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Title: Collecting as a Pastime
Author: Rowed, Charles
Language: English
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COLLECTING AS A PASTIME

[Illustration: =Bronze Statuette for Gas.= _Circa_ =1850=.

PLATE I.]



  COLLECTING AS A
  PASTIME

  BY
  CHARLES ROWED

  _With 68 Half-tone Illustrations_

  CASSELL AND COMPANY, LTD
  London, New York, Toronto and Melbourne
  1920



  TO THE MEMORY
  OF
  C. H. R.



RAISON D’ÊTRE


This book is written, and the illustrations prepared, mainly to
inspire, inform and amuse Amateur Collectors. In this I trust it will
be successful, but I further hope that it may arrest the attention and
stimulate the interest of many other readers.

  THE AUTHOR.



CONTENTS


                                              PAGE

  _RAISON D’ÊTRE_                              vii

  REFLECTIONS                                    1

  _FIRST COURSE_

  GRANDFATHER CLOCKS AND OLD FURNITURE          12

  _SECOND COURSE_

  OLD PEWTER--THE PEWTER POT AND
    THE MYSTERY PIECE                           35

  _THIRD COURSE_

  OLD BRASS AND COPPER                          77

  _FOURTH COURSE_

  OLD MORTARS                                   82

  _FIFTH COURSE_

  OLD POTTERY                                   86

  _SIXTH COURSE_

  OLD CHINA                                    122

  _SEVENTH COURSE_

  OLD HORSE AMULETS                            140

  _FINAL COURSE_

  SHEFFIELD PLATE AND OLD SILVER               144



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


   1. BRONZE STATUETTE FOR GAS (_circa_ 1850)   _Frontispiece_

                                                   FACING PAGE

   2. “THE TRUSTY SERVANT” PRINT (_circa_ 1830)             14

   3. GRANDFATHER CLOCKS: JOHN BURGESS DE WIGAN;
        PHILIP SMITH, BARTON; PHILLIPS, LUDLOW              15

   4. GRANDFATHER CLOCKS: PENNINGTON, INCE; T. HELM,
        ORMSKIRK; BOLD, WARRINGTON                          18

   5. GRANDFATHER CLOCKS: BROWN, LIVERPOOL; MONKS,
        PRESCOTT; NO NAME, ENAMELLED DIAL                   19

   6. OAK DRESSER, WELSH, 17TH CENTURY, WITH PEWTER         24

   7. ELM DRESSER, WELSH, EARLY 17TH CENTURY, WITH
        PEWTER                                              25

   8. ECCLESIASTICAL CHEST (_circa_ 1600)                   26

      OAK DOWER CHEST, DATED 1702                           26

   9. OAK SPINDLE BACK CHAIRS, EARLY 19TH CENTURY           27

      BIRCH CHAIRS, EARLY 19TH CENTURY                      27

  10. CHINESE CHIPPENDALE CHAIR, LATE 18TH CENTURY          28

      OAK LANCASHIRE CHAIRS (FAKED)                         28

  11. CROMWELLIAN GATE-LEG TABLE (OAK); KNIFE-BOX
        WITH SHELL INLAY; SALT-BOX DATED 1659;
        BOWL, BY COPELAND                                   29

      GATE-LEG TABLE, MADE OF “FOUDROYANT” OAK              29

  12. BUREAU WITH BOOKCASE (MAHOGANY)                       30

  13. MAHOGANY BUREAU, 18TH CENTURY                         31

      CHEST OF DRAWERS WITH BUREAU FITMENT                  31

  14. BIRCH, VENEERED ROSEWOOD, FOLDING TABLE; TEA
        CADDY                                               32

      MAHOGANY TABLE, DROP ENDS                             32

  15. MAHOGANY CHEST OF DRAWERS                             33

      DISHES--DAVENPORT, LEEDS, COPELAND; BOWLS--BOW,
        CHELSEA, PLYMOUTH, BOW                              33

  16. DWARF CHEST OF DRAWERS WITH HEPPELWHITE
        MIRROR                                              34

  17. OAK CHEST WITH OAK CUPBOARD, ENCLOSING PEWTER         35

  18. MAHOGANY CORNER-CUPBOARD WITH PEWTER                  42

  19. OLD PEWTER GROUP                                      43

  20. OLD PEWTER GROUP                                      46

  21. OLD PEWTER GROUP                                      47

  22. PEWTER SNUFF BOXES                                    64

  23. PEWTER POTS--INSCRIBED                                65

  24. PEWTER POTS AND LIDDED TANKARDS                       70

  25. PEWTER “ALMS-DISH”--FAKED (_Front_)                   71

      PEWTER “ALMS-DISH”--FAKED (_Back_)                    71

  26. THE “ODAMIFINO”                                       74

      THE CONVERTED BEDPAN                                  74

  27. THE MYSTERY PIECE                                     75

  28. OLD BRASS GROUP                                       78

  29. OLD COPPER GROUP                                      79

  30. OLD MORTARS (Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)                      84

  31. OLD MORTARS (Nos. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)                     85

  32. OLD POTTERY GROUP                                     88

  33. OLD POTTERY GROUP                                     89

  34. OLD POTTERY GROUP                                     92

  35. OLD POTTERY GROUP                                     93

  36. PICTORIAL POTTERY                                     98

  37. WILLOW PATTERN                                        99

  38. CHINA CABINET, MAHOGANY, LATE 18TH CENTURY           122

  39. OLD CHINA GROUP                                      123

  40. OLD CHINA GROUP                                      128

  41. OLD CHINA GROUP                                      129

  42. OLD CHINA GROUP                                      136

  43. OLD HORSE AMULETS, GROUP 1                           137

  44. OLD HORSE AMULETS, GROUP 2                           142

  45. SHEFFIELD PLATE AND OLD SILVER                       143



COLLECTING AS A PASTIME

REFLECTIONS


There is a cause for everything. Are antique collectors born or are
they made? Is the craze inherent, or do circumstances or environment
create the craving? How in later life do early associations influence
our peculiar fancies? Possibly my seven years as a choir-boy at
Winchester Cathedral attending services and practices there fifteen
times weekly, being boarded at the Bishop’s Palace, and playing
games under the shadow of the ruins of Wolvesey Castle may have laid
impressions which tended to render me susceptible to the mediæval. My
reflections bring to mind my singing at the enthronement of Bishop
Samuel Wilberforce, and seeing the bones of King Rufus taken out of
his tomb and laid in skeleton form on the floor of the chancel. In
those times a man was not considered too old at forty, as the Dean was
doing his little bit at ninety. To go back still farther, when quite
a small boy I lay for weeks with a broken leg, which had to be broken
a second time owing to poor setting, in a room out of which there was
a secret chamber for hiding those “wanted” in the good old days. This
ancient home with its pointed gables and windows was suitably named
“Gothic Lodge,” and is near Southampton, close to a house in which Lord
Jellicoe’s grandfather resided.

Anyone knowing Winchester will be familiar with the picture of “The
Trusty Servant,” and illustrative of the extraordinary things a
collector may come across in his rambles, I found a good print of this
in a nice old maple frame hanging in a dark shop of a dingy street in
a drab town in the North of England, and, of course, I purchased it
(Plate II, facing p. 14).

       *       *       *       *       *

The rostrum shook under the thud of the fist of the reformed
prizefighter, and the hall reverberated with his stentorian
exclamation. “Ah-h-h-h, my friends, what will the drunkard do for
drink?” Allow me just to whisper, “What won’t the collector do for
curios?” It is generally understood that there is honesty among
thieves. This may be so--not being a member of that fraternity I cannot
vouch for its accuracy. That this desirable attribute prevails amongst
the majority of antique dealers and collectors is to my mind open to
question. You know you cannot do yourself justice unless you know more
than the other fellow, while he in his turn, if you are a stranger,
treats you with suspicion, and so you both play Brer Rabbit.

I was once going through a collection acquired by a professional
gentleman, and he called my special attention to a very good figure
of Nelson, which he informed me he had obtained at a bargain price.
The figure was in a shop run by an alien, probably now a naturalised
Englishman, who asked fifteen shillings for it. On its being pointed
out that the figure only possessed one arm the alien said he had
not noticed that and dropped the price to eighteenpence. I suppose,
after all, this question of honesty resolves itself into a matter of
conscience, and we must realise that this is a commodity liable to
degrees of elasticity which can be regulated without a great deal of
effort to suit the demand requisite for the occasion.

       *       *       *       *       *

Did you ever know a collector give away anything from his special line?
I once had a little Leeds Pottery cottage (impressed mark) pressingly
offered me out of pure good will by a dealer, who although he was only
half a collector was a whole-hearted Christian, and I wish he were
still in the flesh to read this fond reference to his genial urbanity,
but he has gone aloft.

Open confession is good for the soul, and I feel at this point I must
unburden my conscience after alluding to others whose feelings may have
been disturbed by my theories. On one occasion a very old and valued
friend was giving a charity bazaar at his residence, so he asked me to
contribute some of my old pewter. My friend and I had much in common,
but he little knew what he was asking of me then or with what pangs of
heart-burning those twenty pieces were selected, packed, and forwarded,
with a lying letter expressing the pleasure I felt.

       *       *       *       *       *

One other outstanding instance of generosity comes vividly to my mind.
Early on, when I could talk of nothing but old pewter, I spent an
afternoon with a friend who still resides in a hamlet, the name of
which I Aughton’t to disclose. He specialises in old porcelain and
young pullets, together with rare bits and roses. At the time I was
almost in despair because I could drop on no pewter dishes. Imagine
my delight when I received anonymously three good marked specimens
from the residential district aforesaid. On meeting the donor and
overwhelming him with my profusion of gratitude, he remarked, “Look
here, old man, you needn’t make such a fuss about it. The fact is my
wife came across these dishes when spring cleaning, and she asked me to
get them out of the way, so I sent the bally things off to you.”

       *       *       *       *       *

I have alluded to the influence the collecting craze may have on
the conscience, and on the gift of charity. The bump denoting the
latter varies very considerably in individuals, as in some cases it
is reported to be undiscernible by the most gifted phrenologist, yet
we each think our own so abnormally developed that we wonder how we
keep our hats on. As an instance of the way in which the mania may
take hold of the common sense contained in a brain occupied with
big undertakings, and large financial questions, let me give you an
instance.

At a shop on Blackpool Pier I noticed an oak pulley-block partly
gilded, and learnt it had belonged to the rigging of the _Foudroyant_,
which was wrecked there in 1897. Although I did not want this myself
I knew a friend who would like to have it. He was very keen on Nelson
relics, and had shown me with pride the room he devoted specially to
the display of these, which he had accumulated regardless of cost. I
purchased the block for a guinea, packed it up, sent it off to the
South of England by passenger train, and wrote saying what I had done.
What gigantic schemes matured or what h.p. pressure was required to
keep his powerful brain under control, I do not know, but in the
evening of the following day I received an urgent telegram saying the
pulley-block had not yet arrived, and would I trace it forward? Now why
could not a man of his experience and resource have waited more than
twelve hours after getting my letter for a thing like that to come 250
miles by train, without giving me extra trouble, when I had already put
myself out of the way to give him a little pleasure? I forgave him when
I received his note of thanks, and he never met me afterwards without
referring to my thoughtfulness on his behalf.

       *       *       *       *       *

Soon after I started I had the advantage of comparing notes with
a medical friend, who had a decided penchant for antiques, and he
diagnosed collecting as a disease on which he considered himself an
authority, if not a specialist, as his knowledge had been acquired by
constant practice. His faculties were so acute that on one occasion
while feeling the pulse of a patient he lost count of the beats through
catching sight of a Bartolozzi print hanging near the bed. He was
pleased to say the patient recovered her health, and he obtained the
Bartolozzi.

Further evidence in support of this theory is the case of a minister
who, after seeing my collection for the first time, could not sleep,
but lay awake wondering in which of the houses in his parish he had
seen any pewter. May I not carry this a step further without giving
offence, by suggesting that when thoughts require to be concentrated on
less worldly things, while paying his consoling visits he should spend
much of the time with both eyelids closed? Be this as it may, he has
secured a number of bargains.

Another instance came under my notice through seeing a letter from a
wealthy merchant, the ramifications of whose business are world-wide,
in which he stated he had been poking about slums, and had picked
up two pepper-pots for a few coppers. Consequently he could not see
his way to offer more than three shillings for two which had been
advertised for four shillings.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have discovered among my press cuttings an article which appeared
in the _Times_, August 12, 1910, and I should like you to read the
following extract:--

 ON COLLECTORS

 “The collector’s instinct seems to be a curious by-product of the
 human mind; and not only of the human mind, for magpies, monkeys, and
 even dogs, sometimes have it. When a dog makes a store of bones, old
 and entirely fleshless, he is like the collector who keeps obsolete
 things just because they are obsolete. A used postage stamp is to
 a man what a bone without flesh is to a dog; but the collector of
 postage stamps goes further than the dog, in that he prefers an old
 postage stamp to a new one, while no dog, however ardent a collector
 of bones without flesh, would not rather have a bone with flesh on
 it. Yet there is more method in the human collector, since he always
 has before him the ideal of a complete collection, whereas no dog,
 probably, ever dreamed of acquiring specimens of all the different
 kinds of bones there are in the world. This ideal of a complete
 collection is the usual spur of the human collector; and often he
 will collect the most out-of-the-way things in the hope of attaining
 it. But there is also the spur of rivalry, and because of that there
 are not many collectors of things that no one else collects. Every
 collector likes to have at least one rival whom he may out-do, and
 from whom perhaps he may steal; for the collector’s instinct is
 sometimes too strong for the most honest of men, so that they come to
 regard stealing as only a bold and skilful kind of collecting. They
 would never steal anything except what they collect; but in stealing
 a fine specimen they are only rectifying the iniquity of chance which
 has given that specimen to an ignoramus who does not deserve it. For
 them collecting is a game, and stealing is not a breach of the rules.
 Indeed, there is only one breach of the rules, viz.:--forging. But even
 forgeries make collecting more exciting; and perhaps they are not
 really a breach of the rules, but only an added complication in the
 game, a new kind of bunker, so to speak, which tests the skill of the
 player.”

Great minds think alike! Oh, thank you!

       *       *       *       *       *

In my numerous calls I have only once been openly treated with
suspicion, and that happened in a county town which boasts of an
imposing jail. Possibly the existence of that massive pile with its
undesirable inmates had given cause to the local antique dealer to be
ever doubtful of his visitors. My friend and I had left the motor at
the hotel, found a small shop crowded with antiques, opened the door,
which was of the stable pattern in two sections, and walked in. After a
few minutes, during which we were examining curios, and making audible
comments, the proprietor came out of the back, and demanded to know how
we got in.

“Through the door.”

“Yes, but why didn’t you ring the bell?”

“Perhaps the bell is out of order.”

“No, that won’t wash, I know your sort.”

He was irate, so we left him in possession. My friend was very
indignant, and was not appeased when I hinted that the unpleasant
incident would not have occurred if I had been by myself.

       *       *       *       *       *

I do not envy those who go to auction rooms or large antique premises,
buy a cart-load in one afternoon, write out a cheque, and have the
goods kecked at the door like a load of coal. I have always been
pleased that I started and have kept on buying my finds in penny
numbers, and now I am able to put them in volume form I am well
rewarded for my persistence.

Like the lady who never made her tea the right strength, because she
had a poor eye for measuring distances, I attempt no estimate of the
miles I have travelled in pursuit of the game. I have motored as
far north as Dunbar with success, made discoveries in Dover, found
dishes in Devonshire, turned up treasures when touring the Lakes, and
been over to Ireland for pewter. Reflections on these journeys are
constantly arising as my eye lights on one or other of the numerous
specimens which adorn my home, and I am truly thankful that I turned my
attention to the collecting of antiques in the way I have done, thereby
providing myself with a pastime which has been beneficial to the body
and mind of a busy man.

In my narration I hope I may not cause the reader to conclude that I am
egotistical, desirous of creating the impression that I know it all,
make no mistakes, and pick up nothing but bargains. I must plead guilty
of having on more than one occasion when homeward bound thrown rotten
purchases out of the train, taking care, of course, not to hit any
resting man working on the line. There have been times when on closer
scrutiny I have discovered an “antique” purchase to be modern, and I
have turned it over to the hazards of everyday use, feeling sure that
its existence among the household effects would not remain in evidence
for a lengthy period to remind me of my lack of acumen.

By giving some of my experiences the amateur who, like myself, has
essayed to go cautiously will, I feel, enter into the spirit which has
pervaded my search after antiques to get what enjoyment there was to
be obtained in pursuit of the elusive bargain. An ounce of practice is
worth a ton of theory, and a few mistakes are the best school for the
student.

I hope in the contents evidence of originality may occur, and that
the touches of humour may not be considered misplaced, even by those
who take their collecting very seriously. I have the good fortune to
number among my friends one who for half an ordinary lifetime has been
so keen a collector of antiques that he has gathered together a host
of treasures which have not only filled his house from ground floor
to garret, but have partly stocked the local museum as well. He must
have read nearly everything published on his beloved subjects, and when
he heard I had decided to write this book, in an encouraging letter
he said, “I shall, I know, be very much interested. I love to read a
‘spicy’ article. I always think it sinks deeper than the heavy and
often cumbersome accounts we sometimes get.”

I have not enquired just what my friend’s definition of the word
“spicy” may mean, but as he knows half my pleasure in collecting is
the fun of the thing, and that it is my natural bent to find humour
whenever it chances to come my way, I trust he will not be disappointed
with the result of my efforts to enliven what he might otherwise have
considered another addition to heavy material.

I hope the illustrations will give satisfaction. Long before I started
collecting I was possessed of a good half-plate camera, with a fine
lens, which I used out in the open on any occasion as I felt disposed,
consequently this experience came in most useful when I desired to
photograph specimens of my collection indoors. I have therefore not
only the satisfaction of knowing that all the subjects exhibited have
been gathered together by my initial effort, and are all under my own
roof, but that I have taken most of the photographs myself. The result
of taking all these on half-plates has allowed me to keep uniformity
running through the book, and enabled me to present the pictures the
right way up. The arrangement in so many volumes which compels each
reader to twist the book every time he wishes to study a picture, will
be found practically absent in this. As the smartly set up autocratic
adjutant commands his regulars “Right-turn” and “Left-turn” so does the
short-sighted conservative author compel his readers to “Read-turn” and
“Lift-turn.”

I take no credit for the developing, printing, or toning of the
photographs, for I have a detestation of shutting myself in the dark
room, and a dislike for the tedium of the remaining part of the
process. By arranging a set of shelves for the groups, and fixing
the camera at the most suitable distance I have maintained the same
proportion of size throughout, a point which should be borne in
mind as one which has saved the necessity of giving more than a few
measurements. The times of exposure for the photographs have varied
from two minutes to two hours.

Collecting, therefore, has livened up my photography; and it is fresh
in my mind that photography has livened me up on two occasions while
I have been on this work. The first when, after hanging about for
twenty minutes while a “grandfather” was reflecting his face, I found
I had omitted to take the cap off the camera. Secondly, when another
“grandfather” was supposed to be undergoing the required operation,
I discovered after the lapse of a similar period, which seemed to be
about double the time, that I had forgotten to pull up the slide,
and this happened just when the necessary light for that day had
finished. Such incidents as these are by the way, but the linking
up of photography with the still life that is depicted is a further
justification for the title “Collecting as a Pastime.”



_FIRST COURSE_

Grandfather Clocks and Old Furniture

 The First Plunge--The Clock and the Chest--Varsity Blue--The
 Statuette--A Weird Arrival--Faked Chairs--_Foudroyant_
 Oak--More Clocks--Study the Chart--Making Converts--Lacquer
 Clocks--Barometers--The Elusive Mercury--Welsh Dressers--Chinese
 Chippendale Chair--Spinning Wheel--Spindle-backed Chairs--More rushed
 Seats--Gate-legged Mahogany Table--Buying Worm-holes--Bureau and
 Bookcase--A Revelation--Oak Cupboard--Four Corner Cupboards--Dated
 Furniture--Mahogany Inlaid Tables--A Surprise--Chests of Drawers:
 Small, large, and a Combination--Just in Time--Bureau--How not to
 Auction--The Tea-caddy.


“The oak tree was an acorn once,” and so was the case of my first
grandfather clock. Quite by chance in 1902, I noticed in a shop window
a brass dial bearing the inscription “John Burgess de Wigan,” with
well-engraved numerals, and fitted with quaintly cut brass hands. On
enquiry I was told they had a case for it, and this was found propped
up, for its feet were groggy. As 17s. was the price asked for the lot,
I plunged. To my amazement an old clockmaker soon had the works going
and he assured me they would see me out, but I have some anxiety about
the original wrought iron hinges, which I compute will have swung, back
and to, nearly 90,000 times.

The minstrel (Moore and Burgess) sang that “the grandfather clock was
too tall for the shelf, so it stood ninety years on the floor.” My old
gentleman had evidently been in more confined space than this one
they made such a song about, and as the owner could not bend its back
he knocked off the feet. I fitted him out with new understandings made
of very old timber, which suited him down to the ground. When the case
was renovated the venerable timekeeper was placed in my hall, where he
has ticked away regularly except on those days when his rope has not
been wound up, or when a new rope was necessary. I found, by starting
a correspondence in the _Wigan Observer_, that Burgess was one of the
earliest clock-makers in Wigan, and that my clock was made about 1690.

The first long-case pendulum clock was made by Thomas Tompion in 1681
and the prefix “de” to names was dropped about 1700, so it would be
interesting to know how many clocks are still in existence bearing the
“de” in front of the surname. I have had clocks offered to me said to
be 300 or 400 years old, while one man thought his would be at least
500; when I stated that I had read in my clock book that 240 years was
the limit he disdainfully brushed that opinion aside with the remark,
“Oh, books! Do you believe all you read?”

This was the antique seed that has spread from hall to room, and from
room to room, until there is no room for more. Strange to say, within
a week I had found a companion to “old Burgess” in the form of a very
ancient oak Ecclesiastical chest, bearing four locks without wards,
but with each key-hole a different shape; the keys to correspond would
be in the hands of the parson, two wardens and sexton respectively
(_See_ Plate VIII). The clock and the chest have stood _vis-à-vis_
since their introduction, and if the regularity of the former and the
complacency of the latter had been emulated by the occupants of the
house, what a model home they would adorn!

It is believed that on one occasion “old Burgess” forgot to strike,
for which he may be forgiven. On the newel post there is fixed a fine
old bronze female figure, bearing a light, and on the occasion of a
young cleric spending the night with us this statuette was found draped
in a Varsity blue wrap (the owner of which has since served as an
Army Chaplain throughout the War)--truly a sight to set any decorous
time-server off his balance! (Plate I.)

This model of the female form divine deserves an artistic treatment, to
which I do not feel competent to do justice, but I opine the modeller,
L. V. E. Robert, who was doing his level best about sixty years ago,
intended it to be a representation of “Summer,” or “Hygeia,” and
that he was proud to impress his name thereon. It stood for years in
a mansion, and was turned out into the cold when the premises were
altered on changing owners, so I then found it a home.

I was very proud of “old Burgess” (and am still) and, of course,
called the attention of all our visitors and the piano-tuner thereto.
This musical fiend struck a discordant note when he piped out, “I see
it’s only a 30-hour. I have one that belonged to my wife’s great-aunt
and it has an eight-day movement, which is so much more convenient.”
There are some people who seldom do, and never say, the right thing.
That set me on looking for an eight-day grandfather, and I looked in
vain, and for fear I might strain my sight I confided my absolute
requirement to a friend who knocked about the country, and he assured
me at once he could soon fix me up, “but what price will you go to?”
As I wished to give him as little trouble as possible I said, “Oh, I’m
not particular, say fifty shillings.” One morning not long after this
the commissionaire announced in my office that two gentlemen wanted
to see me in the hall--a marble hall, mark you!--and here I found my
friend looking very worried, with a man who touched his forelock,
but to whom I was not introduced. They had with them something that
bore resemblance to a coffin with a dirty shroud, the latter having
apparently twisted itself round the former, a state of packing that no
estimable undertaker would undertake. They then proceeded to unshroud
and prop up the outer shell, which had three sides and a bit.

[Illustration: “The Trusty Servant” (Print, _circa_ 1830).

PLATE II.]

[Illustration:

  John Burgess,    Philip Smith,     Phillips,
  de Wigan.        Barton,           Ludlow,
  1690.            1700.             1710.

PLATE III.]

“The case is the nearest match I could get to your thirty-hour; and the
dial and works are in the box there.”

“But where is the back?”

“I can’t exactly say; some is on the Birmingham platform, some at
Stafford where I changed, there is quite a lot on the platform here,
and I noticed pieces kept falling off as I followed this man wheeling
it from the station; but whoever looks at the back of a clock? You can
easily fit in another without anybody being the wiser.”

I then saw the dial and works, and found I was face to face with
Grandfather Philip Smith of Barton, which Barton I cannot say, but
probably near Nottingham. I did my best for him, and he has done his
best for me, so I am recompensed for the expense I was put to in
renewing his youth.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Sergeant, just sweep up that dust in the hall.”

“Yes, sir.”

       *       *       *       *       *

I now received a welcome gift of two high-backed Lancashire Cromwellian
black oak chairs from a revered friend, who was wishful to encourage
my new craze, and very useful and instructive these have been. I say
instructive, for they had not been in the shadow of “old Burgess” long
before I compared the grain of their oak and his, with the result that
while the panel in the back and front leg spindle of one was finely
carved, and the oak undoubtedly 17th century, in the other they were as
modern as the frames. I may here mention for the benefit of any reader
who does not know that old oak furniture is seldom black with age, and
that the polisher can stain it any shade preferred, that when Nelson’s
flagship, the _Foudroyant_, built in 1797, was wrecked at Blackpool in
1897, much of her oak was made into furniture, and some fine chairs
quite light in colour may be seen at the Hotel Metropole there. I have
a black gate-legged table made from _Foudroyant_ oak which is an exact
replica of a good Cromwellian design with twisted legs, and which was
quite light in colour until it was stained (Plates X and XI).

I now had another oak grandfather clock with a brass dial offered me,
and although it had a thirty-hour movement I did not hesitate to pay
the price asked. It had come from Ormskirk, where it was made by T.
Helm about 1770, as in the Constable’s book of accounts for that year
there is an entry “paid Thos. Helm for taking care of clock.” It stood
for a hundred years in a farm opposite my house, and I got it from
descendants of its original owners, so for sentimental reasons I would
not part with it, even at an advance on the first cost. This clock
originally was worked by a rope, but a chain was substituted before I
became its possessor. I have other things to talk of than grandfather
clocks, but three were not enough for me. I have from time to time
provided room for others, and for the last few years have found nine
none too many, as seven of them need winding only once a week. They do
not all strike at once, for a few have been deprived of their capacity
for music-making, by having the striking weight taken off.

By the aid of the photographs and with the following particulars the
reader has a fair illustration of the evolution of the external part
of grandfather clocks extending over one hundred years. I believe the
dates I estimate are not far off the mark, and I hope some readers may
be enabled to set their minds at rest if they have been in doubt as to
the age of their own grandfather.

  Maker          Height     Width of   Dial       Special Features
                              Body

  John Burgess   6′ 11″       12½″     11½″   Oak; square edged body,
   de Wigan                                     hand cut heavy brass
                                                hands, quaint fret,
                                                iron strap hinges.--Circa
                                                1690.

  Philip Smith   6′ 8½″       12½″     12″    Oak; square edged body;
   Barton                                       artistic fret, early
                                                brass hinges.--Circa
                                                1700.

  Phillips       6′ 9″        12½″     12″    Oak; square edged body;
    Ludlow                                      carved “fret.”--Circa
                                                1710.

  Pennington     6′ 11″       13″      12″    Oak; square edged body,
    Ince                                        fluted oak pillars to
                                                head which is fitted
                                                with side lights; pollard
                                                oak bands to doors
                                                and panel; carved
                                                “fret.”--Circa 1720.

  T. Helm        6′ 11″       13½″     12″    Oak; door and panel
    Ormskirk                                    banded with mahogany,
                                                rounded ask pilasters;
                                                painted “fret”
                                                design.--Circa 1760.

  Bold           7′ 4½″       14″      12″    Oak; heavy case with
    Warrington                                  oak back, mahogany
                                                band to doors with
                                                rounded mahogany
                                                pilasters, deeply cut
                                                well engraved dial;
                                                no “fret.”--Circa 1760.

  Brown          7′ 10″       15″      13″    Mahogany; “Chippendale,”
    Liverpool                                   fitted with side
                                                lights to hood, rounded
                                                pilasters.--Circa 1770.

  Monks          7′ 10″       16″      14″    Mahogany; “Chippendale,”
    Prescott                                    fluted pillars and
                                                pilasters.--Circa 1780.
                                              Dial bears the legend:
                                                “As the time goes swift
                                                   away,
                                                 So does human life
                                                   decay.”

  No name        7′ 11″       18″      14″    Mahogany; “Sheraton,”
    Enamelled                                   fluted pillars and
    dial                                        pilasters, satinwood
                                                inlay.--Circa 1790.

[Illustration:

  Pennington,      T. Helm,               Bold,
     Ince,        Ormskirk,             Warrington,
     1720.          1760.                 1760.

PLATE IV.]

[Illustration:

    Brown,           Monks,     No name. (Enamelled Dial)
  Liverpool,       Prescott,            1790.
     1770.           1780.

PLATE V.]

So far as I know the nine clocks are genuine. I could find no trace of
any material repair before I got them, and I have been most careful
in the renovating which was necessary with some of them. I ought to
explain in regard to “Phillips” that I fell in love with him in an
auctioneer’s stock-room because his style seemed just to agree with my
oak dresser and I bought him, although he was fitted with a 30-hour
movement which was quite worn out. Having obtained the works of an old
eight-days by buying a white dial in a case I cared nothing about, I
had two holes drilled in “Phillips’” face and so converted him. It
was a simple thing to do, as the centre of the dial is matted without
engraving and the centres could be made anywhere to correspond with
the requirements of the winding arrangements. This is an example of
what may happen to old clocks when in the dealer’s hands. I have been
in places where a number of old grandfathers have been in stock, and
changing a good dial which would suit a better case was considered
quite the proper thing to do, but consequently the grandfather would
in future bear a wrong cognomen, while the case might be quite of a
different date from that indicated by the maker’s name.

“Former Clock and Watch Makers,” by Britten, was my text-book for this
department, and I must have given my friends the impression that I
was an authority on horology, for on reflecting I find I purchased,
selected, or had a hand in the choosing of about thirty grandfather
clocks. Narrow cases and brass dials were my usual stipulations.


LACQUER CLOCKS

Lacquer clocks have increased greatly in value recently on account of
their scarcity. About twelve years ago I had one offered me for £4
10s., but as I did not admire it, and had no idea where I could get the
needed repairs executed, I left it alone. I have just seen one sold by
a dealer to a dealer for £37. On my last visit to see a collector and
dealer, whom I respect for his straightforward dealing, I found he had
parted with his lacquer clock, which I had seen in his room for many
years, and was told a dealer had tempted him to sell it for £50, and
that he now realised he had practically given it away at this price.


BAROMETERS

Having provided for reliable time-keeping, my next requirement seemed
to be something experienced in ruling the weather. I found my first
antique barometer hanging outside a tall warehouse, when out cycling
with a friend. This emporium was a three-storeyed building, filled with
all kinds of “rubbish,” valuable and otherwise. While my friend studied
the old books I poked about and made my first purchase of old china and
old pewter, but these will be dealt with on other pages. I made further
visits to this building, which now forms a portion of the offices of
a very large soap works, and think if I had known anything about old
engravings I might have found something worth while. I feel sure there
were many fine works hanging promiscuously on the walls, for they
comprised some of the ugliest and most weird things in pictures I have
come across.

That barometer has been a tried and trusted indicator, and I was so
pleased with its usefulness that I thought it would be a good idea to
get another, and fix it in the precincts of the kitchen, so that the
laundress might know the right time to hang out the clothes. Having
bought another of the good old type, and having found just the place
for it, I next gave careful instructions to the female mind which had
to cope with the laundry department as to the reading and the adjusting
of the indicator, so that the fine drying days could be intelligently
anticipated, and I figured out the saving of coal effected would soon
pay the modest cost of the barometer many times over, but the affairs
of men and mice and charladies aft gang agley. I was not long in
noticing that barometer No. 2 did not work in accord with No. 1, and I
worried about it, in fact at the time of writing I am still worrying
about it. There is a cause for everything, and when things go wrong
it is necessary to find out the reason before they can be put right,
and when the discovery is made you can fix the blame where any may
exist. Imagine the shock I experienced one day when I found that the
maid had been in the habit of taking the instrument down, and laying
it flat on the table to give it a good polishing. Where the mercury
slipped to is a mystery, but I must admit that I never gave her warning
that an antique barometer when charged must be kept perpendicular. The
instrument went to be refilled with mercury soon after the War started,
and has not been returned to me yet!


DRESSERS, CHAIRS, ETC.

The next antique furniture I desired was an oak dresser to show off the
pewter which had been accumulating, and I was fortunate in obtaining
one, which originally had come from Wales, without delay. The oak
proved to be elm, but I bought it without first seeing it, and I have
been pleased that it turned out as it did. The inverted pediments are
of holly and the doors work on pins. To get the dresser out of the farm
where it had played its part for generations, the farm door jambs had
to be removed, so I was informed, but it just fitted my hall, which was
all that really mattered.

Another dresser was reported to me as having come from Wales, and I
bought it from a Mr. Jones, and although I had not seen this until it
came to me, it was good old oak sure enough. I believe the elm-made
dates from early in the seventeenth century, and the oak one about
fifty years after.

These old dressers were complete, but one had a portion of the back
decayed, probably through standing for years against damp walls, so
an obliging builder let me have some boards sawn from an oak beam he
had taken out of an ancient Quakers’ meeting-house, and I was able to
maintain the true character and charm of these time-worn stagers.

The Chinese Chippendale chair (Plate X) deserves special notice, for
was it not my initial find in mahogany? Its home was in a building the
walls of which were feet thick, and in generations past had formed
part of a monastery, but which to-day is linked up with a more modern
dwelling built of the same Scotch grey stone. It was in this house,
near Dalkeith, while we were having a family holiday in the summer of
1906, and just when my soul was awakening to the mysteries of antiques,
that I came across this relic. It stood in the room we occupied in
the ancient part of the building, and was completely disguised by a
covering of chintz, hiding strong canvas stitched over much padding.
After lifting its skirt, peculiarly shaped legs were revealed, and
my curiosity was aroused. Removing the chintz cover, by ripping off
the canvas, and taking out about a sackful of wool, I was not only
struck by the unique back, but astounded to find the original pig-skin
upholstery in good condition. One mahogany arm was missing, and a
very rough hard wood substitute had been fitted in its place. I was
presented with the chair on the spot. A handy man from the village
fetched “a wee bit o’ auld mahogany bed stock he had just sawed off to
mak anither haundle for the chair.” I got him to make a case to hold
it, and the “wee bit bed stock,” together with a spinning-wheel, and
consigned it for home to await my arrival. I learnt “there was anither
chair like it awa doon at Melville Castle.”

The spinning-wheel just mentioned was noticed by my wife when making a
purchase of wool in a shop on Causewayside at Edinburgh, and she was
told, “my mon had brocht it wi’ him on his last journey from Yell” (the
most northern of the Shetland Isles), and although it was not for sale
she “didna mind parting wi’ it, as she could aye git anither yen when
her mon gaid for mair wool.”

[Illustration: Oak Dresser, Welsh, 17th Century, with Pewter.

PLATE VI.]

 PLATE VI

 _OAK DRESSER_

 DESCRIBING THE PEWTER

 _Bottom Shelf._ Pair of Tea Caddies. Cake Stand. Oval Dish with fancy
 edge. Wash Bowl.

 _First Shelf._ Vinegar Bottle. Handle-less half-pint Measure. Lipped
 half-pint Measure. Flour Dredger.

 _Second Shelf._ Two lipped quart Measures (one by Watts and Harton,
 London, 1800). Strainer.

 _Top Shelf._ Set of seven Irish (haystack) Measures, by Austin, Cork,
 from 1 gal. to ½ noggin. Set of seven English Measures (Georgian),
 from ½ gal. to ½ gill. The gallon Irish haystack Measure is 12 inches
 high. The largest plate 18 inches, and the smaller ones are from 9
 inches to 10 inches in diameter.

[Illustration: Elm Dresser, Welsh, Early 17th Century, with Pewter.

PLATE VII.]

 PLATE VII

 _ELM DRESSER_

 DESCRIBING THE PEWTER

 _Bottom Shelf._ Swiss Bottle. Hot-water Dish by T. Compton. Ladles by
 Ashberry and Coleman. Flask, 7½ inches, with screw-in cap.

 _First Shelf._ Barber’s Pot. Milk Mug. Quaich. Moustache Mug.
 Hot-water Jug.

 _Second Shelf._ Early Quart. Hot-water Plates by John Home (1760) and
 Henry Little (1755). Milk Jug (sold as a pilgrim’s bottle). Mulled Ale
 Jug.

 _Third Shelf._ Plates 13½ inches in diameter.

 _Top Shelf._ Chinese Tea Caddy. Jug 7 inches high. Blue-and-white
 Pottery Tureen by Burton, Hanley. Plates 15 inches, 16½ inches, 18
 inches in diameter.

When wanting more chairs I noticed a set of spindle-back rushed seats
with pony feet, and on enquiry was told they had “one arm and six
ordinary.” Ere learning the price I was asked, “How many do you want?”
The idea of splitting a set of chairs over a hundred years old, and
in perfect condition! Yet this is an indication of the value placed
on this type fifteen years ago, while to-day dealers are scouring the
country-side to make up sets. I gleaned that these were made by the
grandfather of our local house furnisher; he (the grandfather) had six
sons, and kept a farm, also a wheelwright’s shop in the country; that
the chairs were made in the dark evenings for a few shillings each, so
I got them at about their original price; that the wood used was oak
from an adjoining park, and after dressing it was stained mahogany in a
bath, that the spindles were driven home with the wheelwright’s hammer,
and that “Uncle Richard was the finest rusher in Lancashire.” This is
undoubtedly true, for there is not a spindle loose or a rush out of
place. (Plate IX)

After buying the spindle-backs, on the same day and in the same street
I visited another broker’s shop, but let me direct you in case you wish
to call there any time. It is situated either higher up or lower down,
according to which end of the street you enter by, but if you come out
of a by-street you must be careful to turn either to the right or left,
and keep straight on, for if you cross over and go ahead you will be up
another street. Should you be walking you will keep to the right, but
in case you drive or motor you must mind and keep to the left. Trams
pass the door, and if you take the one going to Liverpool you will not
get anywhere near it. It is situated on the opposite side facing a
shop that has been “To Let” but is now occupied by a tradesman who
has done well out of the war. By the by, if you happen to come in the
evening, and take the North Star as your guide you will no doubt find
the place--shut up. Readers can take so much more interest in a story
when they have been made familiar with the locality, and especially in
a case like this where the actual house has been pointed out. I entered
the shop--do you follow me? I examined a birch chair with a broken arm,
an artistic back, fluted legs, and a rush seat. While I am ruminating,
the broker comes out of his parlour, leaving the door open, and I see
other chairs of the same pattern, which are evidently in everyday use.
I remark on them, and am invited to inspect. Having done so I enquire,
“Will you sell them?” and am answered thus--“Will I sell ’um, I’ll sell
you every old thing I’ve got.” I did not buy every old thing he’d got,
but I secured the set of chairs, two arm and six ordinary, and when
re-polished the figuring of the birch looked well. I also relieved him
of a mahogany pedestal circular mirror, which I “could have for seven
bob, as he was tired of seeing the thing about.” (Plate IX)

[Illustration: Ecclesiastical Chest. _Circa_ 1600.

Oak Dower Chest, Dated 1702.

PLATE VIII.]

[Illustration: Oak Spindle Back Chairs, Early 19th Century.

Birch Chairs, Early 19th Century.

PLATE IX.]


MAHOGANY GATE-LEGGED TABLE

My having over-stocked the house that day has kept me off buying higher
class chairs, but one never knows what may happen. Quite recently I
bought a gate-legged Spanish mahogany square ended table. I found it
most unexpectedly the first day we decided we wanted such a thing, and
it happened to be just the size desired. After a brief examination
without going on my knees I told them to deliver it, and when it
arrived legs uppermost I thought, “what a lot of worm holes for the
money.” I said nothing aloud. Having ’phoned for a cabinet-maker, and
after he had laid the table top downwards he dropped on his knees,
and looking up with an expression of mingled pity and contempt for my
credulity enquired:

“Have you bought it?”

“Yes.”

“And paid for it?”

“Yes.”

“May I ask how much?”

“Eight pounds.”

“I’ve bought tables like this for 35s.”

“Yes, some time ago.”

At this stage I fancy he thought he had put my wind up, for he hedged
by consoling me with the remark “I saw a table like this fetch £11 10s.
at a sale, and it had worm holes too.”

Now take warning by this, and be sure you look out for worm holes,
but don’t be over anxious to buy more than you can count, and if you
should, then do not pay much extra for them. Further, if you find
these pests getting busy in any of your furniture procure a solution
of corrosive sublimate of suitable strength and saturate the parts
affected, but as the chemical is a deadly poison it is advisable to use
a long handled brush and not dab it on with the fingers.

I thank you for your sympathy, but am delighted with my bargain, as the
frame only needed the inside soft wood to be replaced, and the table
with its fine Spanish wood top supported by well-fluted legs makes a
handsome, convenient, and useful centrepiece, for dining purposes, and
can be folded and put aside any time.

[Illustration: Chinese Chippendale Chair, Late 18th Century.

Oak Lancashire Chairs (Faked).

PLATE X.]

[Illustration: Cromwellian Gate-leg Table (Oak). Knife-box (Shell
inlay). Salt-box, 1659. Bowl, by Copeland.

Gate-leg Table, made of _Foudroyant_ Oak.

PLATE XI.]

The tables shown on Plate XIV are very good late eighteenth century
examples. The one with drop ends is mahogany, has a striking shell-like
satinwood ornamentation let in the middle, and inverted crocus inlaid
legs. The table with the folding legs was in a very dirty condition
when I purchased it, and was called mahogany, and it was not until it
was scraped that I became aware it was made of birch, thickly veneered
with rosewood, and richly inlaid with satinwood. Oh, what a prize
surprise.


BUREAUX AND CABINETS

When China began to come in, I bought a fine mahogany inlaid bureau
and book-case in Cheshire at about one-third of the cost of such a
piece if you could find it to-day. On examining the secret fittings I
found in pencil in quite old style handwriting on the bottom of one of
the drawers some lines headed, “Over the door of a House of Pleasure
at W/Church.” Unfortunately I cannot give the context, as I fear it
would not pass the Press Censorship. When the bureau was cleaned and
re-polished I protected this precious indication that a previous
possessor was rather a sly old boy, and so I retain this unique
evidence of age. (Plate XII)

When I commenced to write this book I found it quite impossible to
get along with a rather modern light oak desk and I felt sure an old
bureau would be of great assistance in carrying inspirations relating
to antiques; and further that one must be obtained promptly. If you
write a few hundred pages and have them typewritten in triplicate it
is advisable to have somewhere to keep them, for it would be poor
satisfaction to learn some morning that a few score had served the
useful purpose of lighting the kitchen fire. The roomy drawers of a
bureau answer admirably and find accommodation for the photographs as
well. (Plate XIII)

My first enquiry was made of a dealer I will call A, who informed me
that bureaux were very scarce, but as he attended most sales he would
be on the look out and do his best. I then went to another dealer and
told him of my intention, and asked him would he sell my flat-top oak
desk? Certainly he would, there was a mahogany bureau to be sold at a
sale the very next day and he would buy it for me if I would give him a
commission. I said, “Very well I will slip over in the morning, look at
it and let you know.” I disturbed the auctioneer feeding his poultry,
and cajoled him to come to the house, which I had found locked up. The
bureau looked very weary, but I knew it could soon be put right, so I
posted back to B and told him to buy it, using his own judgment about
the price. In the evening B called and said he had bought the bureau,
but the price was more than expected as that chap A had run him up the
last £2. Then it dawned on me that I had been bidding against myself.

I may here mention I have never attended sales and that this is the
only antique illustrated in this volume which has been bought at a sale
on my behalf.

[Illustration: Bureau with Bookcase (Mahogany). _Circa_ 1790.

PLATE XII.]

[Illustration: Mahogany Bureau, 18th Century.

Chest of Drawers with Bureau Fitment.

PLATE XIII.]

“There was an old woman who lived in a shoe” who was greatly perplexed
as to how to accommodate so many children. I can sympathise with
her, for having so much pewter and being anxious to show it off
I was much worried “and didn’t know what to do.” I hunted about and
advertised for an oak cupboard with glass doors but could find nothing
suitable so I bought the chest shown. Then I had the cupboard made
from oak taken out of a farm built in 1633 near St. Helens which had
been pulled down, while the top decoration is some of the original
wainscoting from Argoed Hall, Oswestry, which I had by me, and it came
in suitably for the frieze. The top of the chest being in two pieces
the cupboard just fits on the hind portion while the front half lifts
off, and so I am enabled to stow a lot of extra pewter in the chest.
(Plate XVII)

Pewter plates and blue and white dishes needing to be displayed, I
had shelves fitted in my morning and dining rooms. To provide for the
china I purchased the cabinet shown in Plate XXXVIII, and in a short
time found four corner cupboards. It might take as many years to find
a lot to equal these, which are mahogany made and all nicely inlaid. I
bought them from the same broker who astonished me by saying, “I am a
collector too--of sovereigns.”


DATED FURNITURE

Dated furniture is hard to find. I only have two specimens, of which
photographs are given. The initials on the oak chest will be the
initials of the first owner and his wife, but whether this dating may
be evidence of a dower chest on their marriage, or whatever happened
to them in 1702, there is no question about the chest being Queen Anne
period. (Plate VIII)

As regards the salt box, the carved piece of oak which bears the date
1659 has a much older appearance than the rest of the box, although
that is ancient timber. Probably the seventeenth century article fell
to pieces about a hundred years ago, when the owners would have this
one put together. This shows how easy it may be for the amateur to be
misled as to the age of a faked article in which an early date has been
worked. I found it in a shop on the North Pier at Blackpool, and was
informed it was bought at an old farm sale near Preston. (Plate XI)


MAHOGANY CHESTS OF DRAWERS

When I bought the dwarf chest shown on Plate XVI, it was fitted
with black wooden knobs which could not have been on many years. On
examination, marks were sufficiently clear to enable me to judge to a
nicety the design of the brass plates the original handles would drop
on to; so I had five cut, and looked up some old handles and fasteners.
Then I was able to give the chest its original appearance.

The large chest shown on Plate XV really is a beautiful piece of
furniture, complete with its imposing brass ring handles, original and
perfect in every way just as I bought it. The workmanship is of high
class, and the long secret drawer at the top has made a good hiding
place for a large number of amulets. The drawers are in smooth running
condition, and the oak linings are a fine example of good work, while
the mahogany cannot be beaten. It came from the sign of “Uncle will
oblige.”

[Illustration: Birch, Veneered Rosewood, Folding Table (Satinwood
Inlay). Tea Caddy (Rosewood).

Mahogany Table (Satin-wood Inlay, Drop Ends).

PLATE XIV.]

[Illustration: Mahogany Chest of Drawers (Satinwood Inlay).

Dishes: Davenport, Leeds, Copeland. Bowls: Bow, Chelsea, Plymouth, Bow.

PLATE XV.]

The chest with bureau fitment on Plate XIII is, I believe, a very rare
specimen; it has one small and three large drawers, and is provided
with a pull-out drawer, fitted to answer the purpose of a bureau. I was
passing along a street in a busy town when I saw this standing on the
pavement. Out of curiosity I pulled open the right hand top drawer,
and immediately I realised what happened, enquired the price. “Five
pounds; Mr. Smith is after it.” I paid the money without hesitation, as
the chest was in fine preservation. Mr. Smith came after it about five
minutes after it had been fetched away in the cart which I had sent
after it about five minutes after I had walked back, it having taken me
about five minutes to accomplish this; and so Mr. Smith was left “in
the cart.” Moral--Go snap on a bargain.


TEA CADDY

I must apologise for having omitted to introduce a dear old friend
earlier but I cannot let you complete this course without making her
acquaintance. Her well preserved appearance coated with a rosewood
overall, the rings she carries at her sides and her dainty claw feet
must claim your notice. She has no hesitation in allowing you at any
time to admire her tight fitting combinations which contain her black
and green teas. I have lifted her covering to reveal her velvet lining
which has stood the wear, without a tear, for more years than you will
credit her with. With what tender care she has nurtured her Waterford
Glass Sugar bowl now raised with her fittings for your inspection. She
has never lost sight of her little Sheffield Plate spoon which has
caddied for her on every occasion when her numerous admirers needed
the cup which soothes. Taking all her good qualities into consideration
we must pardon her desire to have her photo taken too. (Plate XIV)

I appear to have touched on nearly all the Furniture objects I have
found it convenient to photograph indoors, and as I am not stocktaking
or compiling a catalogue we will pass on to the second course.

[Illustration: Dwarf Chest of Drawers with Hepplewhite Mirror, 2 ft. 6
in. high, 2 ft. 3 in. wide.

PLATE XVI.]

[Illustration: Oak Chest with Oak Cupboard (_see p._ 31).

PLATE XVII.]



_SECOND COURSE_

Old Pewter

 The First Pint--Progress--The Total--Congratulation--My Irish
 Friend--Sacks Full--Mistaken Identity--A Warm Time--Marks--Excise
 Stamping--First Act, 1826--Candlesticks--Church Pewter--The
 Basin--Faked Pewter--Plates and Dishes--Irish and Scotch--Tappit
 Hens--Whisky Stoups--Britannia Metal Enquiry--Cleaning--The
 Tinsmith--The “Odamifino”--The Pewter Pot--The Mystery Piece.


There is an old axiom that “a man is no good unless he has a hobby,”
but some of my friends say I have been no use since I took up the
collection of old pewter. Many may wonder what induced a busy man to
go to the trouble of getting together a collection like that shown
in the photographs. It all arose through my rummaging in a broker’s
while waiting for a friend who was looking for old books, and finding
a mug which was dirty and black with neglect but inscribed, “Canteen,
70th Regiment.” My curiosity was aroused, and I became the owner. On
submitting this to a tinsmith it was pronounced to be old pewter, and
from the time it was polished, fifteen years ago, I have been on the
look out for more. The experience I soon gained taught me that the
collectors of old pewter mainly belonged to that class with whom money
is little object, and that what they strived to obtain were very old,
unique pieces, communion vessels and historical specimens, quite out of
the reach of an ordinary householder. This I recognised when visiting
an exhibition of Old Pewter at Clifford’s Inn Hall in 1908.

It must be patent to any reader that if those were the only articles
of interest that were worth securing for exhibition purposes then the
rest of the old stuff occasionally turning up might as well go to the
melting pot for solder, the fate of so many tons in years gone by, and
even now men in ignorance of the antique value of old pewter are daily
melting specimens which would be fit to decorate many a shelf. I have
given much attention to British pewter; the old associations appeal to
my imagination, and I have never been drawn to foreign specimens.

If you suffer from a good memory you will recall that Wolsey said to
Cromwell, “Take an inventory of all I possess.” Now if he had as many
pieces in such variety of any one line as I have of old pewter, then
Wolsey was giving Cromwell something to do, and as pewter was knocking
about in those days he may have had a fair collection. I cannot
pretend to describe many of my pieces, but I present the reader with a
selection of photographs, and I hope these will, to a certain extent,
speak for themselves; anyway they give a good idea of the effect a
large collection of pewter has on the home, and on the patience of
those who attend to the dusting. Space has not permitted me actually
to show in my rooms or have in the house more than 500 pieces, but I
have, as opportunity occurred, kept on improving the specimens on view,
and I could best do this by letting the stuff come in whenever I heard
of any likely lots, out of which I selected what I fancied, getting
rid of duplicates, pieces I did not care for, and sending modern and
worthless things to be melted.

So far back as 1908--since when my collection has much improved--I had
the pleasure of exchanging photographs with a great connoisseur of old
pewter, and I was very gratified when he wrote to me as follows:

“There is so much that is worse than valueless in most collections;
so much unnecessary repetition, that large collections become
irritatingly monotonous. Although your pieces are often repeated, the
repetition represents always an interesting variation; and this feature
contributes the element of evolution which is always interesting, and
without which no collection is complete or satisfactory. I congratulate
you, therefore, upon your possessions, and think you have done
remarkably well during the short time. Could you let me see the two
‘salts’ marked on the photo?”

I sent the two “salts,” and he remarked, “The little one is
particularly interesting as it is a reversible one, the only specimen I
have seen.”

That special “salt” is the queer looking little thing in the centre
of the salt group, and I am giving it more space than its size or
appearance seem to warrant. It was first caught sight of in a shop at
Leeds, where a broker had it filled with black varnish into which he
was dipping his brush, while he was giving an artistic touch-up to
some of his stock. The hunter spotted pewter, and after some little
chaff was told he could have it if he would bring something that would
do for holding the varnish; this he bought at a shop not far off, and
the change was soon effected. It is a curious specimen, for whichever
way it stands it will hold the salt, but in its present position it
will hold more than twice as much as when it is placed the other way
uppermost.

The results of my hunting and advertising not keeping pace with my
ambition for more, I secured the assistance of a friend in Ireland,
who proved to be a friend indeed. He had a dog which was constantly
jumping on the sofa and chairs, so he called him Zacchæus because “he
was everlastingly telling him to come down.”

Have you heard of “Phil the Fluter”? I had not until I heard our
friend warble of the wonderful effect the execution of that phenomenal
flautist produced upon his hearers, but I imagine the charm attained
would be as comparable with that of my Irish friend as modern is to
antique, while he has a tongue that would “wile a bird off a tree.”
Like Father O’Flynn he’d “a wonderful way wid him, the young and
ould sinners were wishful to trade wid him.” I am not digressing
but adorning the tale to point the moral. With his cheery manner he
succeeded all the time to such an extent that I had to wire him “Hold!
enough.” Later when other collectors sought my help to get them Irish
measures he reported “Too late, the Jews have been round and bought
up the lot. Why did you stop me just when I was getting my hand in?”
Explanatory of my reason for cancelling my early instructions, let me
give the following. I was impatient to make a show, so told him to buy
all the pewter plates he came across. A few days after seventy arrived
in two filthy dirty sacks, the state of which corresponded fairly well
with the appearance of their contents. He apologised later for the
condition of the sacks which “he had borrowed from a place where they
had just skinned a dead horse.” Some of these plates bore marks and a
few others crests, but as the former owners had a strange custom of
polishing the backs with sand, the marks were mostly rubbed off, and
as they never cleaned the fronts, my getting that consignment into
exhibition form required some trouble and expense, but as the Tommy
said after getting C.B. for being absent without leave, “It was worth
it.”

Referring to this consignment and to the sacks in conversation later
he expressed no wonder at my people complaining when they and their
contents were dumped in the washhouse, as he thought they were a trifle
high after he found the boots of the hotel, where he had to spend a
night, had put them in his bedroom! Worse than that, however, happened
the following day. He had left them at one end of the station platform
with a porter, that they might go in the guard’s van, while he went
to another part of the train and joined some friends. He had just got
seated when the porter who must have followed him with the sacks on a
truck, opened the door and enquired, “Will your honour have these suit
cases in the carriage wid yer?”

The miscellaneous articles which arrived at frequent intervals were
wellnigh confusing, and it kept me busy finding out what many of them
were really for, but when I found a pewter harp with a screw attached
I was so bewildered I wrote and asked him what on earth this harp was
out of, and he settled my mind by replying, “I thought it had come down
from heaven.”

On one occasion I saw quite a number of pieces in a shop where I
had now and then found an odd one, and after making a few purchases
enquired the reason for this amazing influx, when I was informed,
“You see it’s this way; there’s a lady who’s got a husband who’s been
collecting pewter until she’s got fed up, so as he’s gone off for a few
days she asked me to call and take the lot away, as she is not going
to have any more of the dirty stuff about.” Sequel--they lived happily
ever after.

For a time I adopted the practice of getting men I knew to save pewter
for me, and, as my rambles permitted, calling on them periodically.
On one occasion I was looking through the window of a marine store at
---- when I noticed something I was on the look-out for. I entered, and
enquired, “How about the pewter?” The old fellow replied:

“Hello, you’ve come at last? It must be six months since you asked me
to save any bits that came in.”

“Oh, well,” I said, “it’s better late than never,” and paid him what he
asked.

I had never visited the place before. Reader, I hope you have never
been the victim of mistaken identity.

You will recollect the story I told of my friend who brought me my
first eight-day clock. In talking over reminiscences lately, I asked
if he remembered assisting me to get pewter. Instantly he replied,
“Remember! I shall remember it to my dying day. I was at Sneinton
(Nottingham), and I asked a marine store man had he any pewter. He
said, ‘Not here, but I have any amount at my Radford place.’ Now
Radford was out of my way, but I thought I would do you a good turn, so
I padded there, about twenty minutes’ walk--it was warm. When I got
there, I was offered about half a hundredweight of zinc that I should
think had for a few years previously been fastened on a pub counter. Of
course I had to walk back, and I never felt so hot in my life.”


MARKS

This is an all important subject to some collectors and I feel I ought
to treat it with a consideration bordering on veneration, but anyone
who has had to put up with the queries I have been compelled to answer,
which has necessitated my fetching the step-ladder to bring down plates
from shelves in order that the marks may be examined, would have the
reverential esteem knocked out of him. On one occasion a lady who had
taken a superficial look at my display remarked “What a number of
pieces you have. Do they all bear the London mark?”

I was taken aback as I was unaware she was so well up in the subject,
but when she informed me she had begun to collect and had already
bought a 5s. half-pint tankard with a cross and crown stamped on the
bottom, which the seller had assured her was the London mark, then I
understood.

When another visitor asked, “Is it all marked?” I replied that I
collected makes, not marks, and that was why I had such a variety of
pieces, and that many of my most interesting specimens never bore any.

Those readers who want solid books of reference on this point will find
them among the works issued by authors whose names are well known and
to whose remarkable patience in probing into the past I am under a
debt of gratitude. I must add that from information received a work is
coming out which will be quite the last word on old pewter, its makers,
and marks. I will here repeat a statement which has been printed in
almost every book on old pewter since the flood of 1667--viz.: that the
early touch plates of makers’ marks were destroyed in the Great Fire of
London.

With the aid of my old watchmaker’s magnifying glass, 2¼ inches
diameter, cased in horn and hinged on an iron rivet to shut up and
carry in the pocket, I have just examined the fine quart tankard
stamped “Js Dixon” in three small panels. This was no doubt James
Dixon’s mark just after he lost his partner Smith, who had been with
him since 1809, and as he took his son into the business in 1824, this
mark I think, would only have been used for about twelve months, and
must be very scarce. Underneath the maker’s name I see the first Excise
mark, “WR” surmounted with a small crown. Next I find an imperfect
impression which looks like “NOXO,” but I can make no sense out of
that; then I discover a stamp “Crown V.R. 106,” and another with a
Crown between the letters “V.R.” also the figures “50,” these all
denoting that at least three inspectors have passed this tankard as up
to the standard at different periods of its useful career.

Now I came to the most interesting part to my mind, of the outward
signs visible to the naked eye; under the word “QUART,” which is boldly
stamped, there are the initials “T.B.” and a fine large crown with the
date “1823” all neatly engraved with some embellishment. The initial
letters will no doubt be those of the landlord of a licensed house
known as “The Crown,” and the year that in which the tankard was made
for him.

[Illustration: Mahogany Corner-Cupboard with Pewter.

PLATE XVIII.]

[Illustration: Old Pewter.

PLATE XIX.]

 PLATE XIX

 DESCRIBING THE PEWTER

 _First and Second Shelves._ Note the two Tea Infusers in which the tea
 used to be brewed to replenish the small teapots. The Teapot on the
 right of the large Queen Anne is stamped “half-pint,” so will no doubt
 have been in a refreshment house when tea was scarce. The only makers’
 names on the ten are Vickers and Dixon.

 _Third Shelf._ See notes on Church Pewter (page 45). The Dish by Allen
 Bright in centre is 11½ inches across, the Flagon is 9½ inches high.

 _Fourth Shelf._ Hot-water Jug. Jersey Cider or Wine Measure. Two Wine
 Flagons.

 _Top Shelf._ See notes on Tappit Hens and Whisky Stoups (page 54).

I have several other tankards bearing makers’ initials and touch marks,
and I know they were made prior to 1826, which I notice did not come
into the Inspector’s mutilating hand until Queen Victoria was on the
throne. I have just taken down two small measures of an uncommon shape,
a gill and half-gill. They have had a small raised plate soldered on
with raised lettering, “Imperial G. Crown R. IV,” under. They were
excised once “W.R.,” and six times “V.R.”

I have gone to this trouble to make it clear that the Excise marks are
a lame guide to the age of early pewter, as the Weights and Measures
Act which compelled inspection was passed only in 1826. These Excise
marks have been fair game for the antique dealers, one of whom, when
recommending me to buy some of his tankards and measures, which bore a
“Liver” bird as an Excise stamp told me that Lady ---- was collecting
only pewter which bore the Liverpool mark. He seemed surprised at my
ignorance when I told him this was the first time I had heard Liverpool
was celebrated for the manufacture of pewter.


PEWTER CANDLESTICKS

Before going to bed I will just tell you how I got these tall fellows
shown on Plate XX. They were in a greengrocer’s shop window, so I
thought I would buy some apples. I came out with these 10½ inch
candlesticks as well. No, I did _not_ steal them, and they were not
actually given away, but that is not what I wanted to tell you. They
have loose tops and in consequence are extra special. Be sure you blow
out the light. Nearly all pewter tops get melted through the candles
being left burning until they get down to the sockets.

Of the candlesticks in the group I wonder which you will like the best.
I prefer the 7 inch, as they are oblong shape, base pillar and top; the
bottoms have the original wood filling and the very old baize to stand
on. I found these suddenly in the office of a gentleman who perchance
made a lot of money out of me; anyway, shortly after this final
transaction he retired from business, and built and endowed a--cinema.
One candlestick was broken and the other needed repair, and as I could
not clean them in the usual way I sent them to a manufacturer who made
a good job and gave them a polish without injury to the priceless
bottoms. The 4½ inch pair were kindly sent to me by a lady in Norway.
I bought the 8 inch straight pillar pair from a Jew, who later wished
to buy them back as he had found a new customer who would give 30s. for
them. As I have given you these sizes you can easily guess the heights
of the remainder.


CHURCH PEWTER

Church pewter which has been associated with Church worship now gets
more worship than it did in its Church days. Firstly from the dealers,
who seem to be able to get any money they like to ask from some
collectors, who in their turn worship their expensive idols mainly on
account of the satisfaction they experience in the knowledge that no
other collector can worship at the same shrine. The flagon shown on
Plate XIX originally came from Bearley Church, near Stratford-on-Avon.
I was assured by the dealer that “Shakespeare attended Bearley Church.”

[Illustration: Old Pewter.

PLATE XX.]

 PLATE XX

 DESCRIBING THE PEWTER

 _Bottom Shelf._ Pair Bedroom Candlesticks with loose tops and
 extinguishers. Quaint Teapot. Tea Caddy. Chocolate Pot. Two-handled
 and one-handled Caudle Cups.

 _First Shelf._ Spill Bowl inscribed “43” with crown and bugle, showing
 it belonged to the Leinster Regiment. Seven Beakers. Funnel dated 1698.

 _Second Shelf._ Tobacco Jars. The two end ones are of lead, the one on
 the left being made by hand. The other is cast, and has on each side a
 reproduction of “The Last Supper” by Leonardo Da Vinci, very clearly
 moulded, while it is fitted with the old oak bottom fastened with iron
 studs.

 _Third Shelf._ Three Baluster-shaped Wine Measures. Four Irish
 Measures. Five Measures.

 _Fourth and Top Shelves._ See notes on Candlesticks (page 44).

[Illustration: Old Pewter.

PLATE XXI.]

 PLATE XXI

 DESCRIBING THE PEWTER

 _Bottom Shelf._ Spice Box. Spice Dredger. Box Inkstand. Sand Sprinkler
 for drying the ink. Tray with Sheffield Plate Snuffers. Snuff Holder.
 Scotch Token Box.

 _First Shelf._ At either end three Measures. Four Wine Cups. Three
 Measures in centre.

 _Second Shelf._ Flask; top screws in and not on--a peculiarity of
 early Flasks. Wine Bottle Stand. Pap Boat and two Castor Oil Spoons
 (see notes). Rat-tail Toddy Ladles. Mould for Clay Eggs. Small Tea
 Caddy. Odd-shaped Flask.

 _Third Shelf._ Tinder Box. Sandwich Case. Combined Sandwich Case and
 Flask. Saddle Flask and Cup. Tea Caddy. Snuff Box. Cigar Case.

 _Fourth Shelf._ Peppers, except centre, which is probably for sugar.

 _Fifth Shelf._ Double-ended Egg-cup. Egg-cup from St. Bees Lighthouse.
 Salts--three-legged, dated 1801. Glass-lined. Reversible. French.
 Three-legged Sphinx. Swan. Plain. Three-legged early Elkington. Two
 Egg-cups.

 _Sixth Shelf._ Mustards. The three largest have fixed glass lining.

 _Top Shelf._ Queen Victoria and Prince Albert with date 1840. Irish
 Harp. Cream Jugs and Sugar Basin (J. Vickers). Centre Cream and one
 adjoining are blue glass lined, and the fitting of the Pewter cover
 denotes careful workmanship.

“Did he read the lessons?”

“Of course, that’s why he went.”

After this I felt compelled to buy it.

I have some alms-dishes which may have done serious duty and I have
one which I feel sure has never been inside any sacred building. I
have also an old two-handled cup and a pair of collecting plates from
the old Runcorn Baptist Chapel, which was erected soon after 1800
and closed about 1880; a small private set, paten and chalice and an
engraved Scotch chalice, and I will embellish these notes by relating
the extraordinary circumstance which brought the latter into my fold at
a time when I was yearning for something sacramental.

I was in my office and had just put down a pewter snuffers-tray when a
traveller for a Scottish firm was announced. As soon as the interview
commenced he opened his bag to get out his samples, when my eye chanced
to catch a glimpse of something almost hidden by a sleeping garment
and my instinct spotted pewter. He told his tale and waited for an
indication of the impression he had created, which was conveyed to him
in this form.

“Excuse me, but was that a piece of old pewter I caught sight of in
your bag?”

“Yes, sir; are you interested in old pewter? I slept the night in
Warrington and I saw this in a shop as I was going to the station; I
think it is an old rose-bowl, and I shall be pleased to give it to you
if you will have it.”

Of course, I couldn’t think of such a thing, but I should be glad to
exchange with him for a snuffers-tray I had on my desk. He assured me
that he would be delighted, and as I always endeavour to give pleasure
to others I fetched the tray. That gentleman secured a contract and a
tray and left me with thanks and a seventeenth-century Scotch chalice.
You never know your luck when collecting.

But for my awkward conscience I should include the basin shown on Plate
VI, this being sold as “a vestry piece.” It may have been used by
the parson, or for washing the Communion vessels, anyway I preferred
to believe the dealer, and gave it a conspicuous position, which the
ladies objected to, and I found it relegated to the rear. On seeking
an explanation, and calling it “a vestry piece,” I retired hurt, so to
speak, by the remark “Vestry! Why my aunt had a thing like that, in
which she made us children wash our hands,” and then, still so gently
o’er me stealing, memory would bring back the feeling of us youngsters
having been caused to do the same very necessary performance in a
similar utensil, with cold water from the pump at the old house at home
fifty to sixty years ago.


FAKED PEWTER

I had not been many years a collector before I found spurious Communion
cups and Communion sets were on the market and I obtained some very
enlightening information, much of which I cannot publish. It was the
practice to blacken the new pieces with acid to give them an appearance
of age, and I heard of an instance relating to hundredweights of faked
pewter, but I am coming straight to the point and the photographs
on Plates XXV and XXVI will corroborate my statement. I was further
informed that they were making deep dishes out of old bedpans,
preserving the maker’s mark on the bottom. I had had a bedpan hidden
away in the stable loft for some time, and I decided to prove how far
this information was correct. The pan had come from Ireland with a box
full of “gatherings,” and I had almost decided to sell it to be melted.

I eventually wrote to a firm of pewter manufacturers explaining the
conversion I wished to have effected, and they informed me they would
do the job if I would say whether I wanted a deep dish or a shallow
one and what width of rim I desired. In about three weeks after I had
sent them the bedpan I received the fine deep (alms) dish bearing the
maker’s name and mark--Joseph Austen--well preserved, proving the
article was made in Cork over 100 years ago. It looks very well indeed
and I have never had its virtue questioned; in fact when I have told
visitors they have been greatly astonished, while a few have been hard
to convince.

Now you understand my remark that I had one “alms dish” that had never
been inside a sacred edifice.

  _When the Pewterer’s done his pewtering,
  And his work is quite au fait:
  When his making’s turned to faking,
  And the marks are left O.K.;
  The collector sees, and then agrees,
  The pewter must be old.
  Now doubts arise, before his eyes,
  He fears that he’s been sold._


PLATES AND DISHES

These under the eye of the camera are more or less alike, especially
more--then let it suffice the reader to learn that I have forty small
and thirty large of various sizes displayed wherever a likely space
is available without giving a too crowded appearance. They nearly all
bear makers’ marks or owners’ crests or initials, or evidence that they
have been put to good use at some time or other. I have been told that
when these big chaps were in vogue the various conglomerations forming
the meal were heaped together and formed a goodly pile, so there is no
doubt of the authenticity of the story of the Scottish farmer with a
prodigious appetite at a Rent Dinner who when they wanted to take away
his plate said “Bide awee for I hae just found a doo (pigeon) in the
reddin o’ ma plate.”

As regards the rims, while I know some enthusiastic collectors could
talk for a week on this feature, which to the uneducated suggests
distinction without a difference, I will not labour the point.

I saw some very bright 9 inch plates in London recently with ornamental
rims, and out of curiosity enquired the price. I was told 25s. each,
but the information that they were Dutch was not vouchsafed.

Probably my “pride of the paddock” plate is one on Plate XIX (facing
p. 43). It has a raised bead running round the centre of the rim,
is thought to be early eighteenth century, and was made by Allen
Bright, who has since retired from business. Judging by its shape it
should pass muster as a genuine alms dish; though it may have been
constructed to hold pennies in the kirk, I think it just as likely it
held puddings in the kitchen--a thought inspired by the old knife-cuts
on the bottom.

I have referred to the Irish plates being scoured on the back, and
wiped on the front. Apropos of this remark I have a set of eight with
the crest of a sea-horse on the rim; the marks are all obliterated,
with the exception of the word “Jonas,” and by the lettering I was able
to identify it as made by Jonas Durand about 1660. I also have three
plates with the crest which represents the red hand of Ulster, and I
believe they would originally be the property of an old Derbyshire
family that has an estate in Ireland.

I have one very rare plate inasmuch as it bears on its surface ten rows
of tap marks made with a round-headed hammer. The number in each circle
lessens until they get down to seven, which surround the centre tap.
This plate bears the initials and touch impression of the maker, which
are undecipherable, but that does not worry me. I would far rather have
the uncommon surface and indistinct marks than plain marks and a smooth
surface. The strange thing is that if anyone wants a plate to, perhaps,
stand a pot on, and there is no pottery one handy, or the artistic eye
thinks a certain pot or flower would go better with a pewter than with
a coloured pottery plate, they invariably lift this one off the dresser
shelf, when any of the others would do equally well. This must stop, as
I find the treatment does not improve its peculiar appearance.

On the first shelf of the oak dresser (Plate VI) there are four Scotch
plates made by William Hunter, of Edinburgh, 1749-1773. The fronts must
always have been well polished, for they shine like silver now. The
backs have been kept clean, though not scoured, as the maker’s name
and touchmarks are quite distinct. One pair were called “meatplates”
and the other “pudding” or “porridge plates.” The latter are deep and
would pass for collecting-plates among church pewter in some hands. My
obtaining possession of these from the shelves of a farm kitchen in
Scotland is an illustration of the proverb that kissing goes by favour.
I wish I could obtain more in the same very agreeable manner.

As evidence of the age of the plates and dishes I give the following
list of makers’ names, and the approximate dates when they were making
these things hum. For most of my records I have searched my books of
reference, and when these have failed me I have appealed to Mr. H. H.
Cotterell, a great authority on marks, who has very kindly furnished me
with the information required whenever possible.

  Allen Bright            1750
  J. Baskervile           1695
  R. Chambers
  Tudor Rose              Early 17th century
  T. Compton              1807
  Thorne, London
  George Seymour          1768
  Brown                   17th century
  G. Smith                1676
  G. Smith                1790
  Jonas Durand            1658
  William Hunter          1750
  John French             1687
  Charles Clarke (Irish)  1790
  John Duncomb            1730

I must mention a pair of very rare plates of special shape with tooled
borders. Two holes are drilled in each, and it is probably due to the
fact that some vandal has scratched the name “Lizzie” on them that they
have not been put to the use for which they were intended, namely, to
embellish the drop handles of an old-time coffin. When an obliging
broker told me he had a couple of plates he had saved for me, and then
produced these ghastly things, I was rendered mute.


TAPPIT HENS (Plate XIX, facing p. 43).

  _“Paint Scotland greetin owre her thrissle;
  Her mutchkin-stoup as toom’s a whissle.”_

  BURNS.

Well she may with whisky at half a guinea a bottle!

When we were in Barmouth we stayed at the Cors-y-gedll Hotel, and when
I asked the landlord, who up to that point had been the personification
of geniality, “What is the meaning of Cors-y-gedll?” he blurted out,
“Nobody knows; everybody asks me that question,” and left me abruptly.
I was not a collector of old pewter in those days, but I can now fully
appreciate the cause of his irritability, for the number of times I
have been asked, “What is the meaning of ‘Tappit Hens’?” leaves me
tired. I once suggested that the name may have originated because they
tappited to see if it was empty or not, only to be further puzzled by
the query “But why hen?” and I could only suggest that “It cackled
whenever it laid an egg,” which was condemned as an inane joke, which
if I had any conceit of myself as a humorist I should never repeat.

Having read so much about Tappit Hens, I have known all about the
history a long time ago, and I have forgotten most of it. The name for
a Scottish pint measure of a certain shape was “Tappit Hen,” which held
two quarts (Imperial). A “Chopin” held a quart and a “Mutchkin” an
Imperial pint. My photograph shows a pair of Tappit Hens and a Chopin.

After Tappit Hens came the lidded whisky stoups which were in use
in Scotland from 1826 to about 1870, when an Act was passed to do
away with profiteering by short measure, and so the use of lids was
prohibited.

As inspired individuals began to buy up the original Tappit Hens the
supply gave out, so the dealers elevated the whisky stoups to the
designation of the former. I do not exaggerate, for I have seen Tappit
Hens advertised, and had them sent on approval, only to find the much
less valued stoup, or pot-bellied measures as they were often called.
Now I suppose they are getting done up, and that any old thing with
a lid on is a Tappit Hen. Anyway, I was told by a gentleman, whose
knowledge and experience of his profession are much greater than they
can be of Scottish pewter, that he had just bought a French Tappit Hen!

In all my travels I have only been offered the genuine article
once, and that was in Glasgow some years back, and as I already had
two of the same size I did not buy, although it would have been a
good investment at the price at which I could then have purchased
it. The three imposing Tappit Hen shaped measures I have bear on the
lids the imprints of the initials of a fine family, whose old grey
stone hall still stands in its lonely but grand surroundings on the
Pentland Hills, of which I am constantly reminded by the kindness of a
descendant, who placed these treasures in my hands.

I am not a statistician, but I dare hazard an opinion that there are
ten or may be twenty times more “Tappit Hens” in existence to-day than
ever were made.

It is now time I tapped Burns again:

  _“Come, bring the tither mutchkin in,
  And here’s, for a conclusion.”_


BRITANNIA METAL

This name puts me on my mettle, and as the uncertainty of what is the
difference between pewter and Britannia metal has not to my knowledge
been clearly explained I intend to deal with this question somewhat
didactically.

I was so struck with the effect of turning my 70th Regiment pint pot
from a dirty disused mug into a pleasurable thing that I visited all
likely shops for some few miles round and bought up everything I
thought and was told was old pewter, and I soon had more than would
fill a corner cupboard, which I had lined with blue velvet to show it
off. Then I bought “Marks on Old Pewter,” by W. Redman, which was the
only book bearing on the subject I could hear of, and in it I read:

 “The manufacture of goods in Britannia (white metal) was an important
 18th century addition to the Sheffield industries. Whether James Dixon
 or James Vickers commenced first to make this kind of ware we are not
 able to say. It is said that James Vickers bought for five shillings
 from a sick man whom he happened to be visiting a recipe for making
 white metal. The experiment turned out a great success, and for years
 both these firms were kept busy making all kinds of articles of what
 was called Britannia metal. Now these old articles are often called
 pewter, which is a mistake; neither of these firms made any pewter
 ware. Alloy: 80 per cent. tin, 10 per cent. antimony, and a little
 copper.”

This was rather a blow, as some of my purchases were stamped “Britannia
Metal” and a few others “B.M.E.P.,” although the electro-plate was
mostly worn off, giving the things a pewter-like look. Next I obtained
a short history of the firm of James Dixon and Sons, and found they
did make pewter in their early days. I also learned from a history of
Sheffield in the 18th Century that Vickers started making money and
Britannia metal at the end of that period, so this stuff seemed ancient
enough.

I now had the pleasure of obtaining “Old Pewter,” by Malcolm Bell, and
found among the illustrations articles of which I had duplicates, one
of which was a pepper-pot, and this reminds me that when I went in for
this and inquired the price, and was told fourpence, I repeated the
word “fourpence!” which immediately drew the rejoinder “Yes, fourpence,
it’s half full of pepper.” From the trouble I had in getting out that
solid pepper, I rather think the pewter must have been built round it.

I opened a correspondence with Mr. Bell, and he most courteously and
kindly gave me every assistance. In one of his letters he wrote: “I
must confess that for my own part I could not pretend to draw any hard
and fast line between pewter and Britannia metal, for though one can
tell the difference between the extreme types by the eye the varieties
merge so gradually into each other that the boundary is indefinable.
In fact, hard metal pewter with 96 parts tin, 8 of antimony, and 2 of
copper is practically identical with the Britannia metal containing
92 parts of tin, 8 of antimony, and 2 of copper,” which was what I
expected. Consequently I have among my lot many pieces which may have
been sold as Britannia metal in the old days, but I would defy anyone
to pick them out and prove them not to be pewter.

I asked Mr. Redman to come over and see me, and he readily did so.
After he had gone, and from remarks he had made, I gathered he had been
more impressed by the kindness of my partner than with the quality
of some of my pewter. The result of this interview was that I never
refused anything in the pewter line of mature age, and came to the
conclusion that the difference in the names was a clever move of cute
business men to enable them to charge something extra for their wares
which were made of somewhat harder metal than was being generally used
at the time. I have frequently come across early plates and tankards
that differed materially in their hardness.


MISCELLANEOUS PIECES

PAP-BOAT. On shelf 3, Plate XXI (facing p. 47), I show a specimen of
rarity. Pap-boats would be as common as babies at one time. This one
was bought at Lytham, and was introduced to me as a pig feeder. It is
4½ inches long.

CASTOR-OIL SPOONS. What a fuss they made about taking a dose of castor
oil, or had they not conceived the idea of disguising it between other
liquids? The manipulation of such a spoon was a tricky job, for after
getting it into the mouth a twist would be needed to bring the lid on
to the tongue, the lid would partly drop open and the castor-oil would
then flow gently down the patient’s throat, provided of course there
was no resistance. This forcible feeding was of everyday occurrence.
The larger of the spoons is about seventy years old, and the smaller
about ninety years.

There are eighty-five specimens on Plate XXI, and I believe that the
reader, with the aid of a magnifying glass, will be able to form a very
good idea of each piece. The photographing of the groups generally
entailed quite a lot of work, and some anxiety, for as I do not develop
myself, or, rather, as I do not do my own developing, I had put all the
things back in their places before I knew if the negatives were right.
Fortunately it turned out all the exposures had been correctly timed,
which was more than I anticipated with the varying and often poor
December light.


THE “ODAMIFINO” (Plate XXVI, facing p. 74.).

This was picked up quite recently by a keen collector of rags and bones
and other relics whose glory has departed. It was snapped out of his
day’s doings by a flourishing dealer in anything that blew into his
yard, and it was only by my going over the top of about 10,000 rabbit
skins, the age of which could be more accurately guessed by their
odour than by their sealskin-like appearance, that I caught sight of
it. Then ensued a discussion as to the part this pewter had played in
the past. The R and B collector called it a “Funniosity,” the skin
specialist diagnosed it as a “Cream jug,” while a third gentleman (who
dare not take on any other job than spirit testing while he is drawing
out-of-work pay) said without hesitation, but not very distinctly,
“Odamifino,” with a pronounced emphasis on the second syllable. When I
suggested it might be a barber’s shaving-pot I was immediately ruled
out of that court, as “Barbers never used anything made of pewter.”

Now if any collector can inform me when “Odamifinos” were in vogue,
and why they came into existence, I shall be obliged, and in the
meantime I will consider the cleaning, for is not cleanliness akin to
collectingness? At present it has hardly an appearance suitable to
my cabinet of rarities, while its high-sounding designation suggests
that as its proper environment, and yet I have in mind the quip of
that inveterate humorist Froude, “A thing of beauty is a joy for
ever,” muttered at the Annual Meeting of the Peace Congress, when
Carlyle chipped in with a chuckle, “Rough hew them as we will,” to
be capped by that infernal joker Dante with the remark, “You cannot
paint the lily whiter.” At this point Mr. Chairman Darwin brought back
the members to their customary somnolence with the admonition: “Come,
gentlemen, please, don’t ape the silly goat. The next subject for
consideration is ‘Shaving--should each customer have fresh water?’”


CLEANING

This was a great source of trouble to me and to those associated with
my home life, and it was not until I had strained their patience almost
to the separation point that I was informed: “You really must make some
arrangement for getting the pewter cleaned elsewhere, as the maids have
given warning they cannot put up with the master messing up the kitchen
any longer. Half the saucepans are ruined, as of course they could not
be used after having that filthy stuff in them.”

I started boiling corroded pieces and letting them soak in washing
soda all night, but found this made no impression on those which had
been most neglected, while some came bright after a good scouring with
hot water and Brookes’s soap, being later polished with methylated
spirit and plate powder. I may here advise the reader that the latter
treatment is all I now find necessary to furbish up my stock and keep
it presentable.

I will not dwell further on my early difficulties, but relate how they
were overcome. At the time I was almost overwhelmed with putrid plates,
dishes, and other things I had received Mr. Redman came to my rescue
with the following recipe:

“2 oz. rock lime, 2 oz. caustic soda, 6 oz. common salt, 8 oz. common
soda, dissolve in 3 quarts of water in a saucepan on the fire. When
dissolved pour into a bowl, and when cold add eight quarts of cold
water. Steep as long as necessary as much pewter as the liquid will
cover, and the bath can be used until the liquor has lost its nature.”

I had a mixture made in a bath and let the things lie in this until
the corrosion was easily wiped off, and I entrusted this job to a man
who had been used to cleaning machinery and whose practical knowledge
and serviceable hands made him far more competent than his employer.
I never had the surface of the pewter injured in any way with the
strong solution, and so long as the rubbing with the coarse flannel
and Brookes’s soap was done the way of the grain--that is, circular or
round and round--no scratching was apparent. When I say I have dealt
with no fewer than 1,450 pieces the reader may gather that the trouble
and expense has not been trifling.

I hope this information in regard to cleaning may be of value to many
amateurs, to whom I wish good luck.

In case some curious minds may wonder how I account for the difference
between the total given and the 500 pieces I stated I now have I do not
mind disclosing that I sent a lot of it to a friend at New York who
was anxious to exhibit his old family plate, and I learnt when he was
last over that as the brightness I had been at such pains to secure
militated, in his opinion, against the appearance of antiquity he had
abstained from further cleaning, and that the pewter was now looking
quite old.

I believe I must have earned that friend’s undying gratitude, for
did I not provide him with his great-great-grandfather’s clock, and
further spared him and shipped out an early dated Broadwood grand
piano, which I had previously converted into a dressing-table, and
which he has since discovered is the identical instrument that his
great-great-grandmother used for the five-finger exercise?


THE TINSMITH

I have mentioned that on some occasions I found it necessary to send
pewter to the manufacturers, but I have scores of pieces which only
required slight repairs--soldering, straightening and reshaping--such
as an accomplished tinsmith could manage. Fortunately I found the man
of the hour, day, month, and year, and not far off, and I cannot say
how much time I spent in his workshop. He was always very busy, and if
I sent him anything to do I never knew when I should see it again, so
I had to resort to taking it myself and waiting until it was finished,
otherwise it would be half done and then laid aside while he went out
to pick a lock, or put down while he mended a kettle or something that
was most urgently required. Really the way he handled my pewter was
terribly fascinating, making pieces so hot at times and putting them
so close to his fire that I positively trembled for fear they would be
ruined altogether, but he never made a mistake.

His favourite expression was, “You understand me,” so the reader will
appreciate that these three words kept coming into his conversation
in the most unexpected places. “It was a good job--you understand
me--that church was burnt out. I got all the organ pipes; I’m using
some of them in this solder--you understand me--about 18 cwt. of them
altogether.”

I took him a big jug to have the handle soldered not long ago. I saw
him start it and said I would call on my way back from the bank. I did
so and found the job only partly done. By way of explanation he said:

“Mr. A. has been in about a freeze--you understand me.”

“No, I’m afraid I don’t. What is a freeze?”

“A refrigerator for milk.”

“Oh, will you be much longer?”

In the course of my many entertaining interviews I learnt that he first
went into a shop when he was aged 8, in the year 1847. Tinsmiths then
used to fix all gaspipes, and I have found out since that Westminster
Bridge was first illuminated with gas in 1813. But to go back to my
confrère. He did not stop in the shop long, as he was sent to school
for about twelve months. The school was in a cellar, with forms round,
on which there was always a birch-rod handy, and as the schoolmaster
had been a soldier he knew how to use it, and my friend added: “You
understand me--there were no inspectors in those days.”

It was on the floor of this workshop that I literally “picked up” the
James Dixon quart tankard which I described under _Marks_. It lay
amongst other scrap pewter in a dark corner, ready for going into the
melting-pot, when I kicked against it and so prolonged its life. It is
now 96.

I am afraid my tinsmith is no respecter of old age, for he is at the
time I write this only eighty, and when I congratulated him upon his
steady hand and wonderful eyesight he smiled and said: “My mother was
ninety-one, and she didn’t know what spectacles meant.”

More power to his elbow.

[Illustration: Pewter Snuff Boxes.

PLATE XXII.]

[Illustration: Pewter Pots (All inscribed except the top row).

PLATE XXIII.]


CONCLUSION

I have little more to say on the subject of old pewter generally, as
the Tavern Measures are given an article on their own. Of course, I
have left the photographs to do most of the talking, and I hope they
have risen equal to the occasion. Next to the fascination of collecting
comes the pleasure of exhibiting to an appreciative audience, and
this brings to mind a delightful evening when a young witty Canadian
went through my show, and at the conclusion, in the naïvest manner
possible, said: “I have asked you a great many questions, sir, but as I
am undecided in my mind I thought before I left I had better enquire,
‘does the pewter go with your daughter?’”


THE PEWTER POT

Half a century ago Winchester Cathedral in the winter was decidedly
cold, and on occasions some of those small choir boys, who found little
warmth and comfort from their white linen surplices, now and then
collapsed during the services. Candles may have answered the purpose of
providing all the illumination required, but they were hardly a flaming
success for heating purposes. In the records of the deliberation of the
Dean and Chapter at that time there would be a resolution to pay Mr.
Edward Sheppard, of the Bishop’s Palace, a certain sum to provide each
of the youthful songsters entrusted to his care with a pot of porter
each day with their dinners. Which denotes there was no Pussyfoot in
that Chapter. Mr. Sheppard, whose name I use with all respect, was
most particular as to his pupils’ cleanliness, and every morning held
a hand and neck inspection in the long hall by the entrance door. To
illustrate that he had a mind for the internal as well as the external
frames which filed past him he once a week, being provided with a bowl
of brimstone and treacle, administered a tablespoonful to each boy.
If Mr. Sheppard had given the same scrutiny to the big can in which
the porter was drawn from the barrel there would have been no heel
taps in our pewter pots, but as the can was rarely washed out, and the
porter left from one day was frothed up when being filled the next, the
result, so far as benefit to the boys was concerned, must have been
flat, stale, and unprofitable.

No writer refers oftener to the pewter pot than does Charles Dickens,
and he might have said of me, as he did of Master Micawber, “He was
brought up to the Church.”

In the book of the chronicles of Pickwick the reader can easily find
the text suitable for my discourse. That great and good man with his
host of friends used the pewter pot with such effect that it would be
a national scandal to allow it to be relegated to the lumber shop. Old
Pickwick and old pewter are synonymous, and so let us keep his memory
alive by preserving the main medium of his hospitable and generous
nature. Time is changing everything so ruthlessly that unless some of
us have a care the passing of the pewter pot will become an absolute
fact. To guard against such a calamity, and to preserve models of a
commodity which played so important a part in the episodes that made
life in England all the brighter for its presence in past centuries, I
have gathered together a representative array of old pewter pots, many
bearing quaint inscriptions, which, if they could speak for themselves,
would enable me to treat you to a chapter replete with true stories of
adventure, love, crime, deeds of chivalry, and scenes of woe which no
imagination could evolve.

What of the “70th Regiment” cup? What stirring episodes has that been
through?--among others, probably the Afghan War of 1840. I do know
that the “Shipwrights’ Arms’, Limehouse Hole,” pint took part in, and
survived, the Indian Mutiny bivouacs and battlefields, as it was given
by the then landlord to a soldier just before leaving home. I specially
prize this; it has written on the front before the address the name,
“D. Saul,” alongside which is the toper’s big initial, “K,” and the
number of his peg or hook on which it hung, “55,” on the bottom. This
number would be seen when looked up at from the floor.

If Pickwick has us in hand, we shun the battle and resort to the
bottle, so let us look in at the “Windmill, Dartford,” and see what
manner of men were there. Surely not smugglers on the banks of the
Thames? Of about the same period, what was the “Wellington, Shepherd’s
Bush,” like? Rather a swagger inn, probably, judging by the beaded
pattern of the mug, which was supplied or made by “W. R. Loftus, 146,
Oxford Street,” who has been, and will be, a long time dead. At the
“Feathers” at Chiswick, and “Hope,” Islington, they must have had
quite high-class callers, or why the lip on the tankards unless it
were to pour the contents into beakers? The customers at all inns were
so diversified in character that I see no reason why the same measure
should not have done for the post-boy on his frequent calls, for the
parish priest on duty bent, or later by the highwayman in a hurry, if
they held it in the left hand and turned the lip of the pot skywards.

From London to the “Blackburn Arms,” Hale, situated on the Mersey, an
old-time village, and home of the Ireland Blackburne family, was a long
journey by road in those days, and the pewter pot would be in great
request. I warrant this particular one was handed back many a time with
a determination to “Have another, and dom the expense.”

When I came across the pint inscribed “Post Office Hotel, Church
Street, Soho,” I wrote to a Fleet Street friend asking him to find out
a likely date for it, and after making enquiries he reported he could
find neither the hotel nor Church Street, and that the oldest man he
had seen in Soho (a sexton, I think) could tell him nothing about
either. The same friend was here one night, and I left him looking at
these pewter pots. I heard a Fleet Street exclamation of surprise,
and when I enquired the reason he held up the “Baker’s Arms’, Waltham
Abbey,” pint, saying, “Why, I was born close to the Baker’s Arms.”

The “Post Office Hotel” brings the post-boy of old to my mind, and I
turn to the oldest book I possess, given to me by my father, in which
he wrote my name in 1861. “The Sporting Scrap Book,” by Henry Alken,
containing fifty plates, designed and engraved by himself, published
by Thomas McLean, 26, Haymarket, 1824. I have always treasured this
book, and the coloured prints are as good to-day as ever. I was
wondering how often the pewter pot appeared in Alken’s drawings, and I
find twice. The first is entitled “The Post-Boy,” who with a pair of
harnessed horses has just called for drinks for himself and his horses,
and no sooner has he got his than he has the pot to his lips. The shape
is similar to the “Post Office Hotel” pint, but probably the “Post-Boy”
needed a quart, for the pewter pot is as tall as his pot hat. In the
second picture Alken shows a pewter pot with almost as much “frill” on
the top as there is round the cap of the woman who holds it, and this
one is also the same shape, which confirms my impression that the “Post
Office Hotel” pint pot is about 100 years old.

I now turn my attention from the handy pints to the capacious
quart pots, just the things to wash down a breakfast with; pause
and conjecture what “lovely” thirsts they must have had! It was
quite the custom to put the landlord’s monogram on the front, and
the name of the tavern on the bottom of the mugs; there again is a
theme for reflection. As a reason, I think we may assume there were
kleptomaniacs, souvenir hunters, and sneak thieves in the far gone
times, just as there are to-day, and by marking in this way it would
limit the loss to the latter class, who would sell the things for old
metal. These big mugs would well set off a table on which were pewter
plates anything from nine to twenty inches in diameter. Although I have
studied all the books written on old pewter, I have failed to find that
it was always a case of “One man, one quart,” and am forced to the
conclusion that there may have been odd occasions when more than one
shared.

To get back to the pots illustrated, does any living man know where
the “Baptist Head,” High Holborn, stood? It is perhaps typical of the
country that the largest and heaviest quart comes from Ireland, and
from the battered condition it was in when I got it, I surmised it had
often been used to add weight to an argument.

My eye now wanders to the fine old loving cup made by John Edwards
about 1750. This has a glass bottom to prove to all users how clear
were its contents, and I wonder to what extent it has been used at
family gatherings for weddings, christenings, and buryings, and the
very important part it has played in making them all enjoyable. Glance
at that copious lidded jug, and mulled ale at once suggests itself;
can you not hear the horn that gives warning of the stage coach, the
bustle at the “Queen’s Hotel” (called after Mary, Elizabeth, or Anne,
probably), or imagine the anxiety of the passengers to test the brew,
and how quickly the jug would be emptied on a cold journey, while
on warmer days the flat-bottomed jug, full to the brim with foaming
beer, would be equally welcome? Some of the pots are fitted with a
strainer at the lip, and this would be most useful in the period of
poor lighting and typical practical joking by keeping hops, flies,
wasps, cockroaches, or perhaps an odd mouse, out of the mouth of the
customer using the mug. It would also be requisite to use the funnel
when filling passengers’ flasks, most travellers were no doubt provided
with the latter of no mean size. The funnel shown is dated 1698,
while a particular flask I illustrate is a fine specimen; probably its
original owner was a man of grit, for roughly engraved on one end is
“PRO DAOS ET REGE,” a fitting toast when the custom was “The Passing of
the Pewter Pot.”

[Illustration: Pewter Pots. Lidded Tankards with makers’ initials “J.
C.” (1780), “Y. & B.,” “J. M.” (1825), “T. P.” (1710), “H. I.” (1690),
“T. L.,” “T & C.” (1775)

PLATE XXIV.]

[Illustration: Front and Back of Faked “Alms-Dish.”

PLATE XXV.]

You will, I hope, be interested in a study of the variety of shapes
and handles on the photographs, but you need to handle these old
things to realise their fascination; even if they bear no inscription
or maker’s mark, some of the early Excise marks, “G.R.” or “W.R.”
with various town crests, are worth looking at. Could you examine the
bottoms you would find red cut glass, plain glass (Waterford possibly),
wood and pewter, double and single pewter bottoms, some with holes
in their bottoms through age and ill usage, while one has no bottom
at all, so you can’t knock the bottoms out of that. One of the quart
measures bears the initials and touch mark of George Bagshaw, who was
enrolled on the list of the Freemen of the Pewterers Company in 1826;
it is boldly stamped with a crown, and the words “Imperial Standard”
with a small stamp “Crown W.R.” with “W.W.” under. I am not sure what
“W.W.” stands for, but believe it will be the initials of the Excise
Inspector, and that this measure would be the Imperial standard whereby
the quart measures in a certain locality were tested. The list of
inscriptions given should not fail to entertain; some are quaint and
there may be one or two that a reader will recall, but I imagine that
most of the addresses have ceased to exist.

This remark does not apply to the Old Whyte Harte Hotel at Wisbeach
(now spelt Wisbech), for that is the present day Izaac Walton
Association House. My set of measures was made by Grimes, of London,
for J. Hill, the landlord in 1880.


INSCRIPTIONS.

  Quart              T. B., Crown.
  Lidded Jug         W. T. S., Queen’s Hotel.
  Quart, Lipped      G. Bamden. Wenlock Brewery Tap.
  Pint     ”         Sportsman.
  Beaker             H. Mattock, Malt Shovel, Dartford.
  Pint               E. H. Bakers’ Arms, Waltham Abbey.
   ”                 W. Bullin, Bears Paw Inn.
  Quart              A. Johnston, Baptist Head, High Holborn.
  Pint               G. C. Collier, Catherine Wheel, near Brentford.
   ”                 D. Saul, Shipwrights Arms, Limehouse Hole.
  Lipped Pint        Hope, Islington.
  Pint               Canteen, 70th Regt.
   ”                 J. E. B., The Feathers, Chiswick.
  Quart, Lipped      G. Thompson, Tipperary.
   ”                 J. C. D., Montague Arms, Peckham.
  Pint               C. M.--C. Mannerson, Windmill, Dartford.
   ”   Lipped        J. T. R., Duke’s Head, Leman St., Southwark.
  Pint               Post Office Hotel, Church St., Soho.
   ”                 Blackburn Arms.
   ”                 G. M. Wellington, Shepherds Bush.
   ”                 G. A. Y., King’s Arms, Woolwich.
   ”                 John Machin, Bimm. Tavern.
   ”                 A. B., Black Lion, Kingston.
   ”                 W. E., Flying Scud, Sutton St., Comml. Rd.
   ”                 Nichols, Court Sampson, Thomas St.
   ”                 Robt. Moor, Cockermouth in Cumberland.
   ”                 T. Forman, 35, Brompton Rd.
  Quart, Lipped      Courtenay Arms, Starcross.
  Pint               Barclay Perkins & Co. J. Nolan.
  Quart              J. Hill, White Hart Hotel Wisbeach.

The collection continues to increase, and I have recently acquired a
quart, mark “S.C.” inscribed “Longden White, Ewell, 1820.” Another,
which belonged to W. James, Welney, marked four lions--a lipped
quart by Geradin & Watson, stamped “G.R.” 1826, and lastly a quart
pot-bellied measure by W. Nettleford, early 19th century, being the
only measure of this shape which I have seen fitted with a lip. I must
now end this potty discourse, and on pondering for a fitting quotation
wherewith to conclude, I can think of none more suitable than one which
I trow good King Hal is not likely to have used when ruminating on his
bunch of wives--“Let ’em all come.”


THE MYSTERY PIECE (_See_ Plate XXVII, facing p. 75).

I have given this title to the photograph I recently had taken for
various reasons which I will now particularise. Most books contain a
mystery of some kind and the creation in many instances must cause
the author much anxious thought, but in my case the mystery is real up
to the time of writing; possibly soon after this appears in print the
mystery will be explained by some kind correspondent who possesses a
similar piece. In the first place, I know not its proper name, so must
call it for the time being “the piece.” Where I obtained it will remain
a mystery to the reader, but how I happened to become its possessor I
will readily relate, and in doing so I confirm my previous statement
that you never know your luck when collecting.

In the early part of 1919 business called me to London on several
occasions, and as many readers will have had unpleasant experiences of
the hotel accommodation there at that time they will not be surprised
to hear that I made arrangements with friends who live in a fine old
town umpteen miles from the City to take me in. On a visit in June
I was walking to the station to catch the morning train to take me
to London when I passed a broker’s shop and of course stopped. Among
a lot of furniture and odds and ends I noticed “the piece,” and I
thought at first it was a brass water bottle from India, but on further
consideration I felt sure it was pewter, so I essayed to walk in,
but locks, bolts and bars defied resistance, while no one took heed
of the noise I was making. In the end I had to rush for the train.
Business over I returned and was met at the station by a lady friend.
I am afraid I hurried her along to the shop where I saw “the piece”
still perched. I tried the door again, but it was still fastened, so I
started knocking. My friend then informed me it was no use as it was
the half holiday, but I was determined to get in if I rattled all
night. At length I was admitted, found “the piece” was real old pewter,
was informed they had had it a fortnight, and that it was a ROSE VASE,
but they didn’t know where it came from. There are antique shops in
that town, and this was just the sort of thing they could have done
with, so my picking it up when on a flying visit was most fortunate.

[Illustration: The “Odamifino.”

Bed Pan which has been converted into the Faked “Alms-Dish.”

PLATE XXVI.]

[Illustration: The Mystery Piece.

PLATE XXVII.]

On returning to my real home “the piece” was much admired for its
antique appearance and I was told I should spoil it if I had anything
done to it, so I had it photographed in the state I found it. It bore
no maker’s marks and the shape was quite unknown to me, so I wrote
to three pewter connoisseurs sending them each a photograph giving
dimensions and weight and asking them to give me its name and age.
These are the opinions I received:

  No. 1:

  “Your VESSEL seems to be a VASE and latish. I
  have never seen one like it.” And later he kindly
  wrote: “The more I think of your pewter JAR the more
  convinced I am that it dates about 1750.”

  No. 2 said:

 “I thank you for the photograph of the interesting VASE or BOTTLE, for
 those are the only possible names one can give to the piece.”

  No. 3. wrote:

 “I have seen two or three of the pieces your photograph shows but
 have never found out their purpose. I have heard them described as
 1. LAVERS for the water in Baptism. 2. WATER BOTTLE used in Tavern
 parlours, and I think the latter is more probable.”

So you see I had then six names for it, and lately when my Irish
friend was here I asked him his opinion and he said, “It reminds me of
‘Rebecca at the Well.’” This set me longing to see what it looked like
when Rebecca used it, so I got a painter to remove the corrosion with
caustic and lime, as I had no bath mixture on tap, then I took it to my
tinsmith and spent some time quaking--you understand me--for fear he
should hole it or do something awful, but he straightened it, tapped
out the dinges, and soon got it into its original shape. Strange to say
it is the only piece of pewter in my collection which I prefer to see
looking dull, the reason why is another mystery, but I have stopped
having it polished up brightly like the rest. I really believe it is
the oldest specimen in my collection, certainly it is the most antique
in shape. It is nine inches high and its weight (2½ lbs.) denotes it
was made when thick metal was worked with, and that is a sure sign of
old times. It will not go with any pewter I possess, it makes it all
appear comparatively modern, and so we have to allot it a position by
itself on an old oak chest, and here I will leave “The Mystery Piece,”
with this poser--is it early Georgian or ogygian?



_THIRD COURSE_

Old Brass and Copper

 Modern Antique--The Turling Pin--The Duck Carver--Scotch
 Measures--When Matches were Scarce--Wexford in Wales--Snuff-boxes and
 Other Things.


I have only small collections of brass and copper to exhibit, and my
reasons for buying these you see were mainly that often I had been
poking about for pewter, and finding none, rather than waste the
shopkeeper’s time for nothing I would purchase a bit of old brass or
copper, if I happened to notice any piece I judged worth having. It is
often difficult to identify old brass, and the quantity of “antique”
that was manufactured in Birmingham alone, some years before the war,
must have been very extensive. I found it nearly everywhere I went, and
still see much of it about.

To instance the worth of my statement I remember, when in Scotland, I
mentioned to a collector friend that I should like to have a turling
pin, which is a combined knocker and latch, for I had seen such a
thing spoken of in a book I had just been reading. Not long afterwards
I received a parcel containing a turling pin, which I found at once
was new brass that had been in an acid bath for discoloration, and to
give it the necessary old appearance. My friend wrote that he had been
fortunate in getting this for 16s. and the antique dealer had assured
him it had come out of an old house at, I think, Inverness. I returned
the find, with thanks, and I do not know my Scotsman if he failed to
get his money back. I am still without a turling pin, though I have one
genuine old knocker from Ripon, which is on a door where it ought to
be, so you will not find it on the photograph.

In the summer of 1911 I had a fine specimen of a corn which I carried
in my boot, and while in an antique shop I knocked it against something
black that had been put on the floor to keep a door open. I looked down
to see what had caused the pain and my regrettable exclamation, and was
informed, “it was a lead ink-stand, and did it hurt?” I knew it was
decidedly hard metal from my experience, so I gave half-a-crown for it,
with the idea of having my revenge by cleaning the clumsy brute, for he
had no right to be carving a duck in the beastly black state he was in.
This class of ink-stand was made in Birmingham about eighty years ago.

Brass and copper as antiques have much to recommend them, as no matter
what state they may be in when found, they can very soon be made
presentable by a good rubbing with metal polish. These metals preserve
themselves remarkably well for centuries, hence it is that occasionally
rare old specimens can be found by anyone with their eyes skinned. The
fine 12 in. brass pot, with lion head ring handles and claw feet, I saw
in a second-hand shop at Buxton, and bought for seven shillings, but
I had to get a hamper to bring it home in. I have other large things,
such as warming-pans, chestnut roaster, churchwarden pipe rack, gong,
etc., but the inclusion of these would have spoiled the effect of the
photograph, and the mortars get a “Course” on their own. You will
notice some Scotch thistle-shaped measures; for these I am indebted
to a young friend who travelled a good deal, and often came back from
Scotland with pewter, brass, or copper. The measures are stamped “Four
gills,” “Pint,” “Gill,” “Half-Gill.”

[Illustration: Old Brass.

PLATE XXVIII.]

[Illustration: Old Copper.

PLATE XXIX.]

Among the brass I hope you will be able to distinguish two uncommon
snuff-boxes. One is called “the Horn of Plenty,” and is very old,
while the other is hexagonal in shape, is made of cherry wood and
brass, and was originally owned and used by Sir Ernest Shackleton’s
grandfather. The brass lamp with two snake handles must have special
mention. Inside, fitted on a thin wooden circle, there are ten small
metal cells, each fitted with a match-head, also a piece of wick and
tallow; by pressing the handles together the disc makes a slight turn,
striking the match against a jagged fitting, and stopping under the
hole, through which the light would (I suppose) burn, until the cell
was empty. This was patented about eighty years ago when matches were
first invented, but I do not anticipate many were sold, as when all the
lights had been burnt a fresh fitment would have to replace the one
exhausted, a rather expensive affair.

Tacking brass and copper on to the many other specialities I have
gone in for may cause the remark that had I confined myself to a more
limited sphere I might have had a finer result in fewer classes, but
that would have curtailed the pleasurable excitement of my rambles.
Then again, when once you get the collecting fever you are not likely
to get the better of it; it is far more likely to get the better of
you, and I am of opinion it is better so, provided you do not let it
obtain an undue hold on your pocket. It is undoubtedly hard at times to
say “No,” but it is more difficult to get rid of a bad bargain. It is
a singular trait of character, not altogether limited to collectors,
which impels the individual to tell everyone when he secures anything
cheap but constrains him to be as close as an oyster when he is done
with a “dud,” yet the best tales usually most enjoyed by the hearers
are those which tell against the teller.

As regards the copper I am rather afraid of giving a wrong designation
to the lipped pan with wood handle. It may have been a posset pot, or
a beer-warmer, possibly it was used for both purposes, though not at
the same time. The conical shaped warmer would put the pot to bed, as
it would heat the mulled ale much quicker by being pushed down to the
bottom of the fire, and, what was of more consequence in those days,
it held more. The straight measure with a slot cut out at the top
bears the inscription “Standard I Pint of the Corporation of Wexford
Anno 1810” and is twice stamped “G.R. III.” When I bought it I was
assured by the broker that he could swear it was genuine as he knew
the man who fetched it out of Wales. I bought this “eneuch measure,”
as a French visitor once called it to me, on January 1, 1910, and I
remember wondering if this find augured well for the New Year from the
collecting point of view, and it turned out quite a prosperous one.

There is a peculiar pewter half-pint Glasgow measure with copper top
fitted with an overflow pipe, so that not a drop of the precious liquor
would be lost. The two-handled measure is stamped “One-Pint,” so also
is the pedestal-shaped one next to it. I do not know the trade name
for the four measures with bell mouthpieces or pouring spouts, but I
found them and the fine jug at one shop Bolton way. The small funnel
is provided with a strainer. There are two powder-flasks on the top
and two snuff-boxes on the bottom shelf. What sort of spectacles
ever fitted into that heavy spectacle case? But one may conjecture
everlastingly with these queer old relics of bygone days and ways.



_FOURTH COURSE_

Old Mortars


I shall only indulge in a short preliminary canter on this course as
there are few competitors, and the chances of gaining a prize in this
field are rather remote. I was not long before I had bought several
bronze mortars, all plain, as I did not know fancy ones existed.

No. 1.--When I found this and bought it, I sent a photograph to the
editor of the _Chemist and Druggist_, telling him it had been dredged
up from the Liverpool Docks. He submitted the photograph to an expert,
and reproduced the photograph in his paper in 1908 with the following
remarks:

“Here we have the new Prime Minister, Mr. Asquith in effigy, on a
two or three century old mortar. The left projecting wing shows a
profile very like that of Mr. Asquith. The firmly sealed lips probably
represent the receptive condition of his mind when the suggestions of
subjects for new taxation fall upon his ear, and the features between
the profile may, perhaps, bear some resemblance to the horrified
expression worn by brewery directors, and those interested in the
‘Trade’ generally, on the morning following the introduction of the
Licensing Bill. The type is Portuguese or Spanish, and probably of the
sixteenth or seventeenth century. The projections, which so resemble a
human profile are a feature of this type of Mortar.”

Size 5 in. diameter, 3½ in. high, weight 4 lbs.

This was encouraging, but put me out of conceit with the plain ones
with which I had stocked myself.

The Mortars illustrated are mostly of very uncommon types, and as such
specimens are seldom met with I hope their inclusion will be found of
interest to the reader whose fancies may run in other directions. For
after all, rareness and scarcity are great factors to collectors.

No. 2.--Bronze. I had great difficulty in deciphering the lettering and
figures on this owing to wear. They are in two lines, and read “W. aged
69. 74 years Mary and Thomas.” No doubt husband and wife, “W” being the
initial letter of their surname. 4½ in. across the top, 4½ in. high,
weight 4 lbs.

No. 3.--Bronze. This has upon it a fleur-de-lis, and mitre ornament and
would no doubt be seventeenth century. 5½ in. across the top, 4½ in.
high, weight 3 lbs.

No. 4.--Bronze. Is a very unusual type in that it has only one handle,
while the ornament is artistic. I noticed, soon after I bought this,
that an old one-handled metal mortar had been fished up from the
Spanish Armada wreck, in Tobermory Bay. 5 in. across top, height 4 in.,
weight 3 lbs. 2 oz.

No. 5 is made of bright yellow metal. It is 5 in. in diameter, 4 in.
high, weighs 3 lb., and has been well finished. Its decoration consists
of “C.R.” repeated four times, crowned Tudor-rose, thistle, trefoil,
and crowned heart, each divided by a small fleur-de-lis. It was no
doubt made by a loyal workman at the restoration of Charles II., and
is, I hope, unique. I had trouble when negotiating the purchase, as
through a side-slip I divulged that the initials of Charles Rex
were the same as my own. Further, the holder was convinced that this
mortar had belonged to “the Royal Culinary Department, and was almost
worth its weight in gold.” In the end he was converted and evidently
satisfied, for he foraged around and gave me an old pestle _after_ I
had paid the money.

No. 6 is bronze, 5¼ in. in diameter at the top, 4 in. high, and weighs
4½ lb. When roaming about Kendal on an Easter Sunday I found this
standing among “Roman” antiquities in a shop. I bought it on Easter
Monday, and am still wondering how old it really is, and how many
centuries the antiquary was out in his reckoning. Its appearance in
every way indicates great age.

No. 7 is a bronze mortar 6 in. in diameter, 4½ in. high,
                                    H
  weighs 6¼ lb., bears the letters W S also 1735, and is the
only dated mortar I possess. It belonged to an old Lancashire family
named Hartley. W and S “rang off” some time since, and their Christian
names were not ascertained.

No. 8 is the largest and heaviest bronze mortar I have. It is 7 in. in
diameter, 5½ in. high, and weighs 13 lb. The decoration is very crude,
and I was puzzled as to the meaning until I turned it upside down, when
a ram’s head and a shell were evident. In this position the shape takes
the form of a bell, and indicates that the makers would use the same
mould for bells as for mortars at the period about 1650. I found this
just across the Welsh border in Flintshire and had a hard time.

[Illustration: Old Mortars.

PLATE XXX.]

[Illustration: Old Mortars.

PLATE XXXI.]

No. 9.--This “Goblet” is a most unusual shape for a brass mortar, and
the metal is quite yellow. I was pleased when I found it, and more
so when the owner gladly gave it me in exchange for three plain ones of
the usual pattern. 4½ in. across top, 5 in. high, weight 4 lbs. 4 ozs.

No. 10. is 7 in. in diameter by 4¼ in. high. After acquiring this I
ascertained that the difference between alabaster and marble is that
the former is of a softer nature, which accounts for the head of the
old pestle being worn to 1½ in. One of the four lugs is grooved for
convenience when pouring out fluid mixtures--no doubt the innovation of
an up-to-date cash chemist of that go-ahead period.

I have another of an exactly similar character, but 12 inches in
diameter, while it has no groove, and an old Waterford glass pestle
is with it. The pestles belonging to the metal mortars are all of
different patterns.



_FIFTH COURSE_

Old Pottery

 A Contrast in Prices--Bethel, Wesley, and Whitfield--Blue and White
 Plates--Salt Glaze--The Cobbler’s Wife Upstairs--Toby Jugs--Doubts
 and Uncertainties--Liverpool--The Letter “P”--Vanishing Transfer
 Printing--Sunderland--Don Pottery--The Useful Mark--A Tuppenny
 Don--Turner (Lane Ends)--The Worth of a Ladle--Wedgwood--Jasper
 Ware--Tortoiseshell--Evolution--Puzzle Jugs--Experiments and
 Remarks--Brown and Buff Stoneware--Nelson Jugs--Contrast and a
 Caution--Mask Jugs--Advice and an Explanation--Delft--Plates--A
 Candlestick “Sauce-boat”--Rockingham--The Cadogan Pot--The
 Snufftaker--Lustre--“All is not gold that glisters”--Dating--Wood,
 Enoch, and Ralph--A Bust, a Mould, a Word--Notes on the Groups-Pretty
 Poetry Printed on Pottery--The Willow Pattern--Solving a Problem.


Pottery opens a wide course, gives much chance of success, finds
scope for research and discrimination, and has also the advantage
of not taking up much room, so the collector can usually hang on to
anything he may fancy. In hunting for antiques you get exercise, a
certain amount of excitement, and a great deal of uncertainty. It is
a fine school for cultivating patience which repays you in the long
run. I have times innumerable gone out of my way to pass a certain
shop, to be rewarded, quite recently, by finding half a dozen blue
and white pottery plates of a pattern I have wanted for years. This
was doubly consoling, for my previous purchase there was broken in my
pocket. In doing my own collecting of pottery I have had many strange
experiences, and several of the pieces have some interesting incident
associated with their coming into my possession. As they total over 250
specimens the reminiscences make good reflections, while the finding,
tracing, naming and arranging for show on shelves or whatnots to the
best advantage has enabled me to pass many and many an hour pleasantly,
and the result is always gratifying.

Whenever I chance to be from home I make it a part of my programme
to do the old shops; sometimes the old shops do me, but not often. I
recently went round the shops of a seaside town and drew a blank, but
I saw a jug dated 1806 which I liked. On handling it I was informed it
was an old Staffordshire farmer’s jug, with farm implements painted
on. The price was £10, and they had already refused £6. I felt uneasy
until I had put the jug back on the shelf. In contrast to that, in
almost the last inland town I visited by road we pulled up near a
second-hand place and the first thing I noticed was a quaint-shaped,
very early Staffordshire jug, hand painted, with blue band and some
floral decoration, and so I went in. Blowing off the dust which
other collectors had failed to disturb, although the town is their
hunting-ground, I was told I could have it for a shilling as it was a
bit snipped at the bottom. I bought that jug, and I should have been
quite ready and pleased to buy the other at a reasonable price. My
plough jug cost me five shillings in 1911; it is not dated, but may
possibly be prior to 1806.

[Illustration: Old Pottery.

PLATE XXXII.]

 PLATE XXXII

 DESCRIBING THE POTTERY

 _Shelf 6._ Wesley. Whitfield by Enoch Wood, Loving Cup.

 _Shelf 5._ Light blue enamelled Jug by Ralph Wood in centre, other
 four Jugs early Staffordshire.

 _Shelf 4._ See notes on Wedgwood (page 103).

 _Shelf 3._ Wood “Ivory” plate. Two Nelson Jugs (see page 106). Two
 blue printed Staffordshire.

 _Shelf 2._ Railway Mug, Sunderland Frog Mug, Loving Cup, Staffordshire
 Tam-o’-Shanter Frog Mug, Cock-fighting Mug.

 _Shelf 1._ Black printed “Prodigal Son” Mug, Milk Bowl, Jugs: George
 IV., Grace Darling, Disraeli and Earl of Derby, Gladstone and John
 Bright. Princess Royal Mug.

[Illustration: Old Pottery.

PLATE XXXIII.]

 PLATE XXXIII

 DESCRIBING THE POTTERY

 _Shelf 5._ Toby (Davenport). The Brewer. The Cobbler’s Wife. The
 Squire. Hearty Good Fellow (see page 95).

 _Shelf 4._ Toby Pepper Pots. Judy Jug. Toby (Davenport). Uncle Toby
 (early). Brewer. Tobacco Jar. Toby and Clown Pepper Pots.

 _Shelf 3._ Brown Glazed Rockingham. Cottage Pastille Burner. Cadogan
 Pot. Snuff Taker. Lizard Mug. Boot Bottle (see page 107). Harvester’s
 Bottle (Davenport). Plates--Brameld, Rockingham. Mason’s Ironstone
 China.

 _Shelf 2._ Lustre (see notes on page 107).

 _Shelf 1._ Lustre (see notes). Plates: Wedgwood, Queen’s Ware, Lug and
 Feather border (1790), Minton (early), Minton (_circa_ 1810) (see page
 132). Parian Ware (green).

Soon after I set up in the pottery line I espied an old two-handled
Wesleyan loving cup, with “BETHEL” painted on the sides in black.
While I was examining the mug an elderly gentleman came in from the
back room and the following enlightening conversation ensued:

  _Moderato_:   Good afternoon.
                Eh?
  _Crescendo_:  How much for the mug?
                Thruppence.
  _Forte_:      Where did it come from?
                Thruppence.
  _Fortissimo_: How old do you consider it?
                Thruppence.
  _Piano_:      Oh, help!

I saw the figure of “Wesley over the Clock” in a small grocery window,
and on asking if it was for sale was told “Yes! We are sick to death of
seeing him on the mantel”--and then bang went saxpence.

After these reckless purchases it is consoling to remember that the
bust of Whitfield by Enoch Wood was given me by a neighbour who fished
it out of his lumber room. (_See_ Plate XXXII).

I purchased several pieces at odd times from a man who spoke Yiddish to
his wife and broken English to me, and no matter whether the article
was Wheildon, Wedgwood, or Worcester, he invariably assured me “It was
a fine bit of old Zwanzee.”

On the shelves round two of my rooms I have some quite uncommon dark
blue printed plates and dishes, some unmarked, others by Rogers,
Challenor, Adams, Spode, Davenport, Turner, also part set of a dinner
service with fine illustrations of Pera, Mosque in Latachia, Triumphal
Arch, Latachia, Pillar of Absalom. I also have the tureen, which
illustrates Eski-Estamboul. One of the dishes is marked “B” and they
can with safety be attributed to the Burtons of Hanley, 1820.

A dish in rich blue, illustrating Little Boy Blue blowing his horn for
the cows in the meadow and the sheep in the corn; I fail to identify
the cow and surmise that on this particular farm these animals must
have been very much alike. I espied the rim of this dish nearly hidden
on the shelf of a broker and I enquired, “Is that a blue and white
dish?” and was answered, “Yes, but it’s more than you’ll pay, we are
saving that for a swell who comes in a motor-car.” After this, of
course I had to see it, and ascertaining the price paid up at once. I
left my name and address and they promised to let me know if they got
anything more like it. A few weeks later I received a postcard and
caught the earliest train in great expectancy, to find on my arrival a
few Willow Pattern dishes. I left these to swell the swell motorist’s
collection.

Never mind the absence of marks on the back, for if you desire
to decorate you want good illustrations, and these are the main
consideration. When a visitor, after contemplating these plates
for a time, remarks, “I like your Willow Pattern” when there is no
Willow Pattern on view, I usually change the subject and switch on to
domestics, as I find so many people are on the look out for these, and
I gather from the conversation that in collecting them they have the
greatest difficulty in finding good specimens to add lustre and charm
to the home.

[Illustration: Old Pottery.

PLATE XXXIV.]

 PLATE XXXIV

 DESCRIBING THE POTTERY

 _Shelf 6._ Puzzle Jugs, Staffordshire. Pantomime and Harlequin. Leeds
 black-printed. White, apprentice “G. B.” (see page 105).

 _Shelf 5._ Fulham. Doulton Jubilee. Two Brownstone Ware Puzzle Jugs.
 Copeland Jug. Briddon Salt (see page 108).

 _Shelf 4._ Staffordshire: Mask Spout. Barrel Jug. Harlequin. Early
 Mason. Swansea Mask Spout. Bacchus Mask Jug. Black face Mask Jug.

 _Shelf 3._ Early Staffordshire: Wellington and Hill. Whieldon Cottage.
 Nelson and Hardy. Relief pattern two Jugs.

 _Shelf 2._ Staffordshire. “Sportive Innocence.” “Freemason’s Arms.”
 Blue decoration in the centre. Two Coloured Jug. Wood and Cauldwell.

 _Shelf 1._ Sunderland. Wear Bridge, pink. Ship, yellow. Staffordshire.
 Lodge of Orangemen Jug. “Jovial Boatman.” Queen Caroline Jug.

[Illustration: Old Pottery.

PLATE XXXV.]

 PLATE XXXV

 DESCRIBING THE POTTERY

 _Shelf 6._ Liverpool (see page 99).

 _Shelf 5._ Early hand-painted Mug. Charity. Washington Cup and Saucer.
 Herculaneum. Pennington. Stage Coach. Early Painted (see page 99).

 _Shelf 4._ Leeds Plate in Delft colours. Staffordshire Jug. Yellow
 Enamelled Jug. Salt glaze: Delft Dish. Castor Oil Spoon. Whieldon (?)
 Jug. Small lustre painted Jug. (see page 94). Early Spode. Aynsley’s
 Stone China. Don Pottery Bowl and Plate (see page 102).

 _Shelf 3._ Three Delft Plates, one semi-porcelain (see page 107).
 Jackfield Sugar Bowl. Castleford Teapot. Plough Jug. French
 Candlestick. Mazarine Blue Jug “S.”

 _Shelf 2._ St. Peter. Lustre painted Jug. Blue printed. Mason blue
 printed. Leeds Mug. Fox-head Cup. Plate: “Poor Richard’s Maxims.”
 Leeds Spill-holder. Davenport Jug. Bristol blue (marked) Jug. Swansea
 Rabbit. Bristol Toy Teapot. Rat Catcher’s Daughter. Medicine Measure,
 double-ended, “Two tablespoonsful” and “One tablespoonful.” The two
 end figures are translucent.

 _Shelf 1._ Wedgwood Centenary, Early Mason. Oddfellow’s Jug. T. Clare
 (1805). Davenport Presentation Jug. Davenport chocolate and black.


SALT GLAZE

Readers who are familiar with salt glaze will not be surprised when
I say that the four pieces shown on Plate XXXV are all that I have
fit to be trotted out, and they will probably not be taken aback
when I confess to having been absolutely bewildered for some time in
distinguishing this class of pottery. I read of £50 being given at, I
think, the Bemrose Sale for a little ugly group, and I felt a desire to
find something of this sort, though at a somewhat less fancy price. I
poked in many a dusty cupboard, and messed myself up continuously for
a time, until one day in an auctioneer’s stock-room I dug out a white
coffee pot with a pewter lid which I felt sure was salt glaze. When
the auctioneer told me I could have it for two shillings if it was any
good to me, I thought how little he knew of his business. It takes two
to make a bargain, and he was not the fool. I found the coffee pot was
salt glaze, but only about fifty years old, so it is again hidden away
in a cupboard. I had looked at bits of salt glaze in glass cases under
lock and key, so I think of presenting this piece to some museum where,
owing to its comparatively small value, visitors may be allowed to
touch and examine it under a magnifying glass, but I should first have
it labelled, “Caution to Collectors--this is the class of salt glaze
to avoid.” This dud purchase turned out to be rather fortunate than
otherwise, as after winking at it for a week I went carefully through
my collection and found three salt glaze pieces which had remained
unidentified for two years past. They are, a jug painted and gilded
over the glaze, and which I had bought in my ignorance in Wakefield; a
little crudely painted lustre Staffordshire jug, which I caught busy
catching the drips from a paraffin tap and secured for a trifle; and a
blue painted castor-oil spoon.

Later I added a salt glaze delft dish with mark showing it was made
by Petit of Lille, about 1788, which proves that the statement made
in more than one book on old pottery that no delft was salt glazed is
incorrect. This particular dish came from Sir J. D. Forest’s collection.

Anyone with a Castleford teapot will be struck with its likeness to
salt glaze. I happened on one in a town where the manufacture of heavy
chemicals is very evident in the atmosphere, and the brokeress said she
had been told that the teapot was “salt-_cake_.” The same good old lady
was once kind enough to invite me to step up to her bedroom, and a very
nice room it was, its cleanliness, contents and comfort being greatly
at variance with the shop and store-room below. Among the ornaments of
which she offered me the choice was a fine “Cobbler’s Wife,” 12 inches
high, probably Rockingham, which she had bought at a sale, and was
pleased to part with at a profit. I have searched for years for the
“Cobbler,” but have failed to trace him. If anyone knows his present
address, and will communicate with the author, they will be suitably
rewarded.


TOBY JUGS (_See_ Plate XXXIII)

None of these Toby jugs have any maker’s names on them, but I believe
the large and small of the same design are by Davenport. “The Squire”
appears to be the oldest, but whether it or the “Hearty Good Fellow”
is the most valuable from a collector’s point of view I cannot say,
and I will tell you why. My first impression of “The Squire,” which I
obtained through a window, was “What a beauty!” I had seen a letter
in the _Connoisseur_ just before giving a photograph of one like it,
so I was on the alert at once. Enquiry elicited the information that
the dealer thought it was really old, that he bought it off a man who
looked through the shop door, then went away and came back when the
dealer was disengaged. “I didn’t know the man; apparently he was hard
up--wouldn’t give any name, but he wanted a sovereign, so I gave it
him, and you can have the jug for twenty-five shillings.”

I have heard of a dog having a bad name, though Toby isn’t a bad name
for a dog, but I soon came up against a Toby with a bad name. On
mentioning to my late friend the collector-dealer my purchase of “The
Squire,” what I had given for it, and where I bought it, he said he
was sorry to hear it. He had seen that Toby and would not touch it, as
he had been warned against it by another dealer, and if I wished for
another like it he could give me an address in the Potteries where I
might get one for 3s. 11d. The next time he was at my house he was hard
to convince that he was mistaken; but when I told him I had shown it to
a practical potter, who cautioned me that if I filled it with water I
must not carry it by the handle, as it was partly perished with age, he
gave in. Not long after I chanced to meet near home a well-known dealer
who had just come from Harrogate to attend a sale of antiques in our
neighbourhood and who enquired of me the way. I asked him to have
lunch with us and offered to drive him to the sale later. I am afraid
this was rather diluted hospitality, for I was desirous of having his
opinion of, among other things, “The Squire.” After careful examination
he pronounced it genuine, but he seemed to fancy the “Hearty Good
Fellow” more.

When I first saw the “Hearty Good Fellow” it was in a window mainly
given up to the display of modern ironmongery, and on enquiring the
price was disappointed to hear it was sold and that a man was calling
for it later. Then I said, “Ask him what he will take for his bargain,
and don’t you part with it.” I am not sure how much I slept that night,
but I know I called on my way to business, and I spent a bright and
happy morning with the “Hearty Good Fellow” on my desk.

I had an amusing experience when purchasing “Uncle Toby,” for when the
dealer asked me 25s. I was able to say (having had a look at the bottom
of the jug) that it was marked in ink 15s. When I showed him this he
let himself go, and if the female assistant--who was not about at the
time--had heard one tithe of the forcible expressions of opinion in
which he held her business acumen, she would have gone into service
straight away, for among her qualifications he considered she was more
fit for cooking potatoes in their jackets. I refer to this gentleman
elsewhere as having some temper, but on this occasion I waited
patiently until he had come down to nearly normal, bought some other
things, and got “Uncle Toby” at the price (15s.) on which he still sits.

[Illustration: Pictorial Pottery.

PLATE XXXVI.]

 PLATE XXXVI

 DESCRIBING THE POTTERY

 _Shelf 5._ Bowl (Staffs.). Bristol Delft Dish. Bowl, Early Transfer
 (Staffs.). Willow Sauce-boats.

 _Shelf 4._ Dish (Rogers). Tureen (Turner, Lane Ends). Dish, “Mosque in
 Latachia.”

 _Shelf 3._ Dish, “Little Boy Blue.” Dish, purple (Challenor). Early
 Mustard Pots.

 _Shelf 2._ Fruit-server. Vegetable Dish, “Pillar of Absalom” and
 Sauce-boat (Burton). Early Sauce-boat and Stand in one piece, transfer
 printed over the glaze. Turner Pickle-holder. Plates: “The Whatlands.”
 “Pera.”

 _Shelf 1._ Plates. Davenport. W. Adams. Sauce-boat Stands “B” and
 “Arundel Castle.” Willow Leaf Dishes and Early Pickle-holder.

[Illustration: Willow Pattern.

PLATE XXXVII.]

Toby teapots must be scarce. I have seen none other, except in 1915,
when I noticed two in a shop window on the Pantiles at Tunbridge Wells.
I obtained mine through the death of an old lady who lived in our
locality.


LIVERPOOL POTTERY (_See_ Plate XXXV)

To identify all the Liverpool pottery one may come across as being made
in Liverpool is wellnigh impossible; the various factories seem each
to have had some special features, while many of the jugs are very
like those made by old Staffordshire firms. I say this partly by way
of apology, as it is more than likely I have put under this group some
jugs made elsewhere, and the same remark may apply to odd jugs in the
Staffordshire group; but as I am not out to sell the things I cannot
see that I lay myself out to any serious charge of misrepresentation.
If you are of a different opinion, then I must plead that I have no
fraudulent intent.

Away back in the days beyond recall an authority on this subject
very kindly came out here and named my specimens as far as he could,
but I notice among the labels I had then affixed the word “probably”
sometimes appears before the name given. I was somewhat disappointed
with the result of his visit, for he pronounced some of the jugs which
I had hoped were Liverpool as not coming within that family, so I have
decided to be my own judge in future, as by that means I may in time
have one of the largest collections of “Old Liverpool” in the country.
As those I include will be so near in appearance to some of the
varieties made, I am hoping no collector will have reason to dispute
my classification. Only one jug is marked, and that has a letter “P,”
which denotes Pennington, and I spotted this mark without a suspicious
dealer--to whose astuteness I refer later on--being aware of the fact,
and so I got it for 3s., which is not an excessive price considering it
is hand painted with line decoration, an uncommon design, and bears a
very rare mark.

Collectors should be careful how they clean Old Liverpool which has
been printed over the glaze, for I remember on one occasion I gave a
sovereign for a jug with pictures done in brown which had a smudgy
look. The dealer was a straight man, and said if I was not satisfied he
would give me my money back. When I got home and filled the bathroom
hand-basin with hot water and soda and began cleaning, I thought what
a dirty condition the jug must be in, for the water soon began to look
like brown ink. I thought it was time to probe deeper, and to my alarm
found the picture still blurred, but not so dark in colour, and then I
thought I was “done in brown”! I saw the dealer and told him all about
it. When he asked was I not satisfied, I admitted I was not altogether
enamoured with the running thing, and that it was the pictures by the
Old Master I placed such value on, so he laughingly returned the money.

A collector from the south came along soon after and gave the dealer
more than the even sovereign. My only wonder is how many times that jug
has been washed since, and how much of the pictures remain.

A jug 8½ inches high shows “King William, Prince of Orange,” on
horseback, and on the reverse side a print of Britannia and Erin
throttling a snake coiled round a broken pillar, also the words “Great
Britain and Ireland United MDCCC.” One 7-inch jug has an heraldic
illustration headed “The Cooper’s Arms,” and on the reverse side a lion
and anchor surmounted by “Great Britain and Ireland United 1800.” A
specially fine specimen of Herculaneum pottery is the 7½-inch jug of
uncommon pattern which gives the “Duke of York” and “Prince Coburg”
in relief, and this jug is painted in the old delft colours, brown,
yellow, orange and blue. The cups and saucers bear portraits of
Washington and Lafayette; they must have missed the American boat over
a hundred years ago, or I should not have found them in Wigan, and they
were undoubtedly made for the American market.


SUNDERLAND (_See_ Plate XXXIV)

Many of these jugs and mugs are very quaint, but it is to me impossible
always to identify them. One evidently commemorates the opening of the
cast-iron bridge over the River Wear on August 9th, 1796. The fact that
maritime subjects were often used for illustration assists in deciding
sometimes, so I include the frog-mug. Lake lustre and yellow lustre
were largely used, the colours being brushed on in a careless way.


DON POTTERY (_See_ Plate XXXV)

So much pottery was made without indication of its origin that it
is well for a collector when he comes across a marked piece cheap,
even if it is imperfect, to procure it. In 1915 I bought a pedestal
oval-shaped bowl which bears the distinction of being the only piece in
my collection which did not cost me more than 2d. It looked as if it
had spent half its long life in an oven and most of the remainder in
being knocked about, for both handles were off. I saw it was impressed
“Don Pottery” and knew it would be made in Leeds about 1780, that it
bore traces of being printed in black transfer at Liverpool, that it
had been banded black by hand, and that the colour of the ware was of a
dark grey cast. In June, 1919, I saw the uncommon plate shown in this
group bearing many features tallying with the Don Pottery bowl but in
perfect condition (unmarked), having also a silver lustre band, and on
comparing these pieces satisfied myself they both came from the same
factory. Such finds as these, trifling though they may be, help to make
collecting a pastime.


TURNER LANE ENDS (_See_ Plate XXXVI)

In 1911, in an old shop at Prescot, near the house in which Kemble
lived, I discovered a well-printed blue-and-white dish impressed
“Turner” and bought it, finding a place for it on the shelf over the
mantel. Three years after I was in a manufacturing town 25 miles away
looking about, and in a sort of a marine store window noticed a tureen
(unmarked) with ladle complete which matched my Turner dish. Enquiring
the price, the woman said “she didn’t know,” and “he was out.” So I
asked her to fetch “him.” When “he” arrived, somewhat fuddled, I asked
him the price, and on getting his answer remarked it seemed a bit
stiff, when he huffily and huskily replied, “Why, the ---- ladle’s
worth the money,” and left me straightaway. With an assurance like that
from such an authority I decided to buy. I knocked, and my lady friend
appeared again and anxiously put the question:

“Did you pay him?”

“No.”

“That’s a good thing; I’ll have the money.”

The tureen has since adorned my mantel, and it might have been a part
of the same set as the dish. I recently found at a Red Cross sale a
little pickle-holder to match. I once priced a larger dish of the same
pattern, but owing to the difficulty of getting it home left it, and
the next time I was in that town it had been sold.


WEDGWOOD (_See_ Plate XXXII)

Josiah Wedgwood must have been a wonderful man, and I am pleased to
have a portrait of him on a jug bearing his name on a scroll with the
dates “1730 to 1795.” I believe this to be a Centenary piece, and as
his works started in 1752 the jug will be about seventy years old. I
have seen so much of Wedgwood’s Jasper Ware that I have refrained from
buying any, but I show two small pieces--a really old pepper-pot and a
sugar bowl (part of a set here)--which I did not collect. Early on I
placed the teapot, sugar bowl, and cream jug in my china cabinet, but
as so many visitors after running their eyes over my rarer specimens
usually remarked, “I see you have some Wedgwood,” I put them out of
sight. This Jasper Ware has had a tremendous sale for years and years,
and is better known than its age. For these three things I substituted
a Jasper spill vase, and many a spill has been caused by the knowing
ones calling this Wedgwood, when it is not.

I have been lucky in finding some early specimens of Wedgwood--a
plate impressed “Pearl,” printed but touched up by hand, a pair of
tortoise-shell (back and front) plates with raised daisy and bead
border. One plate, octagonal shape, cupids dancing in centre, with
a remarkable light and shade effect, with oak-leaf relief border,
and having a fine tortoise-shell back. All these are heavy and have
“Wedgwood” stamped in large type, so they will date 1760 to 1765.
These are followed by a Cream-ware plate, partly hand coloured, and
a little later by a plate of a whiter shade giving a brown printed
view of sailing vessels in harbour. These have the impressed mark in
smaller type. Two little teapots, one black basalt and the other bisque
pattern, about 1780, complete this interesting group.

Another excellent specimen of Queen’s Ware will be seen on shelf No.
1, Plate XXXIII. This bears the early large type Wedgwood impressed
mark, and has the lug and feather border carefully painted in brown and
red over the glaze. As my ten plates--two of which were given me--have
cost me just half the price I was once asked for a single cracked
tortoise-shell plate, I conclude I have been working on right lines.


PUZZLE JUGS (_See_ Plate XXXIV)

With the intention of describing to the reader the peculiarities of
these jugs and the difference in the puzzles, I have just had the
six filled with water to experiment with so that I might give lucid
explanations of the enigmas, and I have been most successful--in making
myself wet. That the investigation should be complete, I obtained the
assistance of a young friend who revels in logarithms and abstruse
problems, and as I noticed signs of his temper giving way under his
many efforts to elucidate the why and the wherefore of these strange
devices and their tricky behaviour, the enquiry is postponed _sine die_.

Of the two brown stoneware jugs the one with figures in relief hails
from Brampton, and the other would have been made in some local
pottery. The tall, fancy shape is a good specimen of those made at
Leeds. The one with the pantomime group would be made in Staffordshire
about eighty years ago, while the Harlequin jug was the work of Elsmore
and Forster, about 1850. The white jug is the oldest of the tribe, and
I should be surprised to hear of another like it being in existence.
I fancy this to be the work of an industrious apprentice to show what
a clever hand he was, and that the letters “G. B.” scratched on the
bottom under the glaze will be his initials. I wish he had not given in
his tally before he had added a date.


NELSON JUGS (_See_ Plate XXXII)

The jug almost covered with blue printing is a fine specimen, showing
Nelson, the _Victory_, and a list of his titles and his battles,
together with his famed last signal and some eulogy. The jug with
Nelson in relief bears on the reverse side a likeness of Hardy, and it
is in such good condition that I believe the party I bought it from in
Liverpool thought it was a reproduction, while I felt quite satisfied
that it was a specially well preserved antique. The black printed jug
is a disreputable-looking relic, and when found it appeared as if it
had been in the battle of Trafalgar instead of commemorating the fight,
for the jug had “got it in the neck” and had lost its handle. As the
printing was all there I decided to salve it, and after going into dry
dock it came out looking quite spick and span. Dampness, followed by
a spell of hard frost, penetrating where it was berthed, shivered its
timbers, and so you see the paint and enamel coming off. I give this as
a warning to any collector who may pay about half a sovereign to get a
piece of old pottery overhauled to ever after keep it in a warm, dry
place and not to touch it unless compelled.


MASK JUGS (_See_ Plate XXXIV)

My advice is, it you can buy old jugs like these two at a reasonable
price, do so. You would not be able to see the handle of the one which
faces the audience if it were in profile, for some “daft budy” had
knocked it off before I came along.


DELFT (_See_ Plate XXXV)

An amateur will find it difficult to get to know this when he finds
it, but he will find it still more difficult to find it before he gets
it. I think something of what I have, especially one 9-inch plate with
coloured design, Liverpool Fazakerley pattern, and someone must have
thought quite a lot of it before I gave a shilling for it, as they went
to the trouble of breaking it and to the expense of having the pieces
fastened together again with seventeen rivets. The two other coloured
plates are not yet identified, while the hand-painted blue plate is
semi-porcelain. The French candlestick, richly decorated by hand, bears
the mark of Widow Perrin, of Marseilles, 1770. It was sold to me as
a sauce-boat, and when I enquired the meaning of the chimney in the
centre was answered, “How should I know?”

A large Bristol Delft dish, blue painted, figures at the top of the
pictorial pottery on Plate XXXVI.

Twentieth-century Dutch delft is not antique; I have been where it was
in the making in Holland and seen it on sale in old shops in England.


ROCKINGHAM (BROWN) (_See_ Plate XXXIII)

I am fortunate in having a Cadogan pot impressed “Rockingham,” as
by comparing I believe I have only included brown ware made at this
factory. Brown “Rockingham” snuff-taker jugs have been made elsewhere
by the thousand.


LUSTRE (_See_ Plate XXXIII)

I have chosen for this group what I consider the best of my bunch,
which consists of gilt, copper, silver, lake, brown, and yellow
lustres. The only marked one shows that J. Aynsley was using lustre
about 1800. My largest copper lustre jug bears the first owner’s
initials, “W.P., 1823,” while the silver lustre cannon is lettered
“Battle of Wagram, 1806,” so I can only surmise that most of these
exhibits were made in the first half of the nineteenth century. The
main difference between the modern and old lustre ware is usually
noticeable on the bottom of the pieces, the finish of the old being
more carefully executed.


WOOD, ENOCH AND RALPH (_See_ Plate XXXII)

All students or collectors of old pottery will be anxious to have
authentic representations of the work of these early potters. I was
lucky in having the bust of Whitfield given to me, and I am convinced
this is genuine. I have tried to procure Enoch Wood’s companion bust of
Wesley, but the two I have had offered were reproductions, the features
not being so sharp and the impress mark blurred and indistinct. Ralph
Wood had a great reputation as an engraver of moulds, and this is
certainly justified by my large light blue enamelled jug, impressed
“Wood.” I also show an early brown printed plate impressed “Wood”
beside the word “Ivory,” which plate will probably be contemporary with
the Wedgwood “Pearl.”


BROWN AND BUFF STONEWARE (_See_ Plate XXXIV)

The Doulton Jubilee Jug dated 1887 is probably the most modern of the
pieces photographed, but the small jug next it will make up for the
matter of age if it is Old Fulham, as I believe it to be. The jug with
hunting scenes in relief is stamped Copeland, while the small “salt”
with lion-head ends is by W. Briddon, and would be made in Chesterfield
about 1770. This and the Fulham jug are salt glaze.

I have omitted to include a Spode buff mug with lion-head handle and
blue rim giving “Wellington, with soldiers and a cannon” (9.2 in.),
also a Continental tree with huge leaves in white relief commemorating
the Battle of Vittoria, 1813.


TRANSFER PRINTING

Anyone interested in the evolution of this art would find in my
collection enough specimens to point out the advancement as time went
on, and evidence that not many years elapsed before the printing was
all that it need to be. My earliest example is an irregular wavy edged
7½-inch plate, the glaze of which looks like thin tin enamel, and over
this glaze there is a quaint picture of a woman and child in a garden
under a palm tree, of course. To add to the impression that this is
a very early effort at stipple printing on pottery there is a white
line running nearly across the print, denoting the paper had either
been torn or the blue ink had not entirely covered it. The plate is
crazed all over like a fine spider’s web. The sauce-boat described on
Plate XXXVI as printed over the glaze, probably dates next, and then
must come a study of a 10-inch cream-coloured ware soup-plate. This
is not among the pieces photographed, as I have only just discovered
its peculiarities, which, now they have secured my attention, strike
me as remarkable. It is the heaviest plate of its size I have, and
weighs 1 lb. 9 oz.; it is well made, and is in good preservation. It
is printed over the glaze with fern leaves and common English flowers,
like poppies, lilies, and harebells, the stalks and foliage in green
transfer, while the flowers are enamelled red and yellow by hand. With
difficulty I have made out the mark to be an impressed crown, and
this, together with the colour of the ware, satisfies me that it is
an early piece of Herculaneum. It was pushed on to me nine years ago
by a dealer, instead of a shilling change out of a sovereign, with
the remark, “Perhaps you would rather take that plate,” and I did not
wish to disappoint him by declining anything he desired to be rid of.
Readers will do well not to miss any transfer printing over the glaze,
and the search for it will keep them busy.


NOTES ON THE GROUPS

I now come to the arranging of the groups of the many jugs and pieces
which I know are worthy of being shown, and I find I am up against
the difficulty caused by so few of the makers marking their wares.
The advantages of the markings on pottery are twofold. In the first
place, you get a guide to the age of the piece, also an idea of the
class of work the maker mainly went in for. Secondly, you can guess
at the age fairly well of pieces made by other makers who copied the
designs. By the Cottage Jug I know I have some Whieldon, but how much
more I cannot say, so I shall confine my efforts in this direction to
the endeavour to make the photographs a guide as to age, and I believe
I can show that the period from 1750 to 1850 is covered. The style
of the earliest specimens is so pronounced there is little difficulty
in picking them out. The large jug with a farm-house painted on it
bears on the front, “T. Clare, 1805,” which helps me to fix the date
of others with somewhat similar handpainting. Then the illustrations
give a clue, for instance, the Duke of Wellington and General Hill,
Nelson and Hardy, Princess Royal and Prince of Prussia, Queen Caroline
of England, pictures of the stage coach, prize-fighting, cock-fighting,
the first railway trains, Disraeli and the Earl of Derby, Gladstone
and John Bright, George IVth died 1830, Grace Darling died 1842, and,
to end the list happily, a plate, cup, and saucer printed in green,
“Commemorating Sir W. W. Wynn attaining his majority 1841.”

Photographic readers may be interested to know that I have used the
same set of shelves for the pottery that I used for the metal subjects,
but covered with brown paper for the former and white for the latter.
A few of the light blue items are rather disappointing; these, of
course, required less exposure than the darker colours, but I could
not separate them all from the groups to which they belong. The groups
have required six negatives, but they have had eight exposures. After
the first six operations I sent the three slides to my developer, who
reported Numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 as “quite good,” but Numbers 5 and 6
had “no plates in them,” so the result failed to reach the high pitch
of efficiency to which I had aspired. The groups had to be rearranged
another day, and the slides chanced to be filled that time.


PRETTY POETRY PRINTED ON POTTERY

Parents are advised, before compelling their children to commit the
following gems from the jugs to memory, to insist on their repeating
aloud the above title rapidly but accurately until they or their
children are, so to speak, fed up.

On an “Oddfellows’ jug,” which holds about a gallon:

  Behold, Behold the Upright Band,
  In virtue’s path go hand in hand,
  They shun each ill, they do no wrong,
  Strict honour does to them belong.

On a Sunderland jug, giving view of “Bridge over the River Wear”:

  Glide on my Bark, the Summer’s tide,
  Is gently flowing side by side,
  Around thy prow the waters bright,
  In circling rounds of broken light,
  Are glittering as if Ocean gave,
  Her countless gems to deck the wave.

On a Sunderland jug, with picture of ship in full sail, titled, “True
Love from Hull”:

  Kindly take this gift of mine,
  The gift and giver I hope is thine,
  And though the value is but small,
  A Loving heart is worth it all.

On a Sunderland “Frog mug,” showing a black print of a man-of-war with
all sails set:

THE FAIRY OF THE SEA

  Ther’s a frigate on the waters,
  Fit for Battle’s storm or fun,
  She dances like a Lifeboat,
  Though she carries Flag and Gun,
  What ’er may try, she’ll stand the test,
  The brave, the staunch, the free,
  She bears a name of stainless fame,
  The Fairy of the Sea.

On a jug with print, touched up with colours, of a tavern called:

THE JOLLY BOATMEN

  Let none John Barleycorn despise,
  He makes the drooping spirits rise,
  Then drink till all are satisfied,
  But reason ever be your guide.

On a Queen Caroline jug:

  May Loyal George and Caroline,
  Agree to rule our nation,
  And peace and happiness combine,
  In every rank and station.

On a Staffordshire milk-bowl with a black printed farm scene:

GOD SPEED THE PLOUGH

  We plough the fertile meadows,
  And sow the furrow’d land,
  But yet the waving harvest,
  Depends on God’s own hand,
  It is His mercy give us
  The sunshine and the rain,
  That paints in verdant beauty,
  The mountain and the plain.
    Success to the Farmer.

On a Liverpool jug bearing a representation of “Charity”:

SUCCESS TO COMMERCE AND TRADE

  The watery grave now opens,
  All dreadful from below,
  When the waves move the Sea,
  And the stormy winds do blow,
  But when the danger’s over,
  And safe we come on shore,
  The horrors of the tempest,
  We think of them no more.

On a Staffordshire jug, probably made by Daniels, and transfer printed
with a picture of an old dandy, who has a paper headed “Oracle” on his
knee, and whom the artist has crowned with a wig that would stuff a
furnish-on-the-hire-system settee:

  Long may we live,
  Happy may we be,
  Blessed with content,
  And from misfortunes free.

On a small plate with a rim edged with red, which carries the alphabet
in raised letters, I see a quaint print of two men, one holding his hat
in his hand, the other has his right hand thrust in his vest, while the
left is in the flap pocket of his knee breeches. There is, of course,
a cow, one sheep, and a lamb. In the background there is a thatched
roof covering some house from out of which a lady, who appears to have
donned her shop-soiled sables, has brought into the road a stool and
a spinning-wheel. She is sitting on the former while she works the
latter. It is a quiet road, and no motors are anticipated. The artist
has wonderfully conveyed the idea that they are having a very warm
time, and that the “Johnnies” are having a heated argument; further,
it is the fly season, or why is the cow whisking her tail? It is a
peaceful scene, for not a leaf stirs, and it is small wonder that the
author has been carried away from his object, which was to report that
at the top of the illustration there is printed:

POOR RICHARD’S MAXIMS

 “Fly pleasure and it will follow you; the diligent spinner has a large
 shirt.”

While at the foot every child can read:

 “Now I have a sheep and a cow everybody bids me good morrow.”

So I conclude the diligent spinner whose hands are hidden by his
clothing is bothered by too large a shirt on this hot day, and that
he is such a super-diligent spinner that he sees his wife does the
spinning while he swanks about counting the cow, sheep, and lamb, and
is accosted by an indigent acquaintance who is anxious to negotiate a
loan--hence the heated argument.


WILLOW PATTERN (_See_ Plate XXXVII)

Of course, everyone knows the Willow Pattern; if not, they fancy
they do, and it was only natural that the first old looking dish I
met with I bought. It was marked “stoneware K. & B.”; there was also
a small cross in blue. I couldn’t find “K. & B.” in the book I then
had, but I found a cross was a Bristol mark, so I concluded the dish
was old Bristol, whereas it would be made by Knight and Bridgewood in
Staffordshire. Then I bought other Willow Pattern plates and dishes,
some marked on the back and some not, and found there were no two
actually alike. On reference I found that the Willow Pattern was the
original design of Thomas Minton, made for Thomas Turner, of Caughley,
so I turn(er)ed to my guide books to look for a reproduction of the
genuine picture, and I found each author showed photographs which
differed in many particulars, but some specially recommended marks “C”
or “S” and I surmise that we may take it that “C” is the most original
of all the originals.

As I was growing older every day, and wished to solve this
Anglo-Chinese problem for the benefit of a bewildered brain, I rambled
farther afield, and at last discovered a dish marked “S,” this being
the mark of the Salopian works which were early in the market with this
remarkable design. When I found another dish marked “S,” I exchanged
two of my mongrels for it, and I repeated this bargain when I found a
third. I use the word “bargain” from the shopkeepers’ point of view,
as they would by my generous treatment receive double from their sale
than they had previously expected. One of them told me I was too
good-natured ever to be well off, and I think he was a man of keen
perception of character, but it is disconcerting if a bank-book can be
revealed by the face, or by the old Burberry worn on the back. Having
a trio of the genuine article, each one “bought” at different places,
on comparing I found the pictures identical, although the blue varied
slightly, and so I recommend the reader, if he is interested in this
grave question, to study Plate XXXVII.

My cue is to look at the wagtails or love birds, and if the one on
the off side is a cock and carries his wings perpendicularly, or if
she is a hen and, after looping the loop, has also acquired the same
wing position, which appears to be just the right one for billing and
cooing, then it is about time for the collector to turn-er-over and see
if there is anything more fascinating than a love story on the back of
the piece.

To make myself doubly clear, and to remove any possible doubt
whatsoever, I give an illustration of another Willow Pattern dish which
has no mark, and is, to my mind, worth half a dozen of the “S” specimen
as an antique, for it must be fifty years older, is a better shape,
and a nicer blue. I obtained a pair of these from an auctioneer, one
being broken in two, and whether I gave him three shillings for the
whole one or for the whole lot I am uncertain, and so I cannot make up
my pottery account, for I am unable to say the exact number of pieces
I have bought. I rather think he sold me the whole one, and gave me
the two halves; he certainly did not knock down the lot, or both the
dishes would have been broken. With some stuff that is guaranteed to
stick everything, on two occasions I joined the two halves, but each
time they fell apart a while after. As the third time is like no other
my reward for perseverance was that they held together until I nearly
got the dish on the shelf, when half fell on the floor, broke in many
pieces, and I dropped the other on the top of them in disgust. I
suppose those uneasy birds started carrying-on, and the cement did not
have a proper chance to set.

I shall now have to photograph No. 2, and I must see those cuckoos
maintain their present positions.

“Birdie, come here a minute and help me take a photo. You keep an eye
on that off-side budgeregar, and see he doesn’t budge, while I put a
W.P. plate in the slide.”

“Hurry up, dad--they’re gliding.”

“A’hem! they’ve shifted--so like a bird to move; it’s a snapshot
anyway.”

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, but when they are in the
air, and you haven’t got your gun,--well, there you are. Talk about
Willow Pattern--but those flighty birds are no pattern.

I once collected a pair of love-birds in London, and fetched them home.
I thought they would do well in the nursery to teach the young idea
how to love. One day Mr. Lovebird got loose and flew about the room
until at last he found a perch out of reach in a hook in the ceiling
from which was suspended a swing. The hook was kept well greased, and
what with friction and dust he could not have found a handier place for
disguising himself as a blackbird. To get him down the nurse hit upon
the brilliant idea of dipping a stick in treacle, and poking about with
this to entice him down, with the result that he got treacled as well
as vaselined. At length he was caught, and put under the bathroom tap
by my better half, who was rewarded by having his beak through the best
half of her thumb. When I came home to lunch, on learning what had
happened, I flew to the nursery, and then I saw something that looked
akin to “L” on one end of the perch, looking very down in the feather,
while Mrs. L. was at the other end. I enquired, “Lovey, why don’t you
get on with your loving.” When swallowing a tear he answered, “She
won’t let me, cos I’m sticky.” I said, “Oh, that’s foolish; if you love
one another you should stick together whatever happens.”

I gave them to a local bird dealer eventually, and the last I saw of
them they were playing about with some rabbits. This man came up to
cure a Plymouth Rock rooster which I thought had the gout; he wrung its
neck, and that is what I would like to do with those wriggling skylarks
which have caused me all this trouble.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Hello--what’s this?” In reply the broker just said “Two.” Of course
he meant the price of the plate, but I referred to the portrait; on
my explaining he only answered, “Don’t ask me.” I felt sure it was
intended for Tennyson, for although we writers are a bit jealous, we
soon get to know one another. I wanted my impression confirmed, so I
enquired of No. 1, “Who do you think this is?” “Oh, that’s Sir Stafford
Northcote; I can tell by his beard.” No. 2 said it was “Garibaldi,”
judging by his necktie. Then I considered, who do I know who runs a
beard, because anyone who flies a kite at this angle usually trims
it _à la_ somebody, and so I thought of my friend the librarian. He
has plenty of whiskers on his face, a store of information in his
head, and much more on his shelves, and it’s no use having a lot of
shelves if you store everything in the brain. He thought it might be
Tennyson and yet it had a look of Browning; it had rather too much
beard for Tennyson. I pointed out that at intervals beards were usually
trimmed, and he, whilst stroking his own, agreed with me. He kindly
produced volumes which gave Tennyson from photographs, woodcuts, and
steel engravings, taken at various times, and the beard seemed to
change after each poem; in the end I came away firmly convinced it was
Tennyson, and he didn’t seem to mind who it was. I know that Tennyson
was born in 1809, and the plate was made before 1867 by Copeland,
otherwise the mark would be “Copeland and Son,” so if we call the plate
sixty years old, we find that the great poet was honoured by a halo of
Willow Pattern when he was about fifty, and that is as near as one can
guess to with such an illustration. I need hardly say that Tennyson was
not the writer of that much-whistled and enticing poem “Tit-willow,
Tit-willow, Tit-willow.”

I thought I had done with Willow Pattern, but the arrival of Tennyson
has caused a flutter in the dove-cot. When I came to arrange a
photograph for this book I found he was out of place in any position
for making an artistic group worthy to grace a standard work on the
Willow Pattern such as this aspires to be. I therefore went through--or
to be more accurate took up a position in front of--my collection, and
seeing a set of Leeds bread dishes with beaded edges, found they were
all too large. (By the way, these have no warblers on their design.)
Then I saw an oval pie-dish by Job Meigh and Son, and thought that was
no match; next I caught sight of a pair of dishes by the so-called
Wedgwood and Co. of Stockton-on-Tees, but neither of those would fit
the space. A small pickled-onion holder, shaped like a flat-bottomed
boat or barge, was hardly dignified enough, especially as the futurist
artist had given his coots two wings and two tails each. I was on the
point of throwing up the sponge--which, of course, I did not have with
me--when I espied on the top shelf a hot-water plate with an antique
cork in the hole. This I thought very suitable, for had I not heard an
ode to the odour of a cork by a poet who had lost his licence? Also the
lapwings looked fairly normal. Perhaps they were tired with having had
such warm times and fidgeting about trying to find a cool corner on a
round surface. Anyway, they did not look like nesting in that beard and
thereby upsetting the growth of years.

I must decline to discuss the matter further.



_SIXTH COURSE_

Old China

 Hard or Soft Lowestoft--“Won by Waiting”--Bow Bowls--Contrast
 in Prices--Changing Trains--Eye Openers--A Hidden
 Meaning--Photography--Bow--Chelsea--Lowestoft--Bristol--“T” and
 Crossed Swords--Tebo and Taboo--Minton--“Thereby Hangs a Tale,” A
 Transparent Error--Swansea--The First Starter--“Woodbine”--Blue
 Dragons, and Green Ones--Worcester--Sauce and Sentiment--English
 Japanese--Some Temper--Some Difference--Newhall--The Broken
 Bowl--Camouflage--Physiognomy--Derby--Spode--Leeds--French
 Porcelain--What’s in a Name?


Enobarbus said of Cleopatra, “Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
her infinite variety,” and the sentiment embodied in this remark seems
singularly applicable to china. Year after year it wears the same charm
and beauty if taken care of, while we see evidence of its infinite
variety every day. To the amateurs who are desirous of gathering
together a collection let me remind them that “a little knowledge is a
dangerous thing.”

I was recently examining a teapot, the only mark on which was “25s.”
in ink, and on commenting on the price to a lady who was also looking
round, was amused at her remark that “it did not seem excessive if it
was either hard or soft Lowestoft.” I did not argue the point, but it
came into my mind that I had read that the furnaces at Lowestoft were
never capable of firing hard China. Moreover, I had seen an identical
teapot in a shop about a mile away, and I have one almost identical
labelled “Newhall” and marked “N” (_see_ Shelf 3, Plate XLII, facing p.
136); also Lowestoft china is very scarce. I believe if all the china
which has been, and still is being, offered as Lowestoft had been made
at that small early factory it would have necessitated its being many
times larger than Doulton’s is to-day.

[Illustration: China Cabinet, Mahogany, Late 18th Century.

PLATE XXXVIII.]

[Illustration: Old China.

  Shelf 4. Derby.
    ”   3. Spode.
    ”   2. Spode.
    ”   1. Chelsea.

PLATE XXXIX.]

These remarks caused me to reflect on the difficulty I experienced in
learning to distinguish between hard and soft china, as I had no desire
to collect any but old English. I read that the surest way was to use
a file, but I always feared antique dealers might resent my testing
their stock in this effective manner, although it would have been a
useful tip for some who have sold me pieces of Chelsea and called
them Oriental. I have for some time been fitted with a thumb-nail of
experience on which I have to rely. As illustrative of what may be “won
by waiting” let me relate the following:

In the year 1912 I was in Harrogate and had a desire to acquire a
blue-and-white china sauce-boat, and I found one which the dealer and I
agreed must be Lowestoft. The price was high, but he advised me to buy,
as I might not find another. Seven years after I was struck with the
strange appearance of another blue-and-white sauce-boat which I bought
for a nominal sum. I found it bore a faintly impressed mark, and this
enabled me to identify it as made at Bow and printed at Battersea. This
discovery led to another, which I think worth recording. In 1912 among
other pieces I purchased a triangular-shaped tray with fretted sides,
and not being able to locate its origin said nothing when I found it
had been appropriated for use in the bathroom as a receptacle for soap.
When I had labelled the Bow sauce-boat, which was made of a thick body
with a yellowish cast, I looked through my collection for anything like
it and found a small blue-and-white saucer and the tray which had been
desecrated with soap instead of decorated with sweetmeats and consigned
to the risks of a bathroom instead of the safety of the display
cabinet. Pursuing my investigation I turned out an oblong basket-work
pattern dish with quaint fret edge and with every evidence of old age,
which had been in my cupboard for nearly ten years, and then realised
that it also was early Bow.

You will see on Plate XV a 9-inch Bow bowl of the famille rose design;
this appeared in an auctioneer’s catalogue as “Oriental bowl” and was
knocked down for half a crown to a broker who took a profit of one
shilling from me for his bargain.

Here is another incident:

“Will you buy that bowl?”

“Well hardly, but I don’t mind making you a sporting offer for the
rivets,” I said.

These were the oldest type of rivets used for china I had seen, and
they, with some very ancient shellac, held the two halves very firmly
together. My offer was accepted, and I do not mind telling you the bowl
is early Bow and the only piece with green in the decoration I have
ever seen. (_See_ Plate XV.)

I shall not attempt to place values on any of my specimens as it seems
to me they are worth just as much as I could get for them, while the
same theory holds good in buying.

I show on Plate XLI, Shelf 1, a cup and saucer which are marked with
cross swords; the matched cup and saucer were sold to me by a dealer
as Dresden for about 10s., whereas an odd saucer, also with cross
swords (Shelf 3, Plate XLII), was sent to me marked “4d.” with some
other china, mostly rubbish, on approval. These three items might have
belonged to the same set, and are excellent examples of the beautiful
hand decoration turned out at Bristol about the end of the 18th century.

I was changing trains at a station and had some short time to wait,
so I strolled into the principal street of a town that is constantly
visited by dealers or their representatives, when I espied in a
secondhand furniture shop a pair of hand-painted dark-blue lidded pots
which at first glance I thought were Chinese ginger jars, and yet I
desired to make closer acquaintance. On enquiring from the girl what
was the price she shortly returned and said: “She has been asking
three-and-six for them, but she will take two-and-six.” The pots and
lids were quite thick, and I could make nothing of them in the train;
but when I got home, and in a dark room switched on the electric light,
turned them round until I came to a part thin enough to be transparent,
then by the cast of the paste I knew they were what I anticipated, real
Old Worcester teapots.

This reminds me of another adventure when I passed a shop on my way
to catch a train, and noticed in the window a blotchy blue and white
teapot and felt sorry I was tied to time. About three months after, I
had occasion to visit the town again, and my business being finished
I went straight to that window, when to my joy the teapot was still
there. A very short examination and I had made up my mind to have it
although it was minus a lid.

On asking the price I was told 1s., but--bless their honesty!--they
wouldn’t guarantee it was old. That teapot will be found among my
Lowestoft group and it is probably the earliest example.

I will here refer to the Liverpool teapot on Shelf 3, Plate XLI. I had
travelled by train to a town about twenty miles off and there called in
a shop kept by a man whom his most intimate acquaintances might have
found to be one of the best, but to my mind had some of the Stone Age
blood in him, for he was indeed a hard case. I asked how much for the
teapot.

“Five shillings to you.”

“Five shillings? Well, I’m sorry, but they ought not to have told you.”

“What are you getting at?”

“I just thought you must know your number’s up and that you are in
training for the repentance stakes.”

“No sir, but I’m pleased to see you, and to be able to offer you a
bargain this time.”

“Oh, thanks--I apologise.”

When I was leaving with the teapot under my arm he added to his
farewell, “You’d be surprised if you knew how little I gave for it.”

This remark rankled, and I was no sooner in the train than I carefully
examined my purchase, when I found that the spout had been snapped off
clean just where it entered the body of the pot, and had been carefully
and neatly stuck in again, and so the mysterious outburst of genial
generosity was revealed.

Blue and white takes my eye always, pulls me up every time, and I fancy
myself fortunate in having so much of it in pottery and porcelain
considering the means I have adopted while collecting.

I do not flatter myself that I have any china of extraordinary value,
but the reader will gather from the photographs that, taken as a
whole, I have found something worth looking for. Being wishful that
the amateur may derive assistance from my book I have arranged several
groups as specimens of various factories, and although the photographs
can give only a poor idea of the colours, yet the style of decoration
and the shapes may be some guide. I have succeeded in obtaining a black
background by making use of the bookcase on the bureau, which gave me a
side light. I am glad to say that all the handling, moving from place
to place, fixing on wire stands, arranging on the shelves, shifting
from one position to another, taking down and getting back into their
respective quarters has been achieved without a chip. Beyond the
annoyance of having to arrange a grouping twice, owing to an oversight
which was not discovered until some days after the first negative had
been taken, the photography was interesting, and I hope the result will
be so to the reader, who is recommended to use a magnifying glass.


BOW (PLATE XL)

I have drawn my bow at a venture in getting this bag and my first
shot brought in a saucer pronounced “Worcester” which I found had an
impressed Bow workman’s mark; next I potted a saucer which was so thick
and heavy that I thought it was all pot; then came in sight the teapot
sold as “Worcester,” Dr. Wall period, and soon after I got a small
bowl, strange to say flying under the same false colours. Other stray
shots account for the odd handle-less cups. All these are hand-painted
in blue, and as they vary in shade and hardness of paste they have
been very entertaining. The tea-caddy on which I placed a small cup
inverted, and two cups with saucers are painted in red, blue and gold.
I have already spoken of my large bowl, the bowl with green decoration,
sauce-boat, fretted bon-bon tray and basket pattern dish, so I need not
again refer to them.


CHELSEA (PLATE XXXIX)

I fancy the two cups hand-decorated in red were among the first
pieces made, and I wonder what has become of the saucers for they
would be so thick they would not be likely to be broken except by a
twentieth-century washer-up. I have three large plates, two of which
were sold as Oriental, while the other was exchanged for a remark about
the weather and half a crown. The two small plates were “certainly
Lowestoft.” The fine cup I found at Dunbar, and strange to say I picked
out a saucer to match it at a Southport shop a few days later. Here I
also bought the little vase as Oriental, and at the next antique shop I
visited I was kindly furnished with an Oriental lid which fitted, thus
completing the picture in a way. The Chelsea painting is exquisite,
yet the whole does not bear careful scrutiny. Still the two make handy
examples of hard and soft paste. The odd cup dates between the cups
already spoken of. The small figure of Cupid holding a shell for sweets
completes the group, but an early bowl will be found on Plate XV.

[Illustration: Old China.

  Shelf 4. Worcester, Caughley.
    ”   3.     ”         ”
    ”   2. Lowestoft.
    ”   1. Bow.

PLATE XL.]

[Illustration: Old China.

  Shelf 4. Turner Jug, Newhall, Chinese, Newhall.
    ”   3. Liverpool, Davenport Jug, Worcester.
    ”   2. Swansea, Nantgarw.
    ”   1. Plates: Coalport, Minton, Worcester,
           Coalport. Cups and Saucers: Minton,
           Leeds, Bristol, Rockingham, Pinxton.

PLATE XLI.]


LOWESTOFT (PLATE XL)

Before you set out to collect Lowestoft it would be as well if you
learned something about it, for as no marks are known of in connection
therewith it makes a most convenient name to conjure with. I have had
all sorts of stuff offered to me as Lowestoft. After I had coached
myself up I rambled out one day to endeavour to make a start and
you will scarcely credit it but at the first shop I came to I was
successful. After going through the china that was visible I worked my
way to the back where I found a few plates and odds and ends jumbled
together, and after turning them over came across the pair of small
blue hand-painted plates shown. I was told the plates had been in
the window ever so long, but as nobody wanted them I could have them
for a shilling each. I have found the other two odd plates quite at
haphazard, and they were treated as just ordinary old ware by people
who have not sunk deep into the mysteries of porcelain and glazing.
Three cups and a saucer in blue, also a cup and saucer with basket and
garland floral decoration in colours, make up the lot after including
the teapot to which I have already alluded as probably one of the
earliest pieces, owing to the way in which the design had run causing
its smudged appearance. The handle-less cup may be Longton Hall.


BRISTOL

To the group Shelf 3, Plate XLII, I think it worth while to call
special attention. To begin with I invested one shilling on the
handle-less cup blue and gold, marked “T,” and I concluded this
identified it with Tebo and Bristol; next I was sold the blue-and-white
coffee cup marked with crossed swords and guaranteed “Worcester”; then
I bought the spill-holder with crossed swords. All these at different
times and places. Later I spotted a dirty teapot, with no mark and no
gilt, which when washed looked well. It was evidently closely related
to the coffee-cup in decoration and age, and was undoubtedly old
Bristol. Then my faith in the “T” mark wavered, and when a few days
after I saw a feeding-cup which appeared new, and which on handling
revealed the “T” again, I began to feel cheap. Anyway, this settled the
doubt I had in my mind and convinced me that while I had found an old
Bristol piece which had copied the Dresden mark I had been deceived
by “Dresden” faking the old Bristol mark. I show the two wastrels
alongside the absolutes to illustrate my perplexity; certainly the soft
paste, hand decoration, and very little gilt remaining helped to take
me down. I wonder which of the copyists originated the design? “T” on
this class has meant taboo since.

  _When the forger stops his forging
  There won’t be half the fun,
  For the hunter bargain hunting
  Stands less chance of being done.
  It’s just the doubt, when you are out,
  That makes up half the game;
  Without the fake, and chance you take,
  The pastime would be tame._

The first Bristol cottage china teapot (Shelf 2) I discovered was on a
shelf and as I lifted it down I noticed the cross mark in red, and as
no lid was in evidence I was charged one shilling. On wrapping it up I
found the lid inside and called attention thereto, but was met with the
remark “That makes no difference.”


MINTON (SHELF 1, PLATE XLI)

I am noticing this name because thereby hangs a tale. While in a
well-stocked shop I was charmed with a cup and saucer, which I examined
and found impressed “Minton,” together with the name of the artist, and
dated 1864 in red. At the time of my find (1912), this artist had risen
to the important position of Art Director at ----, and I wondered why
he had gone to such trouble to please someone whose initials are worked
into the design on the cup and saucer, and how it came to be sold to
me with the remark, “Oh, that’s only modern; you can have it for----”
(so little), as it is hand painted with sweet delicacy. The plate is a
typical example of hand-painted fruit, with the border of turquoise
blue. Further specimens are on Shelf 1, Plate XLII, a Minton plate
giving a Spanish noble’s coat-of-arms in green, and a rather ordinary
cup and saucer in pink and turquoise.

       *       *       *       *       *

Owing to a very recent purchase just in time to be included in Plate
XXXIII, Shelf 1, there will be seen two Minton Plates; the one in the
centre is pottery, is mainly hand painted in bright colours, one over
the glaze, and impressed “Minton.” That on the right is thick porcelain
with one colour over the glaze, the outline of the design in black
transfer, the colouring done by hand. I have had a pair of the latter
some time, and the marked plate confirmed my opinion that they also
came from the same factory, so I included one for the benefit of the
reader, who will do well to study old Minton. Because--I have just been
pulled up short when passing a shop which exhibited a large dish (20
in. by 15½ in.), having been struck by its almost dazzling decoration
and its perfect condition. I found it bore no maker’s mark, but as I
had Minton’s style in my mind’s eye, I bought it in a hurry as pottery.
Now I have time to examine it at home I find it is excellent porcelain,
translucent throughout, although it weighs 6½ lb. It is the largest
piece of china I have and the most brilliant in colouring, which is
all hand painted, being touched up here and there with dark brown for
a finishing effect after glazing. There is enough work on this dish to
keep a “Ca’ Canny” artist (did such exist) toiling for a week. It is a
greatly glorified edition of the marked plate, and it is just in time
to be too late to photograph, as this is my final haul before going to
press. Here is another proof of my previous remark that “You never know
your luck when collecting,” but I must add that your fortune may be
considerably influenced by the knowledge you have acquired. You should
first of all make up your mind where you want to go, and ascertain the
best way to “get there,” as there are many pitfalls on the road. The
six plates referred to have been found at five different places (the
pair 100 miles away); and as to the cost, well, that is a detail which
might depreciate the descriptive notes.


SWANSEA (PLATE XLI)

I must say a few words about this group, as second on the left is a
jug which represents my first purchase in old china. I knew nothing
about the subject, and when later I discovered its mark “Woodbine”
denoted that the piece emanated from Swansea, and that it was actually
mentioned in a book, it set me thinking, and I decided to enter for
the China Stakes. I have gathered in other Swansea representatives,
none of them of a really uncommon type. Four in the centre are lustre
decoration, but no one I have come in contact with has been aware that
it was all Swansea, so possibly the photograph may be of avail to more
than one curious reader. I am well aware that the really artistic
Swansea is considered of great value, but the fact that I have no
specimens of this class does not keep me awake o’ nights. The jug on
the right is Nantgarw.


BLUE DRAGON (PLATE XL)

I had a remarkable experience one morning when I was staying at a
seaside town. I turned out to see what I could find, and visited all
likely shops. In one where the stock was mostly modern I was told they
had no old china, but for some reason I opened a drawer near the door
and lifted out a blue dragon bowl bearing an old Worcester mark. They
had forgotten all about it, and seemed almost as pleased as I was at
the discovery, which ended in a mutual bargain. In another street at a
shop where they were giving up business, and only had a little stock
left, I saw another blue dragon bowl the same size, marked 4s. 6d. When
I got home I removed the price ticket and was shocked when an imitation
Chinese mark was revealed proving it to be very early Caughley. No blue
dragons or blue devils have since crossed my path, but if I do meet
with any green dragons on cups I will see if I cannot make them agree
with some which are portrayed on the two early Coalport saucers I show
on Plate XLI.


WORCESTER (SHELVES 3 AND 4, PLATE XL)

Reader, I have now brought you to Worcester, which you know is a
Sauce-y as well as a Saucer-y place, but that should not influence our
careful study of some of its products which appeal to me effectively.
There is something so reposeful about the blue-and-white old Worcester
china, mellow with age, and soothing with its smoothness, combined with
a warmth of feeling, that has ofttimes affected me. When reaching the
stage of jadedness after a long ramble, when the results have been up
to that point disappointing, I have felt quite revived after treating
myself to a taste of Worcester Sauce. You see the variety of articles,
wine cup, egg-cup, sweetmeat dish, teapot, cups and saucers--but I wish
to call your special attention to the small jug. I saw one very like
this recently fitted with a lid, and marked with a crescent, which the
dealer said denoted either Worcester or Caughley, and the price was
four guineas. As my jug has no mark I call it “Worcester.” The cup and
saucer, lotus pattern bear the 1862 mark.

Shelf 3, Plate XLI, coloured and printed Worcester. I bought the
English Japanese mask jug, as I was struck with its doubtful beauty,
especially as it had only part of the handle. Later it took a journey
to London, and returned after a lengthy absence fitted with the
artificial limb which, as it has not been put to use since, has proved
most satisfactory.

With regard to the coloured cream jug, on one of my cycling rambles
I unexpectedly came across an emporium, stocked with a legion of
antiques, which I entered, after dismounting of course. Being a
beginner I was much bewildered, and was backing out without buying
when I was hypnotised by the glare of the proprietor’s gaze, so I
grabbed the most strikingly coloured thing that struck my eye, put
down half a crown, and scorched away with what I have since discovered
to be a piece of old Worcester of a type which is in great demand. I
got to know the man fairly well later, and if he had sudden fits of
uncontrollable temper at intervals his lungs were O. K., and fitted him
for the role of local politician. He did a big trade, and if I caught
him in his shirt with his trousers fastened up by his braces tied round
him I anticipated we could do business; but on occasions when I found
him got up in print shirt-sleeves and a black velveteen waistcoat then
I knew he was expecting wealthy clients and I had better call again.
His knowledge of marks was somewhat limited, and I wondered why his
price always seemed high after I had examined the bottom of a piece;
and that he never said what he wanted until he had taken the thing
from me and satisfied himself if it had a mark or not. When I tumbled
to his game, if I caught sight of a mark I had to put that piece back
hurriedly and pick it up again casually just before leaving, this being
a case of paste cutting a rough diamond.

Lastly I come to my first little bit of Worcester. You will no doubt
have heard of Dr. Wall, who really created this china; if not, you
can read him up, when you will find he took a great interest in
Malvern, so it is not surprising that on this mug there is a view of
Malvern. Judging by the scene it must be a very early production, more
especially as the printing is over the glaze. Every collector seems to
be out for reminiscences of Dr. Wall, and I once came in contact with
a dealer who labelled most of his Worcester “Dr. Wal period.” On my
pointing out the error in the spelling he remarked, “I see--that makes
a L of a difference!”


NEWHALL

It is often hard to tell a certain class of Newhall from Bristol common
or cottage china, and Newhall seems to have turned out many qualities
of work without using any mark. The only pieces I have which are
marked are the bowl on “Grandfather Helm” and the teapot in Plate XLII,
Shelf 3.

[Illustration: Old China.

  Shelf 4. French Porcelain.
    ”   3. Newhall (3), Plymouth Cup, Bristol Saucer,
           Mug and Teapot, “Dresden” Duds (2).
    ”   2. Bristol Cottage China.
    ”   1. Plates: Minton, Worcester, Chamberlain’s
           Worcester, Cups and Saucers: Minton,
           Leeds, Caughley, Newhall.

PLATE XLII.]

[Illustration: Old Horse Amulets. Group 1.

PLATE XLIII.]

In regard to the bowl I am about to reveal a secret known to very few
outside my own family circle. The bowl was given (not thrown) in with
several other things I had bought, as it had a piece broken out. It
is gaudily painted inside, and having the letter “N” on the bottom I
determined to make the most of it. I had a wooden block cut, grooved to
just fit the jagged edge when the bowl was on its side, and fitted with
a back support which took in the bottom, then a piece of wire holds the
bowl always in position. This is a bit of camouflage that has only been
noticed by one collector visitor, and the bowl has often been admired.
On the top shelf, Plate XLI, you will see two teapots very similar in
decoration, the practically perfect one is Newhall and soft; the other,
without a handle, is Chinese and very hard. I bought the latter to
demonstrate how nearly the English artist copied the Oriental, but the
faces always give the show away; the fact is, you cannot make a Chinese
mug out of an English face. When I bought this broken pot the following
remarks were exchanged:

“I never thought anyone would be soft enough to buy that thing.”

“Ah! but I collect teapots without handles; then they cannot be broken
off when they are used at home.”

“But how can they pour the tea out when it’s hot?”

“Pump it out with a strainer.”

“How?”

 “Now you are pumping. If you get any more without handles, will you
 save them for me? Good day.”


DERBY (SHELF 4, PLATE XXXIX)

The cup and saucer on the right are richly decorated in heavy gold
only, and are marked. Those at the left end are painted with rural
scenery, and I was surprised to find they were Derby. The part-set of
handsome Crown Derby will be easily identified by the typical handwork,
which is of good early production.


SPODE (SHELVES 2 AND 3, PLATE XXXIX)

I give several specimens representing this prolific factory, and
although none of them is marked, I feel sure they are correctly
classified. There is a substantial portion of a family tea service
of old Spode on the third shelf, to which I have added some cups and
saucers of the same design, but whiter in the body. These all have the
well-known Mandarin design as decoration with the typical bright green
in evidence. The teapot, sugar bowl, and specimen cups and saucers on
the shelf below call for no special comment.


LEEDS

I give on Shelf 1, Plate XLI, a charming specimen of some cups and
saucers printed in maroon and gilt, and on Shelf 1, Plate XLII, a
blue-and-white cup and saucer bearing a square imitation Chinese mark.
On “Grandfather Phillips,” Plate III, there is an example of old Leeds
pottery, hand painted in blue, with an early Oriental design. I was
in doubt where this bowl emanated from, but I am now convinced it is
Leeds, for I have just bought a perfect rich blue-and-white Leeds
Queen’s ware coffee pot of similar design and glaze. It has a twin
twisted handle with flower knob, and cost less than the price of this
book. A basket-pattern dish in fine condition appears on Plate XV.


FRENCH PORCELAIN

At the head of Plate XLII you will see a covered potpourri jar and a
pair of 8-inch beakers, together with two mugs. I found four of these
things at Folkestone, while one mug, with the coat-of-arms of the
Earl of Arundel worked into the decoration, I got in Kendal. When I
was in Folkestone in 1912 I was hopelessly puzzled as to what this
stuff could be. In another shop I had examined a bowl of the same make
bearing an imitation Chinese mark, and as up to then I had learnt that
only English china was soft--which all these pieces were--I could not
understand where it came from. After comparing notes with Mr. J. F.
Blacker, who had previously written me very kindly when answering my
queries, I felt satisfied it was made in France of a soft quality to
suit the English market. The decoration is by hand, and is a mixture
between Chelsea and Oriental design. Lots of this stuff has been called
Lowestoft, and about that time in an up-to-date shop I saw something
like it which I felt sure had not long come over from the Continent.
Soon after this holiday I was asked to call at a house near home to
look at two “Lowestoft” vases which had just been sent them, and I
found they were similar modern Continental. I believe my specimens are
about a hundred years old.



_SEVENTH COURSE_

Old Horse Amulets

 A Poor Start--Castings--Tips--Duplicates--Photographs--A Puzzle--My
 only Son--Our last Tour.


I have now reached a course which I am afraid I shall not find
easy-going. My attention was first drawn to horse amulets or face
brasses in an article in the _Connoisseur_ for October, 1911, but it
was not until 1913, when I came in touch with the proprietor of an
antique shop who had dabbled in these things for some time, and who
obligingly talked to me about them, that I decided I would add a few
to my collection, as they might be interesting and would occupy small
space. My first purchases resulted in my bringing home on approval
quite a number which I had obtained from a dealer, who informed me that
the brasses were usually collected in pairs. I referred this find to
the friendly antique proprietor, who, after looking them through, asked
if I had paid for them, and he said it in such a way that I evaded the
question by enquiring “Why?” His answer was, “Because there are several
stamped pieces, and you should only buy cast ones; besides, what do you
want pairs for?”

This seemed rather a poor start, but I was taught early in life to make
difficulties stepping-stones to success, so I returned the amulets
not approved of, and later received desirable specimens in exchange.
The next step was to learn how to detect those that were cast, and I
found they usually had a couple of points or studs apparent at the back
corresponding with the holes in the moulds through which the molten
metal had been run. Further, all stamped pieces are punched out of a
sheet of brass, the same thickness throughout, the back of which is
practically as smooth as the front. I have about half a dozen not cast
and not stamped, but fretted by hand.

Next I had to ascertain how to tell old from modern. That can usually
be arrived at by the appearance of wear, while the old type are more
highly finished and better metal was used in their manufacture. I was
soon made aware of the fact that new “old” pieces were being made,
as they were constantly cropping up. The ambition of the collector
evidently should be to get together as many varieties as possible,
leaving the duplicates for other buyers; but as soon as my curiosity
was aroused I bought all the old castings I came across.

To anyone who makes a special study of signs and symbols these patterns
and designs must be very fascinating, and the collecting thereof should
appeal forcibly to those with enquiring minds whose fancies tend in
that direction.

As it was quite impossible to get together a collection by my usual
method of looking out for myself, I secured the assistance of two
kindly travellers who went in all directions in connection with their
ordinary business. They took great interest in my requirement, and
bought up all the old brass cast specimens they could find, with the
result that I became possessed of many duplicates, some of which I
disposed of, whilst through the courtesy of a correspondent who readily
exchanged the remainder, I was able to raise the number of my different
specimens to about four hundred.

I found these amulets made very interesting groups for photography,
and as fast as I procured a fresh two dozen I hung them by strong pins
on a bridge table, which I placed on its side on a dining-table, and
so was enabled to make an easy job. I was quite keen up to a point on
doing this, but the bottom seemed to drop out of the business soon
after the war started, though not before I had taken quite a number of
photographs. In the hope they will interest many readers, I give two
plates reduced from twelve of my best negatives, which will show enough
amulets for anyone to be going on with. One collector informed me he
knew of over one thousand designs, and no doubt there are many more, so
there is ample scope, but my experience is that old specimens are very
hard to find.

I am now going to put a puzzle before you, and hope it may be somewhat
entertaining. The fact is, one of the amulets is a fake. It occupies
a central position on one of the twelve photographs reproduced. I
conceived the idea when the spirit of mischief was upon me, and with
the assistance of a mechanic and a little solder, a very common piece
was made into a very rare specimen. It was specially remarked upon by
another collector to whom I sent my photographs as the only one of the
kind he had seen. Which is it?

I remember showing this jokingly to my son, and his characteristic
comment was, “That’s jolly good; but I say, dad, is it playing the
game?”

[Illustration: Old Horse Amulets. Group 2.

PLATE XLIV.]

[Illustration: Sheffield Plate and Old Silver.

PLATE XLV.]

In the spring of 1914 my son took me in his side-car for a tour which
lasted one happy week, one day of which now comes forcibly to my mind.
That we started back from Henley-on-Thames in pouring rain made no
difference to his equable temper, and before we reached Oxford the sun
was as bright as his disposition. When we turned at Whitney and passed
over the Cotswolds _en route_ for the Wye Valley, we came across the
scenery in which he revelled, and here he and I found a few old amulets
in a saddler’s shop while waiting for the wayside lunch. In peace and
quietness his true bent lay, and only his regard for duty impelled him
to join the Army when volunteers were appealed for. His commission was
dated on his twenty-first birthday, and it was the irony of fate that
the last two years of his clean life should have been spent in the
grime and stress and turmoil of war. Thus I lost my lovable companion,
who for nearly ten years had played such a charming part in assisting
to make my collecting a pastime.



_FINAL COURSE_

Sheffield Plate and Old Silver Told by the Plateau


I have been asked to act as spokesman for this group and as it is in
the customary order of things, not only for every group but for each
individual, to have a grievance and air it, I must first of all protest
against the indignity of placing my companions and myself at the rear
of the book, when our value and appearance justify our occupying the
premier position, and we consider it a great slight on the estimation
in which we are held by real connoisseurs that we have been allotted a
back setting while things like old pewter, for which we have the utmost
contempt, have been allocated to the forefront. Now that I am on my
feet I will say a few words respecting my associates and myself, and
considering that my age and reflections extend over a century, I hope
they will be followed with some regard. I get on very well with the
Tankard, but there are times when he gets out of hand. On one of these
unruly outbursts he addressed me as “Centrepiece,” but I metaphorically
put his lid on by calling him “a mug.” Taking him all round, he is
not a bad specimen, and undoubtedly has sprung from a good family,
although I have heard that he latterly came out of a pawnshop for half
a sovereign.

My friends the candlesticks might assist me considerably in my
reflections, but their glory has been snuffed out since coming here,
and on no occasion have they served any useful purpose, whereas if
their telescopic action was brought into play and their proper office
as candle-bearers to a distinguished specimen bearing the aristocratic
title of “Tableau” was allotted to them, they would undoubtedly throw
more light on this subject.

The cake-basket is the silent member of our select clique, but I learnt
that it had served a fine family for some generations, when it was
presented to a church bazaar. From there it passed into the warm hands
of the late donor to our present owner. In my opinion this is a case of
overfretting.

The sugar-tongs and butter-knife are quite unobtrusive, but are of
sterling worth. They often indulge in punctilious conversation which
usually becomes more animated in the afternoon about tea-time, when
they often refer to a family of Spoons--the Tea Spoons, I believe. On
these occasions Mr. Knife lays the butter on rather thickly, which Miss
Tongs in her sweet way appears to look upon as quite the correct thing.
Only on her arrival here in company with the Cream Jug have I seen them
upset, and I gathered that they had all their lives been accustomed to
the troy weight which jewellers use, but owing to the vicissitudes of
their recent experience they had fallen into the hands of a broker,
who, when he parted with them, dumped them into the scales which were
guaranteed to weigh correctly up to 14 lb. avoirdupois, and which had
just been used for dirty pewter and called them “half a crown an ounce.”

The Cream Jug keeps himself to himself, and is taciturn, at times
turning to sourness. He suffers from swelled head occasionally, and
then says things about “hall-marks” and “helmet shape,” but he always
carries himself well. We call the Toddy ladle “Euclid,” because he is
length without breadth, but he doesn’t mind. He has had jovial times in
the past, and says if he were to tell me some of the tales he has heard
when he was kept busy at nights that I should crack my mirror. He loves
to lie on me with his face downwards, as then he can see it in the
glass, and I will say I have seldom seen a nicer.

As regards myself, I could fill a volume with the interesting events I
have witnessed and the conversations I have heard, but the space placed
at my disposal is so meagre I will limit my disclosures to the last
few years of my existence. Owing to circumstances over which I had no
control, after a lengthy period of neglect I was condemned to occupy an
undignified position in a broker’s window, where the odour of paraffin
was most repulsive to my susceptibilities. I was dozing in the dark one
evening when I heard a voice inquiring, “Have you any pewter?” and the
reply, “There is a thing in the window, but I think it has some copper
about it.” Some money changed hands, I was wrapped in soiled paper and
carried to this home, where I was shocked to see a lot of horrid pewter
in the hall and elsewhere, and I was introduced to the family in this
way, “I don’t know what it is, but it is juicy heavy.”

These people treated me with an attention I had not been accustomed
to for many years, and after giving my frame a bath and a polish,
refitting my mirror top and screwing my mahogany back, promoted me to
the drawing-room, where no pewter was permitted to enter, and here I
have since remained. I am convinced I never looked better, and they
went into ecstasies over my grape and vine leaves border decoration,
and I then had my photograph taken for the first time in my life. Being
a great advocate of cleanliness, and as the same care was bestowed on
my appearance in my early days as now, I was quite in accord with the
lady who remarked, “She thought that in all well-managed houses the
carpets ought to be taken up and beaten at least once a year.”

Do you know I love old furniture, and on occasions when there is a
general dust up in the drawing-room I am walked past an elm dresser on
which I have caught sight of a pair of Sheffield plate snuffers. I have
cut them dead, as I notice they have so far demeaned themselves as to
form an unholy alliance with a despicable pewter tray.

I had an uneventful period until the leaves were falling in 1918, when
a young captain in khaki arrived straight from the firing line in
France on leave for a fortnight. The next few days I am proud to say I
had to bear the weight of a large wedding cake, and on the eventful day
I trembled when the bride began to cut it with the captain assisting
her, but my old back, which is as strong as ever, bore up bravely.
There was much talking on that occasion, but the words which most
impressed me--and which, in order that I may apply them to my patient
readers, shall be my last--were

“HEALTH, WEALTH, AND HAPPINESS.”


PRINTED BY CASSELL & COMPANY, LIMITED, LA BELLE SAUVAGE, LONDON, E.C.4

F.30.320

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber’s Note:

Italic text is denoted by _underscores_ and bold text by =equal signs=.

The use of small capitals for the names of the plates has been
regularised throughout the text.

Variations in spelling and hyphenation remain as in the original unless
noted below.

  List of Illustrations, number “17” inserted.
  Plate VI, period added at the end of the caption.
  Plate XVII, period added after “p.”
  Plate XXXVI, “Deft” changed to “Delft” (“Bristol Delft Dish”).
  Page 7, period added after “viz.”
  Page 67, “Shipwrights’ Arms,’ Limehouse Hole,” changed to “Shipwrights’
    Arms’, Limehouse Hole,”
  Page 72, “W  Nettleford” changed to “W. Nettleford.”
  Page 73, period added after “Wisbeach.”
  Page 79, superfluous quotation mark removed after “26, Haymarket, 1824.”
  Page 92, double quotation mark added after “Freemason’s Arms.”
  Page 93, single quotation mark changed to double after “S.”
  Page 105, period added after “the glaze will be his initials.”
  Page 115, period added after “stoneware K. & B.”
  Page 119, period added after “caused me all this trouble.”
  Page 125, “teapoys” changed to “teapots” (“real Old Worcester teapots”).
  Page 130, period added after “was undoubtedly old Bristol.”
  Page 139, “were” changed to “where” (“I could not understand where it
    came from”).

Original scans of this book can be found here:
https://archive.org/details/collectingaspast00rowe





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