Inside An Old Woman’s Cupboard No. 4

Mr. Camel

I’m on the second shelf now.  Finally.  One to go.  That’s a bone china Spode pot called “Lancaster Cobalt” there in the middle.  It’s from what I call my “Teapot” period.  I ordered it from some dealer in California when I first discovered eBay.   I do not recommend buying antiques or old china pieces there unless you really know what you’re looking at.  In this case, the pot was fine.  If you’re a devotee of cobalt and gold applied to china, this pot is for you.  I fell in love with cobalt the first time I laid eyes on it.  The really old museum-quality cobalt pieces are almost too lovely to use.   The rest are just expensive.  🙂   China with applied cobalt and gold is far too fragile to use and store except by eccentric old ladies or people with very well-trained household help.  If you have china decorated in this manner, look up how to clean and store it.

Mr. Camel caught my eye at an after-Christmas sale at a Dillard department store one year.  No romantic story there.  He was the only one of Waterford’s crystal Nativity pieces that I liked.  I never bought the others.  I kept him on my desk for years until there was a child in the house again.  A child who grew tall enough to investigate Mr. Camel.  I could never quite figure out what it was about him that made me like to look at him.  I am not much taken with colorless things, not even diamonds.  Maybe it is his simplicity, the smooth weightiness of him in my hand, his saddle, his resting pose…I still don’t know, but I like him.  Something about him saved him from the box.

I assume the old photograph is of my husband’s grandfather.   I found it in a box in a closet when we went back to NC to dispose of my husband’s mother’s estate.  As they say in the trade.  It has what  I think is a tin frame.  Tin or some other metal alloy was widely used to make small photograph frames during that period.  I wish I had known about it before the grandmother died and the mother lost her memory.  I suppose he will remain an anonymous ancestor until the paper disintegrates or the sale is held…whichever comes first.

I mention this last bit because I want you to notice the grain of the wood cupboard in the background.  The cupboard is made of  longleaf pine.  The story of longleaf pine is a real American tragedy that we’ll get to in the end.

Thank you for coming along with me.

8 Comments on “Inside An Old Woman’s Cupboard No. 4

  1. I’ve never been a collector of things, always preferring to collect experiences instead. Thank you for so nicely illustrating how similar the two activities really are. I adore the camel and would love to hold him in my hand for a moment or two just to feel his weight and cool smoothness before carefully replacing him. Excellent shot!


  2. The camel sits in contrast to all that’s surrounding it. He has a unique role in this photo. More than that, I wonder about the hands that have touched those teapots and the conversations had over those steaming liquids in them. Those teapots have as much character and intrigue to me as the gentleman in the photograph.


    • I knew you’d like old teapots. You are a Southern girl after my old heart. You would regard the dents in old silver and the fine crazing on old porcelain with a sense of history. That patina is priceless….like wrinkles on an old person’s face. I like that.


  3. Another beautiful picture 🙂 My mother is a collector of Spode, and while I do not, with any sort of enthusiasm, look forward to do the day I inherit them, I love that these elegant treasures remain in our family.


    • There was a time when I felt exactly as you do about inheriting the things that our mothers’ collected. I kept what I liked. Fortunately, my mother lived to be almost ninety-six so that allowed me to grow older sort of with her. My husband’s mother’s house was filled with antiques, but I only picked up a few things that I’d always liked and shut the door. The rest was auctioned. Sometimes, we have to shut the door and walk away. You’ll know when to do that. Lordy, I’d like to see your mother’s collection! 🙂


      • My mother is facing the same dilemma ….having had only two children neither of whom are in any way interested in her collection of antiques and jewelry. Luckily for her, she has hordes of cousins, nieces, and nephews willing to step up to the plate.



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