Sunday, 17 February 2013

My Blue & White Obsession

So, I may have mentioned before that I am a tad obsessed with Blue & White at the moment. I'm not quite sure what started this obsession, but I think it has something to do with the Blue Willow teapot and cooking stuff I got for Christmas and my birthday off my mum, dad and sister (little bro got me a fondue set - what a champ!). 

The term "Willow" is applied in a general way to many of the copies of the blue-and-white porcelain imported into England from China during the last half of the eighteenth century. For a century and a half the "Willow Pattern" has been the stock-pattern of nearly every British Pottery manufacturer, and although at times its popularity has waned, it has eventually returned to favour, and now is again at the apex of its popularity. Thomas Minton is thought to be the original producer of Blue Willow china in England, but was closely followed by other manufacturers, such as Royal Worcester, Spode, Adams, Wedgwood, Davenport, Clews, Leeds and Swansea in the production of the Blue Willow pattern. The Blue Willow china I received for Christmas is modern, and was made by Churchill, but it's not just the classic nature of the Blue Willow pattern that intrigues me, or the colours, it's also the legend associated with it's origins. 

The Blue Willow legend was probably made up as a sales pitch by one of the English companies who produced it, in order to sell more of their product, but it's a beautiful story nonetheless, and I think it's quite romantic. The story is about the daughter of a wealthy Chinese merchant being put to death after she runs away and gets married to a commoner. Later, the addition of the Gods turning the lovers into a pair of doves was added to the story. This was to tie in the story with the newly added pair of doves on the china. All of the main elements of the Blue Willow pattern are included in the story, just as in the poem which was on the box of all of my Blue Willow china:

Two birds flying high,
A Chinese vessel, sailing by.
A bridge with three men, sometimes four,
A willow tree, hanging o'er.
A Chinese temple, there it stands,
Built upon the river sands.
An apple tree, with apples on,
A crooked fence to end my song

And now a look at the Blue and White which is decorating my household:

The Blue Willow china my family gave me, displayed on an old cane hutch. 
(This display is obviously not complete, but money is an issue when it comes to decorating here)

Mum gave me this enamel Blue Willow jug not long after Christmas, to add to my collection. It's vintage and unmarked.

This Delft candle holder was a part of the huge collection of china mum gave me last week.

You can find a tutorial for these coasters I made on the blog later this week :)

So, what do you think? Are you a fan of the Blue and White look? I just love how it is so pretty without being cutesy - I'm trying my best here to decorate in a way that Jake will like as well, and so far the Blue and white thing is working really well! Obviously, our decorating is still a work in progress, but I couldn't be happier with how we have our apartment looking so far - we have only been here and living out of home for a month, after all!

Are there any colour combinations that have you swooning at the moment? I'd love to hear :)

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