May 6, 2014

Adding to My Collection: From England To Galveston

Today I spent most of my morning walking around one of Galveston's tourist areas delivering TEAinTEXAS magazines to some of the advertisers and businesses who distribute it. One of the stops was at Collector's Gallery, an antique shop with nearly something for everyone ... or at least for every one who loves old treasures.

After finding a few bookselves of books and perusing (all while willing myself not to sit on the floor and make myself comfortable), I wandered about a found the glassware and china. Of course, I was drawn to the teacups and teapots. Oh, I could've stayed there for days, but I was on a schedule and quickly fell in love with this pink Willow Allerton cup and saucer.

I love the pictorial design that wraps all around the cup. Unlike some collectors, I'm not particular about finding rare pieces, or imperfection-free pieces, or even matching pieces, some times. I really enjoy searching for teacups (and sometimes teapots) and finding one that calls my name or catches my eye. I try to never go into an antique store looking for a particular piece, color or brand, though sometimes I will be a specific item like teacup or lone saucers (they need some extra love) or a teapot.
When researching the willow pattern, I found that it was later accompanied by a fable believed to have been created as a marketing ploy to boost sales, which of course intrigued me as a marketing professional. The story goes ...
The Romantic Fable: Once there was a wealthy Mandarin, who had a beautiful daughter (Koong-se). She had fallen in love with her father's humble accounting assistant (Chang), angering her father. (It was inappropriate for them to marry due to their difference in social class.) He dismissed the young man and built a high fence around his house to keep the lovers apart. The Mandarin was planning for his daughter to marry a powerful Duke. The Duke arrived by boat to claim his bride, bearing a box of jewels as a gift. The wedding was to take place on the day the blossom fell from the willow tree.
On the eve of the daughter's wedding to the Duke, the young accountant, disguised as a servant, slipped into the palace unnoticed. As the lovers escaped with the jewels, the alarm was raised. They ran over a bridge, chased by the Mandarin, whip in hand. They eventually escaped on the Duke's ship to the safety of a secluded island, where they lived happily for years. But one day, the Duke learned of their refuge. Hungry for revenge, he sent soldiers, who captured the lovers and put them to death. The gods, moved by their plight, transformed the lovers into a pair of doves (possibly a later addition to the tale, since the birds do not appear on the earliest willow pattern plates).

After a little bit of searching, I learned that the designer Allerton's had several different stamps, varying over the years, with one of the plate being a later stamp. I couldn't find any reference to the one of the cup, but it is interesting. Many china companies replicated the Willow pattern, in the original color of blue as well as pink, green and brown. This cup is considered pink, not red.

Bonus: This is a photo of some of the books!!

Until our next cup of tea ...

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