Monday, November 11, 2013


"Polly put the kettle on ,We'll all have tea"..Charles Dickens.

Please do come in and ... ENJOY a warm sip from this much traveled teacup, created by A.E. Gray.
Gray's Pottery company was based in Hanley, Staffordshire in 1907, later Stoke -on-Kent, which existed until 1960 when Portmeirion Pottery  took it over.

It's unique style and bold colours denote the artistic  talents of artisans from the another era. It was an age of experimentation and expression.

Gray's Pottery was very responsive to fashion  and sought to supply customers with new, useful  and exciting designs. Besides the staggering outpour of cups and saucers, they also created plates, bowls, jugs, pitchers, teapots.  They added variety by including  vases, urns, egg cups, jelly moles, bird feeders, dog bowls and juice squeezer.

Their creative  decorating focussed on floral designs, lustre-banded patterns, slipware, geometric jazzy designs, print and enamelled patterns. Gray's Pottery were well known for their  flower wall pockets, large animal studies, lustred 18th century figurines, table lamps and hors d'oeuve sets complete with wooden trays.

Grays Pottery often carried a backstamp which included ' hand-painted', for hand-painted patterns which were the  very essence  of the majority of the thousands of designs produced during the firms existence. In 1912 the company sourced an undecorated pottery, called ' white ware' from various suppliers  and using the talents of in-house designers such as Susie Cooper and Sam Talbot, developed a highly successful decorating business... and in 1930 the slogan " The Pottery of Distinction " was well chosen. Gray's designs flooded national and international exhibitions as well as being included in influential design registers. 

Gray's Pottery was a typical family  business, into which A.E. Gray brought his young son, his daughter contributed designs and in 1930 his nephew John  ran the show room, nephew Jack contributed various designs included the  distinctive "Clipper" backstamp . The spirited family worked together from the design room to the shop floor where there were many relatives working alongside one another. 

Most of the wares do not have specific names but rather a pattern  classification for example , ( above)  has a lustre band combined with a print and enhanced with enameled colours. Therefore the the classification relied on the principle colour of the pottery.  Lustre had sub-classes of silver, copper,etc ... My Dicken's Days   tea piece is what is called, " splashed lustre".

Splashed lustre is also referred to as mottled or a splatter lustre..which I personally love for it's artistic uniqueness. It is a product of the 19th century Sunderland Potteries in the north-east of England.. A.E. Gray, was quite partial to lustre and developed a wide range of splashed lustre patterns which usually incorporated a monochrome print such as Dicken's Days.

Though purple/pink is the predominant colour for the lustre, other colours such as blue and green were also utilized  in production, right up to the time when Gray's Pottery became Portmeirion.

Goodness there is so much to learn and read about this industrious family …. but ( tick tick) I  have a date with the Egg Lady ( ha Ha) Would you like to come along for the scenic  ride…. Drink up your tea  and the  we'll all gather some  fresh eggs… for egg salad sandwiches. Infact let's jump into Dicken's stage coach and follow the country trails.

I see there are still a few blooming gallardia  and echinacea in the gardens.
( Chirp Chirp) These were some of the  fluffy little " Meat King" chicks that were unfortunately eaten and celebrated this Thanksgiving, poor little things.

Here we have Gertie, Lucinda and Henrietta… who are a  little disgusted with me for  buying  all their  eggs …  Oh, I do love these temperamental girls and  I promised to brings them a big bag of table scraps.( cluck cluck) so I'm back on their ' laying ' list for next week.

The last flowers of Autumn, echineacea, marigolds and  goblin gallardia are still blooming

in this beautifully landscaped  rock garden. I know that many a weary hour were spent planning this

inviting walkway up to the lofty greens  of the farm house. It always seems to  brighten my day.

 Most delightful is this large cluster of green blossoms.
Does anyone recognize plant or know it's name. ? 

I love meandering through gardens but the kettle is still on the stove and the stage coach is waiting to take us back home for another cup of tea.

It's been a " Dickens' of a day and  I'm so glad that you all decided to visit Ladies. Now you can relax for a few more minutes and have another cup of tea while I make the egg sandwiches.

                                             "Polly put the kettle on and we'll all have tea "
                                                         Have a wonderful day !!!!

P>S>…My apologies Ladies  for this re-posting late…It was posted last week and somehow got lost in cyberspace…. You all get extra scones for visiting me twice>>HUGS


Anonymous said...

The green plants look like a variety of sedum (stonecrops). I like teacups with scenes on them. You can almost get lost in the picture, imagining all that is going on there.

Zaa said...

Thanks Tracey ..I'm so excited to know the name I love the plant ..I'm so glad that you came to tea, my friend…Hugs

Terri said...

I have really enjoyed your very interesting tea post. The tea cup is lovely and so unique, at least to me. I have never seen the mottled luster before. I love lusterware, and this is so interesting for me to read about this company.
The farm pictures are fab! We are so beholden to the animals of this world.

Zaa said...

Thanks Terri..There's lots of info on Gray's Pottery and it is so interesting …. Thanks for your kind visit…Hugs

Karen said...

Hi Zaa,
Your teacup is so very unique and pretty. I have seen the teapot and cream and sugar before. The pink tones are lovely. You have told us so much interesting information. Love the picture of Polly. So beautiful. Thank you for visiting me. Have a wonderful week.

Ruth Weston said...

I love Grays and their lusters, a favorite of mine. Your garden photos are so lovely! Thanks for linking to Tuesday Cuppa Tea!

Zaa said...

Thanks for the sweet visit Karen...

Zaa said...

Hey Ruth ..It's always so nice to hear from you ...

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

I too like luster ware. I have loved it since I was a little girl because the iridescence always reminded me of rainbows and fairies' wings. I enjoyed all the history too. Love the little doggy! Your gardens are splendid and how lovely to have them on your property. Thank you for sharing and coming by for Tea Time.


kitty said...

What a beautiful teacup that you've shared! I loved to come on over for a cuppa tea and a freshly made egg sandwich!!

Doll in the Looking Glass said...

Thank you for inviting me to tea -- how did you know tea is my favorite beverage? The vivid colors on your teacup are so unusual and beautiful. Love the lovely pink cup with roses on your earlier post too.


Zaa said...

Thank you Sandi…You and I have the same magical feeling about lustre ware… fairy wings and rainbows… I enjoy your visits so very much, my friend…Hugs

Zaa said...

Thanks Kitty… You are welcome to come to tea anytime…Hugs

Zaa said...

Dearest Debra..You must come again soon.. as we do have dolly teas here too…xoxox

Lavender Cottage said...

I was very interested to find out about this china as I have a creamer that matches your teacup and says 'Dickens Day' on the front as well. It belonged to my late mother and I have no idea where she got it. Too bad I don't have a sugar bowl to match.
We are fortunate to have a farm on the next line that sells free range eggs and that's where I buy mine.

Zaa said...

How wonderful Judith …It's so encouraging to know that more of this pottery is still floating around as it's so very pretty…Thanks for your kind visit.

Cranberry Morning said...

Ah, I'm SO glad we're getting extra scones! :-) Love that cup and saucer. I have never seen anything like it in person. What an interesting post. And, thank you so much for stopping in at Cranberry Morning and commenting about our dog. I too wrote to Beth about grain-free food. I think I'll do a blog post about it since it seems that many know nothing about the benefits of feeding grain free. Thanks again for your helpful comment!

Zaa said...

Thanks you for your kind visit…Please do come again soon..Hugs

Gina @ VictorianWannaBe said...

Hi Zaa,
It was so good hearing from you, I'm glad you enjoyed my latest antique finds. Speaking of emphemera, I have the original card for the first photo you showed on this blog. :)
Your pottery teacup/saucer is very nice, I've never seen splatter lustreware before. Very pretty. I like that little beagle too.
Have a great rest of your week,

Alessandra said...

Hi, your china is just gorgeous. The farm picutres are wonderful. Thanks for the sweet words

Martha's Favorites said...

What an amazing post. Thank you so much for sharing. Have a great day! Blessings, Martha

Sherry Thecharmofhome said...

What a great cup! Beautiful home too! Thanks for stopping by!

Zaa said...

Hey Gina… A online shop with you is like the real thing ,,,Hugs

Zaa said...

Thanks for your sweet visit ..Alessandra..Please do come again for teatime…Hugs

Zaa said...

Dear Martha ..It's always a treat to hear from you ..Big Hugs

Zaa said...

Thanks Sherry ..I'm so glad that you stop over for a teatime break…Hugs