(Photo from Homes & Antiques magazine.)
I actually amassed my Carltonware collection when I was in my mid twenties (ooh many years ago), buying it mainly from eBay or specialist fairs. Some came from all over the world, Australia and the USA mainly, for although the china was made in Britain from around the 1930s onwards, much was made for export, especially to Australia and indeed if you turn some of the pieces upside down, they will be stamped "Australian Design".
At the time, competition was fierce and prices much higher than I've noticed recently. Such is the fickle world of antiques and collectables. As such, so long as you've bought what you really love, you'll always be ok. And I do love my Carltonware. Look at those colours! They're so me, don't you think!
For several years, whilst I lived my "single girl life" in my late twenties, working in the City, footloose and fancy free, enjoying life in my quite modern flat (Victorian building but the decor was quite trendy), the Carltonware lived in boxes in the attic. Having met Mr HH and moving to the HenHouse, there was room and a fitting setting to get it all out again. We duly purchased a lovely art deco cabinet on eBay and brought it back on the roof of the car from a fabulous Arts and Crafts style house in Birmingham.
In went some of the Carltonware and it sits in our "adults' lounge" (I love calling it this for it does rather make me think of a lap dancing club. No idea why this should amuse me but it does!)
The ranges are all based on flowers. So there is buttercup, one of the most sought after, which came in delightful yellow and pink, the pink being very collectable indeed. The "lidded cheese dish", one of my most treasured possessions, is one of the most coveted pieces of all. As you can see, I have been known to use them as props for my wares!
Poppy is also quite collectable and came in green and yellow. Most of the ranges (foxglove, apple blossom, springtime/crocus, hydrangea and so on) came in yellow and green so the pink was always very collectable.
(Incidentally, a new batch of these cute pin cushions has recently found its way into my shop.)
Much of the wares were not actually that practical for use. The dinky butter or preserve dishes came in beautiful boxes with china knives or spoons and had gorgeous decorated box lids, many different. My sister has a huge collection of these. The spoons or knives are often missing or broken. The large jugs are also quite rare.
Anyway, back to shelves and dressers. Oh yes, what a lucky lass I am, after a few years, along came the cottage giving me whole new areas to decorate! Having filled that art deco cabinet back at home, shockingly, there was still an awful lot of Carltonware living in boxes. Onto eBay I went, one dresser purchase later (yes, that was also transported on the roof of the car!) and I had a new home for it in the kitchen at the cottage and could finally unpack the last of the Carltonware.
Not just Carltonware though, as I couldn't resist those divine French tins, a bargain from the sale in Bridport's church hall. As you can see, at the weekend, the cottage went festive and a few decorations found themselves onto the dresser but can't really compete with that Carltonware, can they?
Is it familiar at all, that dresser filled with its floral goodness, its Carltonware and its French tins? Imagine my surprise when the lovely blogger, Sairer, sent me an email on Friday night and asked if I'd seen the latest Homes & Antiques magazine, or more precisely the free catalogue with this month's issue?
There it is, our dresser, ready for Spring in April! I think maybe it will always be April in the cottage. (Thank you, Sairer.)