Only it isn’t china this time, but chinoiserie.
There used to be a second rosewater decanter. I don’t know what else went with this pretty little set of dressing table ware, probably a trinket bowl, a soap dish and a tray to stand everything on, possibly another candlestick. My mother thinks there was also a matching water jug and bowl.
It’s pottery, hand painted, though not very expertly done: whoever did it was clearly dashing these things off at speed – probably a child being paid a penny per hundred – but the colours are fresh and bright. The dark blue is reminiscent of that marvellous azure glaze used on Sèvres china, and no doubt that is what inspired the choice of blue and gold. Seen by candlelight, with the white glinting like porcelain and the bright gilding reflecting the flame, they would have lent an air of elegance to my Granny’s dressing table.
There are no maker’s marks on these pieces, nothing to identify their age or origin. I assume they are from Staffordshire, and late Victorian. I know that my Granny – born in 1889 – owned them as a girl and gave them to my mother in the nineteen thirties. Perhaps she bought them herself, or they were handed down to her from one of her older sisters. As a long shot, they may have come from her mother-in-law, whose family came from Tunstall in the Potteries.
I can only surmise. It really doesn’t matter: I simply enjoy the link with my grandmother in her youth.