Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Is this a 'Collection', or just 'More than One of its Kind'?

I've decided that there's a difference between a collector and someone who just owns more than one of everything.   When I was looking around for something to contribute to Lesley's challenge to other bloggers to show their collections, I couldn't help concluding that I definitely fall into the latter category.  

My stamp-collecting passion faded in about 1962, having survived an attempt by my youngest sister to chew most of my Magyar Posta treasures, perhaps because they portrayed soft fruits of the region.

Since then, although I have gathered a lot of stuff around me, it's been more a case of "oh there's one of those things I've already got two of, perhaps I'd better get it to go with the others".  

Many many moons ago, I developed a keen nose for identifying places that Victorians dumped their household waste.   Not necessarily the most useful faculty, I grant you, but digging up an old rubbish-dump did provide an occasional diversion when the weekend had little else to offer.    As a result, I became the proud owner of a large collection of Bovril jars.   They were thankfully disposed of long ago, but I did keep a handful of little bottles just for sentimental reasons.

ribbed bottles, denoting that the contents could be poisonous if taken in quantity

oh, I seem to have kept one teenytiny Bovril jar after all....
hardly big enough to contain a tablespoonful
 Eiffel Tower fruit juice bottle
The Foster Clark company was founded by George (who was for a while Mayor of Maidstone in Kent) in 1890 and these pale green glass bottles contained concentrated lemon juice, probably used more for culinary purposes than for drinking.

These stoneware ink bottles were picked up in a ploughed field (near Ayot St. Lawrence, the home of George Bernard Shaw - do you think he dipped his knib in them?) and I am truly besotted  with them.   I love the colour, the weight, the warmth, shape and size of them and admire the way they withstood many years' daily use and survived being buried for years before I came across them.  They are always out on display somewhere, so that I can see them all the time.

These old broken clay pipes are special, too.  I love the decorative detail they have been given, despite the fact that they were workaday objects destined to have a very short life.     My vegetable garden is always turning up pipe-stems, broken by their owner probably 100 years ago or more.
I invariably rescue any bits of broken china I find in the garden or when walking alongside a ploughed field.   Lots of it is blue-and-white, maybe a cup handle or the rim of a marmalade jar.  

this one is a strange one, with a little hatchling making its way into the world

Bits of broken china were an important part of my mum's play in the late 1920's.   In the back yard of her Glasgow home, mud pies were made and sold, the local currency being small shards of broken plate found in the household tip.   Anything with a gold rim was treasure indeed.   It must be in my genes!

What do you collect?



marigold jam said...

Like you I suspect I am not a true collector but have happened upon several of this or that and your little bottles reminded me that I do have a collection of blue glass bottles and bits which resides on a shelf in my cloakroom. I also have several thimbles but no proper collections of anything I am afraid which is why I haven't taken up the gauntlet of Lesley's collection posting.

Joanna said...

A great selection of 'more than ones'. I too love the colour and tone of the stoneware ink bottles, they look gorgeous in that photo. The crazing on the piece of broken china is gorgeous, I must try and incorporate that look into a PK postcard.......

Jane said...

Lots of lovely things, Cathy. My mum used to play with broken china during her childhood in Bristol. I particuarly like the clay pipes as my great great grandparents were clay pipe makers - also in Bristol.

Jane said...

Sorry Chrissie, I renamed you as I had an email from a friend called Cathy pop up as I was writing my comment - it's been a long day, I'd better go to bed!

vintagerockchick said...

Oh they are perfect collections - pretty and useful - and free! I have a friend who collects broken clay pipes along the Thames, and then makes jewellery from them. http://www.amelia-parker.com/
Have a look, they are MUCH prettier than you'd imagine. Gill x

Printed Material said...

When I asked about people's collections I didn't imagine everyone would have more than me! I love those ink bottles too.They look like things you might want to pick up just to run your fingers over the texture. Have you had a blog facelift? I have to ask as I made a comment to Jill about her new header and she'd had it for months so I'm obviously slow on the up take. Please tell me your blog hasn't looked like this for weeks.... L x

Menopausal musing said...

Loving the clay pipes and the china pieces. I have an enormous jar full of bits of broken cups etc and just tip them out sometimes to look at.

Laughing at Lesley's comment... (She's definitely on the downward slope now.. ;O)

Jane Housham said...

Beautiful collections, thanks so much for sharing them. I specially like the shards of pottery and the tiny Bovril bottle. And the clay pipes. Everything, really. More collections! Please.

Pomona said...

I have some of those ink bottles! I always wondered what they were for ... And I used to have a lot of old glass bottles, but I think they got thrown away by someone who saw them as a lot of old rubbish!

Pomona x

Jenny said...

I shy away from having a collection of anything, reminds me of those awful overpriced plates on the back of Sunday magazines. However I too have an assortment of old glass bottles my Dad dug up in the garden, some sea glass picked up over the years and of course mountains of knitting wool. Hard not to be a collector of some sort I suppose.

Carrie said...

I know somebody who digs in old Victorian tips (not quite legal I don't think!) and makes a living out of selling pot lids and old bottles. I blame hime for my fascination with all things old and dusty!


Such a wonderful post ... I think we mus have a lot in common Chriss ... I collected stamps too and still have my old albums although did give a load of stamps away to Wend (Ticking Stripes) but also have a nice collection of vintage bottles too ... I like the way you have photographed the one on it's side with the writing ... I have many old apothecary bottles that I could share some time ... and of course the pottery ... love that too ... I look for it on the beaches of St. Ives

Have a fab week xx

Jill said...

Having met you today Chrissie, made me revisit your blog and realize I had missed this post - yours is not the only one I've missed. On our Norfolk holidays my sister and I would dig up the pottery shards from the garden and wash and arrange them on the garden bench. When we'd gone home Nana would throw them all back in the garden for us to dig up the next year! Of course we never kept any, how I'd love to beable to have a dig there now>