My love of vintage china started with Ethel’s jug. Ethel was my great, Grandma and the jug is the sole survivor of her tea-set. I remember both my Grandma Betty and my mum using the tea-set for afternoon tea. The tea-set was most likely part of a wedding gift to Ethel Spice and Henry Berry when they married in June 1913 in St James Church, Clapton, London. The milk jug dates from around 1913 and is described as Radfordian Ware, made by Samuel Radford Ltd.
The jug is made of a beautiful white porcelain with pretty pink roses and pale sage green swag decoration. The handle was edged in gold but has been care worn over the last 100 years. I’m sure if Ethel’s jug could tell her history it would be a fascinating story.
Inheriting this pretty jug got me thinking. The jug was the only piece remaining of the original tea-set. However I could paint a watercolour of the milk jug placing her in an afternoon tea setting to really do her justice. I love a nice slice of cake and am an avid tea drinker, inheriting my love of tea from Ethel. As I tried to convey the beauty of the porcelain I was inspired to hunt for more beautiful china and the vintage accroutements associated with afternoon tea. I am now building quite a collection of vintage china to paint in a still life setting, always using flowers to enhance the beauty of the porcelain.
I have always been interested in social history and have bought the definitive guide to dating china so I can now find out as much as I can about each piece I buy.
Painting delicate porcelain arranged on a pale white vintage tablecloth is definitely a challenge. How do you convey white porcelain set on a white cloth painted on pale watercolour paper? It’s a real challenge! However I love it! I have become fascinated by very subtle colour changes and the detail in shadows. It is a challenge to make sure the delicacy and lightness of the china shines off the page.
If you have a piece of china that you would like to commission me to paint do get in touch.
I look forward to sharing the story behind the other pieces in my collection in my Blog.