Sunday, January 17, 2010

Collecting Early English White Ironstone -

Several years ago I happened on an issue of Architectural Digest magazine (January 2005) with a black cupboard filled with early White Ironstone ewers pictured. Stunning! The house being featured was located in the Hamptons. For me - a lover of early English White Ironstone - this was a most dramatic focal point of this room and a perfect way to display such a collection.

I often refer to this and share this magazine with visitors to my booth at the Antiques Shows we participate in. Many think these wonderful pieces from the past only have a place in a country style decor. In fact, the varied shapes - as the patterns of early English White Ironstone are named by their potters - work well in any environment.

They span the spectrum from the ribbed and classical

and those with panels, loops and arches

to those with grain

and grape designs

foliated and my favorites, those from the garden with the embossed flowers found in their prairies, meadows and gardens

Early English White Ironstone dating from the mid 1800's was originally known as the farmer's china - definitely meant to be well used in everyday life. It is a bit overwhelming to realize this and find pieces in remarkably good condition today. And as such, it is collected and cherished and displayed in amazing ways.

Classic simplicity at its best!

It was surprising for me to find White Ironstone on this Architectural Digest cover. More readily are collections found in the pages of magazines such as Country Living -

Usually displayed in old cupboards reminiscent of their original use in those early farm kitchens.

In my personal experiences as a member of WICA - White Ironstone China Association - I have visited the homes of collectors and am always in awe of their collections and their creative manner of displaying these collections. And unlike many antiques and collectibles most often these wonderful pieces from times long ago are being used today as they were meant to be used - not merely sitting on a shelf being admired.

When a visitor to our booth at Antiques Shows admires our display of Early English White Ironstone and expresses a desire for such a collection, I tell them to start with one piece and watch it grow. We have a customer who did just that many years ago. She visits us three times a year when we are participating at the Del Mar Antiques Show and at each visit has purchased just one piece of ironstone to be treasured. With patience and determination she now has a collection to be admired and cherished and enjoyed!

Holly Lane Antiques will be at the Del Mar Antiques Show Del Mar California Booth 820 - January 22 23 24. We would love to have you visit our booth and experience our collection of very special Early English White Ironstone.

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  1. Beautiful blog!! I was just taking photos of my small collection of old ironstone yesterday, for a future post.

  2. Put me in a house of all White Ironstone and I would be one happy gal! Love it! Great blog!