Happy New Year! We start the year with a rare piece of Irish sea glory: a gorgeous cabaret set made in parian china by Belleek in the 1860s.
The tiny village of Belleek is in County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland, and the factory is literally on the border with the Irish Republic. The factory was built in the 1850s by a local land owner, his architect/designer friend and an investor from Dublin, in response to the devastating famine only a few decades earlier. Soon, the impoverished locals were able to flower in their previously undiscovered design and craft skills, making some of the world's best parian porcelain using the local Belleek clay.