Sometimes, when we're out piddling in the flea markets and antique malls, I see something that I just can't stop thinking about. We've trained ourselves to have strong "useless crap" filters, and to keep impulse collecting in check by walking away from something. If you don't remember anything after perusing room after room of goodies, then it didn't make enough of an impression.
One of our favorite places to poke through is Antiques on Second in downtown Milwaukee. And not long ago, at almost closing time on January 1, I saw this:
I must have walked away from it half a dozen times, convincing myself I had no need for it. I thought about picking up a piece or two. But then how to choose. In the end, I left a note for the dealer to see what an asking price for the whole shebang was.
And five days later came home with the whole shebang. Well, this partial service, which was all there was. Usually available sets are dining pieces: plates, bowls, cups, saucers. Serving pieces are hard to come by. That may have added to my fascination with this partial set: there are a lot of serving pieces.
I've since learned it is Wedgwood china, Bullfinch pattern, circa 1875 (that's really old for me! most of my collections are mid-20th century). Described as brown color asian-inspired floral transferware, brown border, polychrome overpainting. This little gravy/sauce dish with lid and platter is my favorite:
I can find very little about the pattern. More modern versions use instead a relief molded rim instead of all the color. I'm also a little stymied by the marks. I can date it and verify the pattern number, but can find nothing about the small asterisk/flower imprint, the single letter imprint, the single painted letter,
and absolutely nothing about this raised diamond-shaped cabochon mark:
The large platter has a display home up next to my beloved Friendly Village platter. The rest, well, it may be time to reorganize the china hutch...