I find peculiar satisfaction in old stuff. Anyone who's been reading The Blog for a while is entirely too familiar with the couches and trays and furnitures that belonged to my Grandmother and now reside in my lounge - some call it too tight to fork out for new stuff - I call it filling my home with antiques (or "recycling" when I'm in an environmentally friendly mood - you see now I want to expand on being in an environmentally friendly mood and move that into a call for a No F*rting Day (and add a few jokes about hubby exploding). But NO. That would be Crass. I am writing about Old).
*I'll note for the purists that the company was originally named Wileman and it became Shelley China in 1910.
Because it is hand painted, if you look closely there are spots where the gold guilding has missed a bit, or a delicate dot is slightly off line. This is what makes me love these cups the most. The mistakes. I think about the artist working in the factory a hundred years ago and wonder what they were thinking, or if they were chatting. Is that dot out of line because they were distracted, upset, excited, tired. Did they mutter a curse, but decide to leave the mistake anyway, or simply not care less. Who was `x`?
The other thing that charms me is wear on the guilding in the centre of the cup, where a teaspoon has gone around and around. Who held that teaspoon? What was her life like (I always assume her)? This cup has survived two world wars, imagine the things its seen and the experiences of the people who's fingers wore away the guild on the handle.
I also wonder where the cup will go next. This one, I think, may become an heirloom, and maybe it'll be passed from my daughters children to their children. Perhaps one of them will break it and have to keep the accident a secret so she doesn't upset her mother. Now that would amuse me.
I'm not one for locking treasures away. My teacups are here to be used and I am quite resigned to them breaking. The dresser in my kitchen looks like this... (sorry the light is awful for photography today)
Of course my girls have their own favourites - and this is one of the main reasons I started collecting in the first place - so that as they grow up we have a firmly established tradition of drinking tea together and talking, the cups are just an excuse to do it really. Hubby has his own cups as well, less lavishly decorated, but still sleek and beautiful.
So yes. Old. My Teacups. There you have it.