For my birthday in 2010, Big S got me this secondhand set of dishes off of craigslist. I know, totally romantic. But that is just the type of girl that I am. Still get pretty weak in the knees over anything handmade beautiful, especially when it involves porcelain, and had my eye on this set of dishes for a while. I figured that if it was still available by my birthday, then it was meant to be. Adding to this desire, is a pretty intense love of Art Moderne (although, admittedly, this is definitely not the coordinating movement in relation to Little House’s aesthetic, but the heart wants, what the heart wants — I know totally inane and vacuous statement). Anyhoo…on to the point of this little inside post.
The tableware that I have feel in love with is Branksome China. It came along fairly late in 1945, really past the era, but it has the same feeling as a William Morris textile,
a Mucha painting,
or a Mackintosh piece of glass.
Art Moderne is so different than what came before, so much more free than Neoclassicism. It is looser, wilder, and at its heart is the feeling of youth. There’s just a hint of bawdy juvenileness that suits me just fine, and is pretty reflective of my rather impetuous, stick-it-to-the-man, punk with no purpose, nature.
Here is a little background on Branksome China. Ernest Baggaley, a Brit who was trained in Stoke-On-Trent, founded the company. In its heyday, Branksome’s ceramics were bought by Queen Mary and later used on the coronation tour of New Zealand in 1954. Baggaley remained at the helm, until his death in 1987, after which, his wife Elaine ran the factory for the following twenty years. After sixty years of continual operations, the company was on the brink of closure. When along came the Johnsons, Philip and Charlie, who on a fairly educated hunch (and with some pretty heafty potter lineage) took over Branksome and have continued the pottery line ever since. Here are some sweet photos from the Branksome webpage, where you can find all the information written in reference to Branksome China:
The set I received for my birthday, has about 80 pieces, all the pieces are turquoise with a light brown inside, there is a lovely coffee pot, creamer and sugar, here they are:
So all this brings me to the crux of the title. In amongst the wears that were so lovingly purchased for my thirty-seventh birthday, were two little boats. These boats are fairly detailed, but their use really did evade me. Because it is good to find out what the purpose is to an item, and because after all, this Little House deserves more than tchotchkes. After a little sleuthing, I followed the email link on the Branksome webpage. And a couple of days after sending an email, and a couple of photos, I got the answer I was after, straight from Philip Johnson. My little canoes are simply called ‘boat on stand’ and they are for olives and pickles…who’d have thought it?