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, May 25, 2020

Queen Victoria's 201st Birthday

Last year, 2019, was the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria's birth on May 24th.
So this year, on the 201st anniversary of May 24, 1819 I am repeating the post with some additions.

Queen Victoria at age 2 with her mother, the Duchess of Kent...

On May 24, 1819, Victoria was born to the Duke and Duchess of Kent at Kendington Palace, was 5th in line for the throne, and not expected to succeed so many others.
Her father, Prince Edward, and grandfather, King George III, both died the following year, after which her uncle, George IV, acceded to the throne.  She became heir presumptive to her next surviving uncle, William IV, who ruled from 1830. However, he lacked an heir as his four legitimate children died during infancy. 

If you have watched the series Victoria on PBS, you know she had a strict, difficult childhood with lots of intrigue... and if some historians are to believed, some attempts on her life.
The photo above is Victoria at age 18.

Victoria ecame queen in 1837

and married her life-long-love Prince Albert February 10, 1840. 

The couple had 9 children and after Abert's death in 1861, wore black the rest of her life...

below is a famous photo of the aged Queen Victoria, draped as she often was in her wedding veil.

The Victorian era... named for Queen Victoria... has always drawn me... perhaps from the influence of my grandmother Emma Bridgewater with grew up in Leicester during the last of the Victorian era. .. and told me life stories and gifted and/or left me many of her Victorian era treasures... her teapot, teacups and more... 

The small Victoria commemorative tea on the tray in the sunroom was a bit less than I had hoped... but after nursing my husband through his cold, I succumbed to a worse one including a fever. So the last 2 weeks have been pretty difficult.
But I had to commemorate Victoria!

I had planned to share a lot of family things too, but that will be for next post, when I assume we will be recovered!

This is a gorgeous Victorian era art nouveau flow flue and red transferware teapot I  found in an old box while cleaning out an area in the warehouse. I got it in England and shipped it back... arriving just before we moved, so it was packed away during the move.
Not in perfect condition, but I love it! So would Queen Victoria I bet!

The mark identifies it as made by Samuel Johnson, Burslem pottery between 1870-1891.

Victori's portrait by Winterhalter in the Royal Collection Trust, done as a gift for Prince Albert on his 24th birthday...

The Victorian age was a time of expansion of knowledge... in the scieneces, in exploration, and the first Industrial Revolution that overturned an established society and forced it to cope with what it had created...

This is a family piece from my Nana... a Diamond Jubilee teacup from 1897...I treasure it!

The Victorians were great travelers, and enjoyed visiting places and bring back a souvenir. This is a cream and sugar set by Shelley China which is a souvenir of The Old Mint Pevensey, Sussex. It is actually from the Edwardian Era, right after Victoria dies and her son was crowned, but it is little changed from the set I had from 1899.

This is another Imari patterned teacup that was made by Thomas Hughes. The company made the pattern from the 1890s until 1935.

As I have mentioned before, Imari was a popular Victorian pattern derived from the colors of the porcelain from the Imari region of Japan. By the beginning of Victoria's reign they wrer popular, and by the middle of her reign, Imari patterns were the equivalent of a huge design trend. There was always a lot of it on Downton Abbey, close the end of it's peak popularity, and recently on Belgravia as well... as seen by this photo of the Countess of Brockenhurst and Mrs. Trenchard.

This is another pf my family personal treasures from my Nana. This is a 14kt gold love token hair locket given to my grandmother by her sweetheart when she was 18 to 20 in 1889.

Here is the back, where the lock of hair was, covered with a thin slice of rock crysta;. However, my grandmother was a nurse, and told me she had removed the hair several years later because she flet it was unhygienic!
Wish she hadn't but...

The Victorian era is known for it's penchant for decorative overkill... but it didn't begin like that. This pair of sugar tongs is a good representative of the Regency or Georgian, of William period before her reign where things were plainer and more restrained in ornamentation.
That soon changed, didn't it? If it could be ornamented, even the very most workmanlike of items, it was.
And I love it!

These are the 3 Victorian and Edwardian dresses I have left from my grandmother. I am sure I will be sharing more about them sometime. Many other pieces just fell apart.
This is a 2 piece white lace dress, and  3/4 and 1/4 mourning dressses
Mourning was strickly regulated as to what was acceptable, although after Victoria's death in 1901, the rules were relaxed considerably.
One had 3 moths in all black. The next, or 3/4 mourning, one was allowed small spashes of dark colors, preferably purple, another color associated with mourning.
I don't have an example of 1/2 morning... but that was a bit more color or purple and grey added to the black. The the 2/4 mourning as shown here, grey with purple accents.
There were a lot of stricyures about what behaviors were allowed during each period, but I won't go into all that!

Lastly, I have used a Royal Crown Derby spare saucer from the 1890s with a typically Victorian pattern, to hold my "scuffin" of cross between a muffin and a scone for a tea treat. A friend brought us a package from Costco when he ran an errand for kleenex that we had run out of with our colds! Delicious> Cranberry Orange. Hope they have them when we should be able to get back there next week, Lord willing!

What an amzing influence they had on an era!
Happy Birthdy Victoria!

Some interesting articles ...

Queen Victoria's Scrapbook from The Royal Collection Trust:

Who was Queen Victoria? What was her role in the British Empire?  


The exhibit 


Queen Victoria's 200th Birthday: 20 quick fire facts 


Have a lovely cup of tea in her honor!

Thursday, May 21, 2020

INTERNational Tea Day May 21st

April 21st is National Tea Day in the UK....
But today, May 21st is International Tea Day... so I thought I would re-post this...

I love that there are National Days revolving around something I enjoy so much.

A chart of the perfect cuppa from the Royal British Standards Institute...

And Lyons reminds us there are so many ways to drink it... black tea above...

Or maybe this chart from Yorkshire tea... :)

Some of these made me giggle...

So, what ever time it is... it's Time For Tea!

The coronavirus has changed activities for National Tea Day, but they substituted virtual "teality" tea parties. The day has a website, and you can see more of the activities online and on Facebook...

So... with my Rosina teacup....wishing you a Happy Tea Day!

Monday, May 18, 2020

The Joy Of My Garden Flowers, Shelley Dainty Shape and Shortbread For Teatime

I hope you are doing well in this new era of changing life, social distancing and isolating...

I am grateful for the beautiful plants in our very small garden... at least... when the pollen isn't too bad, I can enjoy them... like the Lilac bush...

And inside, I can enjoy a garden in my hands in the form of a lovely teacup... and Shelley has always been my favorite. The above is a pattern I haven't pinned down the name for...
Dainty shape is the favorite Shelley shape of a lot of folks...
The Dainty shape was first used by Shelley in 1896, and was in continuous production until the pottery closed in 1966.

Rhododendrons are blooming in the garden, and lots of flowers are always present in Shelley teacups...

This is the Begonia pattern, made throughout Shelley's history...

This is the Celandine pattern. Shelley used most of the patterns on several of their shapes, so it is found, as most of their patterns are, on several different shapes, which is fun... some Shelley collectors go for collections of shapes, some for collections of patterns...

One of Shelley's most popular patterns over the years was the Rosebud chintz, which was most popular in the Dainty shape, although also used on other shapes...

Syringa is a pattern that was only used between 1960-1966, in the latter years of the pottery...

My favorite groundcover, blue flowered Lithodora by my Japanese Maple

The Violets pattern is not so easily located. Love the lavender trim...

Blue Rock pattern was especially successful for Shelley in the 1950s...

And it is fun to find various pieces of the tea and dinner service, like the tennis, buffet, tea and toast set above...
the pattern was made in several shapes...

More of my Rhododendrons.....

The Dainty Primrose pattern...

Shelley Dainty Rose Spray... which was also marked as Bridal Rose with some design releases...

Shelley Rose and Red Daisy... another popular pattern, especially in the 1950s.

I have always been surprised that the Shelley chintz patterns were never popular on the Dainty shape, and so with a marketing decision, they weren't made often.

And a tray with Dainty Rosebud, Dainty Blue, Dainty Shamrock, Dainty Polka Dot... and a green and gold Snow Crystals I have been looking for a saucer for for 10 years!
This is just a smattering of patterns on the Dainty shape I happen to have on hand at the moment, but there are many, many more!

While I was looking for a Shortbread recipe to share, I found this Afternoon Tea book by Michael Smith from 1986 that I had lost in the back of my tea recipe bookshelf. There is a Walnut Shortbread recipe which is very good and easy I'd like to share....

The pastry is soft and must be handled with care.  It can be made in a food processor, although I didn't this time, using the all-in-one method. 

Walnut (or Pecan) Shortbread

2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup finely crushed walnuts (I prefer Pecans actually)
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
generous 1/2 cup confectioner's (powdered sugar)
2 small egg yolks..or egg substitute
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Sift the flour and crushed nuts together into a bowl.  Make a well in the center. Mix the softened butter to a paste with the sugar and egg yolks and place in the well.  Gradually draw the flour into the center and mix into the butter forming a soft dough. Roll out on a floured board approximately 1/8 inch thick and cut into 2 inch squares, and transfer carefully to baking pan.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Makes 16-20 shortbread biscuits. There are not too sweet, perfect with a cup of tea.
Definitely an go-to oft repeated recipe.

On another recipe. I found a suggestion for making it Chai Shortbread... which I have also made...

Chai Spice Tea Shortbread

2 tablespoons loose chai tea, or from approximately 6 tea bags.
Pulse together the tea with the flour and sugar in a food processor just until the tea is in small pieces and evenly distributed thoughout the flour.
Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and 1 tsp of water.
Continue as instructed above.

That certainly seems simple and doable enough, and fun to have options!


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