11 June 2007
I collect transferware in many different colors: blue and white, brown, lilac, black, and red. For reasons that I can't explain, it just attracts me like the proverbial moth to a flame. I'm also partial to toiles, so I suspect it's something in the patterns that appeals to me. I started out with blue and white, then moved on to black and white, red and white, and on and on. I love to see all different colors of transferware mixed together on a breakfront, but for some reasons I don't personally display my collection like that. I keep my colors separate.
I never buy new transferware, such as the blue and white reissues from Spode. I only buy antiques. When I started collecting about 15 years ago, you could buy a plate for around $50. Today, that same plate is over $100. Once in Austin at Whit Hanks, an antique mall, a dealer was selling a set of brown and white plates for an insanely cheap price. I purchased it and now it hangs on the wall around a vaisellier that holds blue and white transferware.
I like to collect different pieces besides plates: vegetable dishes, pitchers, meat platters and others. Once in a hurry I put a valuable and gorgeous fruit compote dish in the dishwasher - it disintegrated. I was so furious at myself! To date, my most valuable plate is a yellow and brown color. There's only one though, their price is too high.
Besides transferware I also collect blue and white oriental exportware. I'm no snob about this collection, though. If a new piece is somewhat muted in tone, I'll buy it even if it was produced yesterday. The top picture shows my collection of mulberry transferware on a antique French wine tasting table in my entryhall. I've mixed in some blue and white and a gorgeous lilac hydrangea. You can also see an amethyst crystal next to the transferware. A large selection of design books are stacked all around the table: on chairs, the floor, and in an antique French basket. Dividing the table is a large, old, wooden birdcage. Recently, with the help of Ebay, I've amassed a new collection of Masonware which I'll save for another post. The more the merrier I like to tell myself.