Thursday, November 12, 2015

Canary Lustre - Part Three - "These Days... Darlings"

Canary Lustre

Part Three

"These Days... Darlings"

            It; “old” ...Transferware... Canary (lustre) “china”, is
            “Certainly NOT!”
            In any way
            At all...
            From the New England antiquarian’s vantage...
            “Of bad taste”.
            This is the confusion of this point?
            Pretty much.
            And also oddly...
            This includes the “lustre” (“luster”) too for
            With this “these” (transferware canary) one does find lustre applied
            By hand (painted); usually “banding”.

            Now-then... the this third confusion dissected:
            “Isn’t transferware nice” is the setting and
            It is
            But this essay is not about “nice”... transferware.
            Transfers are, actually, a decorative expedient that allowed for
            Quicker... cheaper... decoration of the... canary yellow field earthenware blank.
            A transfer is a decal... snipped by... and applied by... from a sheet
            Of same; “Use ALL of the transfers on one sheet before starting
            The next sheet”.
            Snip, snip, snip and then
            Break for lunch.

            The lustre decorative banding is applied at the ‘finish’; after the transfer has been
            To the blank.
            Not much to it (actual lustre paint)... as hand painted decoration... when ‘compared’
            To the vibrant hand painted ‘mantel china’.  Does that explain that?
            Not quite but... well... the etiquette is that one is ‘ok’ having a transferware canary specimen if it is ‘slipped in’ amongst the ‘a good one’ (hand painted Canary).  That means the transfer canary MAY be included in the collection TOO but ... the one who knows... knows... too... ‘only after’ the vibrant hand painted Canary is “already there”.
            More confusion... allowing for bad taste found in the midst of good taste?  I suppose it “seems so”.  It will take a while for one to, with china-on-mantel, “get this far” (with ones collection) that the taste-tweak among one’s Canary on the Mantel ‘is needed’.  One CAN get that far with this... and if you do you will know... “raw-exactly”... what I am speaking of.
            Subtle and sophisticated it is... over decades ‘of collecting’.

            To make this even more:  Transfer canary is found on traditional yellow blanks such as tea service ..ware.  But...:  It is MOST COMMONLY FOUND on the yellow (mold cast) blanks (with ‘applied handles’) known generally amongst antiquarians as “Child’s”... “Mugs”.  This is flawlessly important to understand for this is the... principal form... of Transferware Canary Lustre (soft paste earthenware) one is going to ... “SEE”, “FIND”, “HAVE”, “KEEP” and/or the “SEE” of each of those TOO.  For example one will ‘see’ a child’s mug being ‘keep’.  Understand that a ‘canary’ ‘child’s mug’ is a ‘your’ best chance of ‘find’ of all of this Canary china... on any given day
            In any given way.

            Stop ...a moment... and get.... this... clear.  I am writing before you of a good taste etiquette of old New England domestic china.  I have presented a rather well ‘not known’ form; “Canary” “Soft Paste”, hand paint decorated... as being an obscure ‘best’ on the mantels of old (school) New England décor (“off to the side”).  Now I am coming back in writing by introducing the “OF VERY GOOD TASTE” canary soft paste transferware child’s mug BUT I am qualifying that by saying that these delightful and charming mugs are steps down in decorum and ...taste... due to their actual design features... when stood up against the hand painted.  SO.... I am knit (nit) picking among a very high order of ...very good... ‘in very good taste’ too... old New England ‘china’.  I say right here that this I am writing of... NEEDS to be understood if one is to be truly participating ‘of this’ sophisticated  New England domestic china taste.  IF... this is ‘seems lost’ on one... then one... may be better off pushing a shopping cart around a home décor box store and ‘going that way’ and... LEAVING THIS to the ‘that’ (New England decorative arts)... “I care about”.  AND... that is what happens ANYWAY... with or without YOU.

            Back to the expostulation.  The mugs are, in design, less art crafted.  They, too, are plentiful... actually abundant...:  They were popular when made, popular ever after, preserved, protected, collected and today... commercially ‘around’.  They are wonderful but they are too... a few steps down the ladder; their decoration is an applied pre-made decal.  That is the third point of confusion;  applied decal transfer or hand painted decoration.  Notice the difference.  “I do”.

            A little more about Canary... Lustre... transferware child’s mugs.  Age:  the early ones are best; the ‘egg shell’ fine mold casting as apposed to the heavier ‘later’ (1830) ones.  Form:  Early cylinder ‘egg shell’ as opposed to the later ‘coffee mug feel’.  Transfer; rust-red is best with black an ‘okay’ and other colors mostly ‘no’.  Rust-Red on a large, detailed, crisp transfer Canary mug:  “Nice”.  No lustre... just rust-red... is ‘best’ That is ‘earlier’.  And:  Not too many in one’s ‘my collection’; be very... very selective.  And again understand; these Canary mugs are considered to be VERY GOOD TASTE.  They ‘are on the cover of the book’ grade.  ONE (a single specimen) is FINE as a whole collection.  KNOWING all this ‘when you see it’ IS just FINE...  as a whole collection.  All of this is NOT easy to see.  When one ‘knows’ one WILL KNOW when one is “SEEING IT”.  IF... one finds self before “Canary”... on the mantel (in an old New England home)... KNOW IT... and show your... good taste.

            Some bad taste?  FRENCH soft paste has ‘Canary’ too.  It is not the same.  Usually it is Empire (Josephine) Style in black transfer.  Very Empire in style.  If one knows that, this is denoted in seconds of a glance.  What makes that easier?
            This is really cool.

            In Old New England a ‘foreign made’ (not English) stands right out.  Due to scarcity... of the English made ware.  The English antiquarians do not and never did like the Canary hand painted ‘china’.  Nope.  “NOT” their “TASTE”.  So don’t go looking for it in their reference books.  It... is what they consider (title) “Peasant Pottery”.  ‘For the lower classes’.  And “America”.  So... ‘only in New England’.  Take that you nasty mantel decorating Yankees.  Just as the English abhor the New England ‘taste’ for their ‘dark blue’ (Staffordshire Transferware) they too... abhor “Canary”.  But with Canary... one finds the English mentioning... nothing about it at all.  It IS the swept under the carpet of peasant pottery ‘old New England’.  That’s right; peasant pottery and... one is lucky to SEE even a Canary child’s mug “For A Good Girl” “EVER”...  Should one happen upon a ‘Canary’ on the mantel... in an old school New England home... that is a rare sighting
            These days.
            “Oh I... didn’t know... you know.”
            She said.
            “Most don’t know...
            And never will know...
            You know.
            But, of course, that does not matter
            To them.”

            “Ouch.” I said.
            “I know... and you do (know) too.”

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