Why is "The Old Dark Blue"
the "Old Dark Blue"
in Old New England
Twenty-five years ago I made a routine stop at a Greenwich, CT. thrift shop. It was a first-thing-in-the-morning ‘on my way to’ (Old Greenwich) so I made a get-in / get-out typical “STOP”. A few were in the store but not of an antiquarian seek. Women’s fashions and their accessories “ahhhh”... so I was all alone.
Behind the counter and over the counter manager’s left shoulder I spotted an antique The Old Dark Blue teapot right away.
“How much is the old teapot?”
After ‘reaching it down’: “Sixty-five dollars”
“I would like to buy that please”
"I want to look around a little more”.
What I bought then I do not have now for I “sold it right along”. But... today... I do “have one”; an ‘identical’ teapot ‘in stock’. I am partial to the (decoration pattern) ‘series’. I always notice that particular ‘scene’ and “watch for it right along”. No real surprise to find “it” “donated” in the upscale of the Greenwich area: Someone once ‘knew’. I still
What I know is that the fragile blossom of The Old Dark Blue has always held high this particular pattern for me. I showed that off way back with my first estate sugar bowl carrying the “Gilead House” transfer scene (Part Two). That sugar’s scene is from the same series as the scene on the teapot. The teapot’s scene is titled on the pot’s bottom “Denton Park Yorkshire”. The formula of the transfer; the makeup of the transfer’s design, “matches” that of the Gilead sugar bowl. They are from the same tea service ‘set’ (‘tea ware’). For the record, and evidently, ‘no one knows where (or what) “Gilead House” was (is)’. That does not diminish the positive decorative quality of the transfer scene or the ‘series’. For this series’ patterns... most all viewers succumb to “I LIKE IT”. It is an easy ‘to go with it’; this simple ‘it’s nice’.
What I also knew then and still know now is that my favored taste for this teapot is not an epistle from me. No... no one cares what I ‘like’. Or think. A few may tolerate an ‘I feel” but they usually prefer to ‘feel’ that way ‘too’ “to start with”. This good feelings toward this teapot is because the in-the-know KNOW THAT this pattern series teapot “IS ON THE COVER OF THE BOOK”
It does not matter for you to know that. Either you know that or you
Do not know that. If you do not know that it does not matter for you are...
Anyway. If you do know and have the book too then what you feel is ‘right’ and you don’t care what the ‘rest of them’ feel ...about anything anyway. Having someone come up to me and self start to express what I just wrote ...does not happen very often... even in The Old Dark Blue circles of ‘feel’ that I travel in. That does not change anything: The ‘teapot’ (decorated of this series) IS on the ‘cover of the book’. A core suggestion is that IF you have a... whatever... that is on the cover of a book about that decorative art object’s merit and heritage... (“good taste”)... one is ‘on solid ground’ “with that”. If one wants to be on super solid grounded... one should purchase a copy of the book and have that “around” “TOO”: Solid grounding is my intention here; in your hand WITH the... Old Dark Blue... teapot.
If you glance at the cover of the book to affirm, then bring your eye back to actual teapot. There should be an internal radiance with ‘it’ and ‘you’ “now”. And that radiance... I have built in this essay to become a ‘your landscape’ with The Old Dark Blue... right here... right now.
I have developed a heritage based appreciation of The Old Dark Blue by establishing its age, history of design, function, place of function, usage, usage heritage, presence (in the Old New England home), preservation of object, heritage based notice of the object (including ‘great grandmother’ style old notes on paper wisps inside The Old Dark Blue [Part Five]). I have suggested that to participate in this (The Old Dark Blue is The Old Dark Blue in the Old New England home) one may do that with the very nominal (monetary cost) acquisition of a specimen (an ‘old broken sugar’ bowl for example) (or here; at teapot from behind the counter of a New England thrift shop that... YOU... “FIND”). I am suggesting that all one needs to establish that one is of the “I know” of The Old Dark Blue... in the Old New England home... is to very unobtrusively... ‘display one’ in your (old New England) home. It... sends a “the right message”. It should be
And I am done with you? No. The war needs you in the army.
“WAR?” you say.
Yes... just go to a box store at look in the shopping carts at what ‘they’ are ‘buying’. If you have an Old Dark Blue broken sugar bowl at your home... you will not ever find a “THAT” “HERE”. No. Welcome that. And live your life that way.
The way your own great, great, great, grandmother wanted you to... and has tried to convey to you... THROUGH her ‘old china’. One rescues oneself when one... rescues your greatest great grandmother’ “old china”. And establishes the landscape of that ‘good taste’ for self. After being ‘around it’ for a few years... including the ‘looking at it’ and ‘handling it’... one becomes very adapted to the ‘noticing it’.
And, of course, the NOT noticing it (because it is, in most settings, ‘not there’). No... you will become like I where one has ‘they don’t know’ foisting their “THAT” upon you... where ever you ‘go’. But when one does have a radiant encounter... a ‘does know’ messaging of Old New England good taste... oh does not THAT
Isn’t funny what an old broken china sugar bowl may turn out to be? “Yes” and “It’s English too”.
Yes... English too. A Wasp barrier reef right there. Keep that in mind... when a message from ‘her old china’ in her ‘old china cabinet’ fires as a cannon at you. Looking more carefully at that message source one sees, again, an “English Landscape”... with a castle spire centered up above a nocturnal (moonlight) sail boat. Clouds, moon, water surface and sailing boat... surround... an old English castle?
This is, great grandmother assures you, a ‘well known’ American scene: Wadsworth Tower, here a single series view of a mountain top (Avon, CT area) 1810 view tower built by Daniel Wadsworth. It blew down in 1840 but... in 1826... researchers have discerned a local (Hartford area) newspaper advertisment for a ‘new and most beautiful pattern of tea ware call Wadsworth’s Tower”. That is what this is; this (broken and lid lost) old sugar bowl.
And great grandmother’s mother’s ghost holds your hand for just that second.
Do not let this get away. Pursue this... ‘old china’ clarity. Admittance is nominal. Your landscape may be English or American ‘scenes’. Or perhaps ‘floral’. Or... even... “ships” battling at sea, off, for example a “The Gold Coast”... whatever that is. This doesn’t matter. What matters is that the heritage of “The Old Dark Blue” in the Old New England home... is understood. You do not even need ...to feel... “I like”. That is why we have box stores in Old New England: To “take you off”. “Rid of you”. As I said, your landscape is your barrier reef. In plain sight... on YOUR shelf. That’s what it does.
It is your landscape.
That is why “The Old Dark Blue” is The Old Dark Blue in the “Old New England” and its homes.
As a final note I add that this old china has been protected in this way for very long time; from ‘day one’. By 1875, ‘collectors’ of The Old Dark Blue were well establish including petty pattern squabbles amongst themselves and published printed catalogs of “old curiosities” dealers vending, exclusively ‘The Old Dark Blue’ “ware”. This carries back to the “I KNOW” realization that “This” (The Old Dark Blue) was collected ‘in the (old New England home) from, too, the above noted ‘day one’. Yes: The great, great, great grandmother’s ‘good taste’ has been there since ‘day one’ of the ‘my old china’. The Old Dark Blue never looks for a ‘space’ in the ‘parking lot’.