Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Forbidden Love








This is just one of many collections at my mother's house.
She loves to collect blue and white dishes.








She loves flow blue dishes, or any cobalt blue pattern.
She also loves Blue Willow, and that's because it was
her mother's collection.

One of my favorite memories of
being with my grandmother, was when she would
share with me the sweet forbidden love story

behind the Blue Willow pattern.






She didn't remember the Chinese names, 
but she had every detail of the legend 
in her memory to tell to me.
I think I must have asked her 
to tell me the story 
(again)
a hundred times! 

In her later years, she had a quiet little shaky voice,
much like Katherine Hepburn, 
and she would sit me on her lap with a plate in hand
and tell me her variation of the story below. 




source



The Legend behind the Blue Willow Pattern
 
Long ago, in the days when China was ruled by emperors, a Chinese Mandarin, Tso Ling, lived in the magnificent pagoda under the branches of the apple tree on the right of the bridge, over which droops the famous willow tree, and in front of which is seen the graceful lines of the fence. 

Tso Ling was the father of a beautiful girl, Kwang-se, who was the promised bride of an old but wealthy merchant. The girl, however, fell in love with Chang, her father’s clerk. The lovers eloped across the sea to the cottage on the island. The mandarin pursued and caught the lovers and was about to have them killed when the gods transformed them into a pair of turtle doves. These are seen gazing into each other’s eyes 
at the top of the design.


Blue Willow, in its present form, originated in the England in 1790 by Thomas Turner at Caughley Pottery Works in Shropshire.





 

Do you have any blue and white dishes?
Blue Willow, or Flow Blue or?





34 comments:

Divine Theatre said...

Gracie loves that story, she embellishes it most every meal as she stares at her plate (not her green beans!).
She will tell anyone who visits they need to have a snack on our allegorical plates! LOL!
I see where you derived your exquisite taste, my friend!

Olive Cooper said...

My dear friend and neighbor, Nancy, has a vast collection of blue willow and she uses it frequently. It is one of seven sets of china she has. She does not concern herself with blogs but is a natural tablescaper. Thanks for sharing your mother's lovely china.

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

Oh yes, I have bought some Blue Willow pieces by Churchill, but my favorite by far are the old made in Japan ones. There is just a certain patina that the new ones can't duplicate. Also, I prefer the smaller size of the old dinner plates. Typical of America's supersizing of everything to our own detriment (just think obesity epidemic)!
Anyway, I have decided to collect only the old pieces in honor of my maternal grandmother who had these lovely dishes as her everyday set.

Babs said...

Alison, Your mother has a beautiful collection of flow blue and Blue Willow. It's so nice to have old pieces with special memories. I have a couple of pieces of old Blue Willow but I also have the grocery store variety of Churchill which I use every day. I love any color of transferware but Blue Willow is one of my favorites.

Alison @ The Polohouse said...

Babs!
I often want to reply to your comments and I cannot find a link or email or blog for you, friend!
Please find a way for me to reach you!
xx
Alison

Nita {ModVintageLife} said...

Oh...I love both blue willow and flow blue. My Mother has a large collection of blue willow. As a child I too heard the story from my Grandmother. She told me the story of Madame Butterfly too so I always get the two confused. I have lots of china but no blue willow and only one small piece of flow blue.

salmagundi said...

My everyday dishes are blue willow, and I'm a grandmother. I must remember to tell my grandkids the story. Thanks for the reminder. Sally

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

I have my Grandmothers blue willow doll dishes and a bowl she always used for mashed potato's.
Grandmothers give us wonderful memories.....

Tammy@Beatrice Banks said...

Great post and beautiful dishes. I have a set of Blue Willow dishes that a little old neighbor once sold me for $40. 8 complete place settings. She had sooo many transferware dishes in every color. I've since moved and often wonder what happen to all those gorgeous dishes. She told me she only had one son and her daughter in law could care less about them. Can't imagine anyone not liking these. Your mom's collection is wonderful.

Beverly said...

Alison what a sweet story. I hope my granddaughter will have such wonderful thoughts of me when she is an adult.

lvroftiques said...

Oh I adore flow blue and blue willow! Your mom has a wonderful collection! Thank you for sharing it with us Alison. It's always grabbed my heart *winks* ...But so many things do! LOL! Vanna

Blondie's Journal said...

Your mother has a wonderful collection and they are displayed so nicely! I have slowly been collecting Blue Willow dishes over the past few years and now that I think of it, I rarely use them! I do love the story behind them...I can't remember when I first heard it, but it made me want to cry!

Xo,
Janie

AntiqueChase said...

OMG we have the same mother??? My mom collects all flow blue, blue willow and anything blue.... blue blue blue.. In fact she just had her kitchen redone and installed ...you guessed it... white and blue granite...

Suzanne said...

I have some blue dishes but my favorite is a piece of my grandmother's Pink Willow. Yes, it also came in pink. She also had the pattern hand painted on her dining room wall by an artist friend.

Cindy said...

What a wonderful collection of blue and white! Sweet grandmomm memories, those are the best!

My Life of Domestic Bliss said...

Love Blue Willow... we eat off of it everyday! I also have a set of Pink Willow that I alternate with the blue. I never get tired of them!
Lisa

Karen said...

Loved this post, I didn't know the story behind the china!

and.. I like Stickhorsecowgirl's comment too :-)

Teresa@oursoutherncountryhomeandfarm said...

This is my first time to hear the story, thanks. What a beautiful collection.

laxsupermom said...

What a lovely story! I've never heard the story behind the pattern. I love that your grandmother shared it with you, and that it's become such a fond memory. Beautiful pieces! Thanks for sharing.

Ann-Marie ~ Brambly said...

I have some Flow Blue, and I think your mother would be shocked to see how I store them.Such a gorgeous collection-I am in love.

Ann-Marie

Buttonchief7 said...

Been collecting flow blue for about 35 years now. Even painted our living room red to show off these beautiful pieces. Used to be able to find them in yard sales for a few $ way back when. Also have blue willow, transferware, bennington and blue spongeware. You should check out Martha Stewart's Thanksgiving in her horse barn all decked out on flow blue. WOW!!!

Janette@the2seasons said...

I have some beautiful flow blue plates that I started buying after a wallpaper hanger broke the only flow blue plate I had from my late grandmother. Yikes! It was Princeton by Johnson Brothers. Fearing my mother would discover that it was missing on one of her visits, I started buying it from ebay. Thank goodness for ebay.

Melissa Miller said...

Alison the blues are so pretty. Thank you for sharing them with us. Lovely!

I featured your blog on my latest post. I hope it's okay with you.

Warmly, ~Melissa :)

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

I only have a couple of pieces, but I love them and I love the story. Your mom's collection is exquisite.

Sarah said...

Alison, I truly enjoyed this post. One of the first posts I created was on a set of Blue Willow that once belonged to my mother. It is actually a child's tea set. Unfortunately there is little left of it because my mother allowed my sister and me to play with it when we were children. Stop by and read my post if you have time. It is in the archives under August 9, 2009.
I have other blue and white dishes too. In fact, I recently pulled out my group of blue and white pieces to give a new look for spring. ;-)
Thanks for sharing this. ~ Sarah

laney said...

...did you know that there are a very few old blue willow pieces that have a person in the doorway of the pagoda...if you ever find one...snap it up...chances are you will never see one again...and they are very valuable...love your blog and home...

Divine Theatre said...

Please come visit my post on my most recent shelter pet in need and enter my GIVEAWAY!

xoxo

Gypsy Heart said...

I have a friend that lives in Vegas and he has a huge collection of Flow Blue ~ just gorgeous!

I just came to visit from Melissa's post about your kitchen, however, I haven't found it yet. Your home is gorgeous! You are so fortunate to have such a grand amount of space. I am a new follower and look forward to more visits!

Stop by and say hi when you can ~
Pat

Yvonne@StyleBurb said...

What a lovely collection of china. I had not heard that story before...I enjoyed reading it. My mother just found some missing pieces of her willow blue collection in an antique store and I can't wait to see her completed set.

Allyson Pecilunas said...

Very pretty dishes! I am visiting from Melissa's post, I am now your newest follower. Come check me out if you get a chance.

Noplacelikehomeally.blogspot.com

Marianne said...

Your mom has a lovely collection. I've been collecting for some time now, Willow, Flow Blue, Transferware. I prefer the older pieces to the newer ones. There is just something about them that is so beautiful. I'm your newest follower.
Marianne :)

Boho Farm and Home said...

My Grandma was the flow blue, blue transferware collector in our family. I have some of her plates and platters, which I proudly display in my family room cabinet, but my mother has the bulk of the collection which she *gasps* stores in boxes in her basement. I have tried to get those beauties to be properly displayed...but to no avail. oh well! Your mom does a great job a displaying the beauties!
xo
Caroline

freckled laundry said...

No blue and white dishes here but I've enjoyed looking at your mother's tonight! What a sweet story. I always wish I'd had a grandmother to share sweet memories with but sadly both passed when I was a toddler. Everything has a story & I'm happy to have learned of the Blue Willow!

Hugs,
Jami

Not So Much Farm said...

Afternoon sun is just easing into the dining room of my farmhouse. The well used walnut table is heading towards a 200 year anniversary, the Blue Willow pitcher has a few chips, but add an overflowing bouquet of Black Eye Susan, Queen Anne's Lace, wild Blue Verbena and you have bliss in any century. Cherry Welsh dresser crowded with hundreds of pieces of blue & white, antique pewter, pressed glass...my obsession is pretty obvious. Now if only someone else would dust...