have a pagoda, a bridge and 2 birds...this rhyme...one of many...tells the story...

Two big birds flying high
a little ship, passing by
three men standing on the shore,
a willow tree hanging o'er
an idle temple, there it stands
it wasn't built without hands,
an orange tree with oranges on,
and iron railings right along.
author unknown...1798

The Chinese Almond cookies are a favorite, as I love almond flavor. I found several recipes online to make them, but I didn't have to time with a spate of doctors, labs and pharmacies for my husband and annual tests this week. Ah... the New Year! 

During a tea time this week, I came across this enjoyable and informative book on my bookshelf...
Christie's Teapots...

Each page has another featured teapot of historical significance in the history of tea and teapots....

The book is very interesting and a great read, in short info bytes... perfect for a read while having an afternoon cup of tea...

Monday, January 20, 2020

January Joys

January continues, and it is always interesting!

January 25th is the date of this year's Martin Luther King Day... a man who contributed so much to our nation.

On a different continent, Robert Burns is celebrated on January 25th, the poet and author's birthday with Burns Night suppers.

And an excuse to celebrate all things plaid or tartan... including this cute Scotty dog tea cozy...

Tartan items have always been collected, and were all the rage in the Victorian era, as Queen Victorian and Prince Albert loved them...

And we do love plaids and tartans even today!
The next photo is from Victoria magazine

January 25th is also the Lunar New Year in Asian areas...

And 2020 is the year of the Rat. I tried to find something with a rat, and the closest I could find was a teacup with one of the mice from Brambly Hedge from Jill Barklem!

So, whatever you are celebrating this week, enjoy it with a cup of tea! It's still Hot Tea Month!

Monday, January 13, 2020

January Things, Country Diary, Open Salts

Well, nearly the last of the Christmas goodies...

My Emma Bridgewater Robin in a Snow Storm mug will be around for a few more months before hiding in the closet for a few months.
It was a gift a few years ago, and we LOVE English Robins!

This is an annual holiday addition to the house... Walker's Ginger Royals Shortbread.We love shortbread, dark chocolate and ginger, so... a winner!

They are a bit rich, so good thing we usually only get them this time of year!

And I haven't shared from Country Diary Of An Edwardian Lady yet this month...

I love the January page with the Blue Tits... another favorite English bird...

Lately I have been getting to, listing and selling quite a few open salts, salt cellars or salt dishes lately on Antiques And Teacups

So...where do you park you chewing gum at night?????
Your rings bedside?
Your teabag in the kitchen???

If you are looking for a stylish receptacle, try an antique open salt, salt dip or salt cellar. This little cutie above is from Canada, or so the authors of the great open salt reference book 5,000 Open Salts: A Collector's Guide by Wm Heacock and Patricia Johnson inform us. This little salt was made around 1900. Cute for being so old...and in great shape, too!!! I should be in such shape at over 100 years old!!!

This is a great reference book, and it is almost impossible to find such comprehensive information online, so good, old style guides are a must really!

I've been talking and answering questions about affordable collectibles lately, and open salts definitely fit that category. They are small, still practical and useable and pretty affordable as collections go. The above pair of luster oval open salts is from Noritake, Japan from the 1930s...

Open salts really came into their own during the Victorian era, when gadgets and accessories were all the rage. This set of cut glass salts dates to 1920s, and are considered art deco...

This set above is an English Victorian era cut crystal set we recently sold...

This blue and white Blue Onion porcelain double salt is from the 1940s and comes from Czechoslovakia...
And that is part of the fun of open salts, because they have been made in almost every material imagineable... from rock crystal, cut glass and moded or pressed glass to wood, hotn, all metals, pottery, and basically, you name a material, there was an open salt made!

And lots of fun figural salts... like this Bird And Berry which was made by McKee Glass in the 1890s, and then reproduced in the 1960s from the same molds. The only way you can tell, is by the colors basically.

Lots of various transferware patterns as well. Almost all complete dinner sets from the late Victorian era until the 1940s included open salts.

Open salts were also popular in combinations of materials... like this 1930s Arr Deco set with cobalt glass liners and silver plated holders I recently sold.

Anyway, open salts can be used as a place to park your gum, a place for your rings or for a bit of sauce at the dinner table. They also make great teabag holders. As I'm a fan of tea, that's a definite plus!

Hope you are enjoying Hot Tea Month! I am, but that's nothing new!
Raising a cuppa!

Monday, January 6, 2020

Ecclefechan Tarts Epiphany Twelfth Night And Other Things

Oh goodness, but it is January...
 and that means...
Official Hot Tea Month!

But then, it always is around here!

And are you still finishing up Christmas goodies? Because we are!

Afternoon tea today, on Sunday Twelfth Night, is just such a tea!

The Twelve Days of Christmas starts with the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day and ends on the twelfth day after, representing how long it took for the wisemen to reach the stable...
above is a stained hlass window by Burne-Jones titled Twelfth Night at Winchester Cathedral...

Well, I am sure you know it well, have heard it often and sung it a few times in the last few weeks!

My tea started with a gift book, The Twelve Teas Of Christmas by Emilie Barnes with illustrations by Sandi Lynham Clough...
a wonderful book with how to prepare for the teas, history around the teas and lots of wonderful recipes, all augmented by the wonderful tea themes illustrations.
A feat in all senses!

Add to that an Emma Bridgewater mug of a pair, a gift last year, illustrating the carol We Three Kings...

Even the box is cute!

Perfect for Epiphany on January 6th...

And our goodies are Ecclefechan Tarts aka Ecclefechan Butter Tarts or Border tarts... which hail from the Borders... between Scotland and England.
They are sort of like a mince pie, but I have always liked them better.
As with everyhting, I used to make them, but know prefer to buy a pack of Walker's with their shortbread crust...

They are often connected to the Scottish tradition of the New Year 3 day Hogmanay... some say because they go so well with a dram of whiskey!

Ecclefechan is in Scotland, actually not far from that famous placed, beloved of all historical romances... Gretna Green... where you used to be able to be wed by a blacksmith, across the anvil as soon as you arrived, as long as both parties said they were agreeable. Often provided was a bedroom next door....
No banns, so questions asked!

I couldn't find a good small tart recipe for the US, but did find this recipe for an entire tart on Epicurious... link below the photo...

Recipe link on Epicurious: 

Wishing you a wonderful week... with more goodies to be finished this week! What a shame!!!   :)


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