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Birds and love letters

Porcelain manufacturers created tens of thousands of patterns in the early 19th Century - perhaps more, I don't think anyone has ever counted them! Many of these are obscure, undocumented or forgotten today. But some were very popular in their own time and have remained popular ever since. Coalport's pattern no. 759 is one of these: the iconic birds and flowers set in reserves on a cobalt blue ground with rich gilding.

Love letters

You can see a little collection of these items here in my photo studio. It's obvious what the plate and dishes are used for, but the wall pockets may be less familiar. Wealthy people in the early 19th Century spent most of their time visiting each other to gossip, show off their wealth, and make deals (have you watched Bridgerton?). They would often leave behind their visitor card, a message or even a love letter in little letter racks by the door. People wrote to each other often - read a Jane Austen book and you can see that if the mail was delivered three or four times a day you would need a letter rack for each member of the household in your vestibule or entrance hall.⁠


Birds were very popular in 19th Century design. The Industrial Revolution meant that life was changing at a very rapid pace, and urbanisation took hold quicker than you can say "city". People started to idealise nature as a response, and this was also the beginning of the Romantic movement. It is no wonder, then, that birds and flowers became a favourite design feature. - and today we can do with a good dose of them as we probably feel just as estranged from nature as our early 19th Century forebears. These Coalport items with pattern no. 759, full of birds and flowers, were all made probably between 1815 and 1820. The pattern is sublime: every flower arrangement and bird is unique and has its own character. I once had a stunning set of 10 plates, each one of them unique. They never sit in my shop for very long as they are incredibly popular.

Homes & Antiques

Did you want to find out more about me? If you buy this month's Homes & Antiques issue (April 2021) you can read an interview with me in their "Meet the Collectors" feature. I am telling readers about my passion for the porcelain by Henry Daniel , another maker who did lots of birds and flowers. And from the May issue onwards I will be writing my own monthly column about British porcelain.

Where to find things

It's going to be Easter soon! A perfect time of year to set a beautiful table, whether you are in lockdown or not. So I have uploaded many new items to my shop; you can find them here. You can see all the Coalport Pattern 759 pieces here. If you always want to know about the latest additions, follow me on Instagram... I post pictures and a story every single day.

Wish List ❤️

Don't forget, you can now create your own profile on the site and keep a wish list. Click on the Log In icon at the top right of each page.

Happy weekend, and go out listen to the birds! 🎼🐦


This week's new treasures:​



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