Friday, January 18, 2013


Friends - Can we chat Downton Abbey? Poor Lady Edith! :( And poor Mr. Bates. Give these two a break. Pick on Thomas, go on! I was, however, pleased the family didn't have to move out of the big house. Not that Downton Place is shabby. I'd live there - crushing on it! But my favorite is still the Dowager Countess' cottage. Divine!
Dower House - This little cottage belongs to Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham.
And here is Downton Place, the "smaller" house into which the family nearly moved.
Downton Place is actually Grey's Court. Below is a photo of the garden. Charming, right? See more photos here.
While fantasizing over Downton Place and Dower House, I reminisced my visit to a charming historic house: Tintinhull.

Located in Somerset, England, Tintinhull house and garden are now part of the National Trust. The 17th century manor house, built of Ham Hill limestone, has the most mellow, honey colored patina. (The house is available for lease, btw.) For 14 years, Penelope Hobhouse, the famous garden designer, author of numerous books, and horticultural grande dame, cultivated the gardens while living there.
Dear Ms. Hobhouse - I might be your biggest devotee in Washington, DC (just in case you come across my little blog). Love your books!!! :) 
Let us now tour the gardens at Tintinhull. I took these photos near the end of a summer visit.
Standing in the Middle Garden looking back at the manor house. Overall, the gardens are formal and presented in a series of outdoor rooms divided by clipped yews and stonewalls. I love the scale and found the gardens compact and relatable.
A handsome urn tucked in a corner of the Middle Garden.
Above: standing in the Eagle Court with an enfilade view out to the Fountain Garden (below).
A palette of whites, greens and silvers surround the Fountain Garden.
I was very fond of the series of outdoor rooms divided by shrubbery and stonewalls.
Here is the Pool Garden, which was once a tennis court. Notice the pavilion at the end of the axis. Grapevines are trained around the opening.
A lovely framed view courtesy of a cut-out doorway through the yew hedge. A double border of shrub roses and dianthuses. 
Bay topiaries and amazingly healthy lavender.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Pitcher Perfect

Hi, there! Sorry for the lack of posts. I've been really swamped! Just finished year end inventory at the shop and at home. Kinda fun, but got me thinking.....

Sometimes I worry about my obsessions. Combing flea markets for white vellum books. Driving hours to Pennsylvania for an early crop of the whitest pumpkins. (Finally threw out the last ones which had turned yellow.) And recently, getting too excited about bleached pine cones.

You see, I am very fond of things in certain colors ~ or lack of color :) Almost obsessed!

Well here's another obsession collection. And yes, this one is also tone-on-tone. Introducing my smear glaze pottery.....all in shades of gray, beige and greige.
 Many smear glaze pieces were made in Staffordshire, England at the height of the Victorian period - mid 1800s. What is smear glaze? A definition I found online:
It is a glaze applied indirectly to the surface of the ware by painting a coat of glaze on the inside of the closed container (mold) in which the ware is baked. During the firing process, this glaze evaporates and settles like a fine mist on the surface of the ware. 
 Because the glaze is so thin, the relief / raised design remains crisp. Sometimes you will see smear glaze pottery labeled as salt glaze (more common in the 18th century) or parian ware (more bisque like).
 In addition to color, I have further focused this collection on the theme of nature. All the pieces, primarily pitchers, have motifs from the garden or nature.
Above is a large pitcher with lilies of the valley and a leaf form relish dish. 
Below is a Chinoiserie pitcher with bamboo trellis and songbirds. The inside of this pitcher is fully glazed, as it was meant to hold liquids ~ notice the interior sheen.
A splash of sunshine on a dreary winter's day. Pretty tulips with common mums in one of my favorite smear glaze pitchers.
This pitcher by Dudson was made for garden enthusiasts. I adore the bee skep, lovebirds and floral wreath.
Gray on gray on gray! Three gray pitchers on a gray Swedish demi-lune console against a gray wall. All three pitchers have various wheat designs
Below is a scarce hot water pitcher with the original lid. Notice the "make do" old staple repairs.
     Straight from the garden ~ roses and butterflies.
Happy January!