22.8.13

86 The Colour Collaborative August: Vintage



Just out of shot in that top pic, hanging onto the handle of the green cup, are the Mr's finger and thumb, and my heart was still thumping as I snapped away ... my mother had announced that she would break my neck if I broke her treasured coffee set and I wasn't entirely sure she didn't mean it. It was with some trepidation that I'd piled the cups up into a leaning tower, but I got the image I wanted and the only thing that wobbled was my nerve.

Royal Albert 'Gossamer', c. 1950 ... harlequin china, well used, and with most of the gilding worn away. Bequeathed to my mother by my grandmother Eva ... one day they will come to me.



Canary yellow, tangerine, and sherbert pink, could anything be more 1950s? Ditto the beryl green and duck egg blue. These colours speak of post war optimism, and the fact that synthetic dyes and pigments, largely manufactured in Germany and the USA, were available once again.

It fascinates me that fashion must follow from the availability of colouring matter. 'Blue jeans' is a corruption of bleu de Gênes, or Genoa blue, Genoa being the original home of indigo dyed denim, which was used to clothe its navy. But no amount of natural indigo cultivation could have satisfied the post war demand for blue denim jeans. Fortunate then that the production of synthetic indigo wasn't halted when patent holder BASF's managers were indicted for war crimes. BASF was part of IG Farben, the German dye and pigment industry cartel that held the patent for Zyklon B and had a controlling interest in the company that manufactured it. I wonder if you'll think about your jeans differently now?!



The history of dyestuffs really isn't pretty. Unlike my Mum's lovely teacups!

Do you have a cherished tea or coffee set? A penchant for pastel hues? A vintage colour story, good or bad? Do tell!

(Pinners - that's fine - and pinchers - that's not - please respect my copyright and link back to the source should you share these images. Thank you.)

Don't forget to check out the other great 'Colour Collaborative' blogs for more of today's posts about vintage colour/s, just click on the logos below ...




What is The Colour Collaborative? All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too. We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a colour related theme, and hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about colour in new ways.


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86 comments :

  1. They are beautiful, Annie, thank goodness you didn't break any. I like the grey one by the way ;)
    I have a tea/coffee set that my MiL was given on her wedding day back in the 1950s. I don't remember what make but it has a lovely blackberry pattern on it and I can't wait to get it out and entertain with my British set and tea.
    I hope you're having a grand week x

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  2. Beautiful. And your husband was very brave to get involved because no doubt it would have been his fault if they had toppled! Julie x

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  3. I am sitting in our tent with a cuppa and the rain falling outside Annie and have to say how this post has delighted me. Not just the cups, but the interesting story of indigo and denim. Really fascinating. I have some of my grandmother's willow pattern teaset and back in South Africa my mum and dads pastel tea set given to them on their wedding day, your mums set is achingly beautiful and I am pleased to hear that no murder will be committed xox Penny

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  4. Lovely, especially the yellow one. I would definitely have broken them if they were entrusted to me, I am so clumsy. Maybe this is why I don't have any heirloom china... Not likely to have any either, but I do like to buy vintage plates for everyday use - not expensive ones, but nice old English made things. So much nicer than new, cheap, foreign imports I think.

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  5. What beautiful pics of a truly lovely tea set! And an interesting story too. I have some little Demi-tasse cups & saucers that my mama gifted to me, they were a wedding gift she received 52 years ago and I treasure them too.
    Xx

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  6. Hello Annie, beautiful teacups. Love that final image (can see that as a card). I have a collection of teacups from my Mum, Nan and Grandma which I treasure.

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  7. Lovely, lovely! I have some Noritake from my mum and I love it (she often asks why I've still got it, as it's quite well used). It has quite an intricate pattern (but not much colour) that fascinates me.

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  8. Such gorgeous cups.
    I have a porcelain mug which was my Nans which is a favourite. Just a pretty mauve flower on it but so very delicate and thin! She always said tea tasted better from porcelain!! Always makes me think of her when I drink from it. x

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  9. That precariously leaning (but thumb held) tower of china has the most gorgeous colours - Beautiful. My only issue with such delicate and wonderful goodies as these cups is the temptation NOT to use them for fear of breaking them, never mind their own beautify - their history and family connections alone make them precious too.

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  10. You just made me laugh out loud thinking of your mum menace!!!!!!
    Beautiful cups!!!!
    xxxx Ale

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  11. Hope you got them back safely. Too often we don't use "best" china for fear of breaking yet it's often stronger than everyday. Very Knitsofacto colours.

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  12. oh those are lovely. I just bought a tea set in a charity shop whilst on holiday, it's a dark cabbage green, have to say I wasn't drawn to the colour originally but the shape of the cups........

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  13. What a beautiful set, the colours are wonderful ... ... and I'm so happy your neck is still in one piece!
    Joy x

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  14. I quite understand that in the Name of Art, it had to be done (the leaning tower, I mean). But I must say that I am relieved, not only that the cups did not break (they are lovely!), but also that your neck is quite unharmed and that you thus will be able to go on blogging!

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  15. Absolutely beautiful, Annie! Relieved the tower didn't topple ...

    Love Claire xxx

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  16. Gorgeous colours - and who would have thought that they have Mr. Spocks ears as handles!

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  17. Beautiful tea set Annie. So glad it didn't get smashed or chipped, thereby saving yourself from the wrath of your mum.

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  18. What an interesting post - I had never thought before about the importance of indigo to blue jeans. Hope there's plenty about because I've developed a bit of a pash for the idea of a practical me-made denim frock.

    The cups are really very lovely indeed, especially so perfectly styled for the snaps. I do like a bit if gold on my china or glass ware and all the better if it's worn a bit as it shows how much it's been used. What's the use of something beautiful if you don't get to hold or touch it?

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  19. I wouldn't dare have anything so precious and delicate in my house. My parents havethis set from the 60s. Not sure they ever use it. Interesting how the colours are more or less the same as your 50s set but with more oomph.

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    1. That is a lovely tea set, and yes, it's as though the 50s pastels grew up in the 60s!

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  20. It's something about engineering, isn't it? Why they didn't fall, I mean!
    How gorgeous they are ... and your photos too, Annie ...

    love china, so much
    Barbara x

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  21. Your Mum's cups are beautiful, it would be hard to pick a favourite colour because what would one be without the other! Good job you didn't break any!! I have a Royal Albert Lady Carlisle tea set that we got as a wedding present 32 years ago, I adore it and the strange thing is ~ it's pink and I'm really not a pink person. I see bits and pieces of it all over blogland and I'm so happy to have the complete set.
    Really interesting about the indigo!!!
    V x

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  22. Wow! Those cups are stunning. I really love the tealy blue one.

    I have my eye on my Mum's Royal Tuscan cornflower teaset. Not sure what era it is but probably 60's or 70's. It is so,so pretty and certainly not something for everyday use. Although I read on MemeRose's blog a lovely saying...."don't ever save anything for a special occasion....being alive is the special occasion".

    I had no idea about the history of dye. Thanks so much for sharing...off to peruse wikipedia to find out more.

    SmallP
    xx

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  23. I LOVE that top photo. Love it.
    Ax

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  24. I am afraid the fine china i inherited from my mother and grandmother are not quite so beautiful but when i set the table with them a few times a year the memories overflow from each and every cup and bowl. They were made by Paragon by appointment of queen Mary, which dates them back to the 1930's. I read that this company was bought by the Royal Albert company later :)

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  25. I am cursing being temporarily away from my collections of linens and teacups today. Ooof. Goodness, what colours these are - more vibrant than faded florals yet so quintessentially of my Granny Woolley's era. These colours evoke certain foods, good smells and precious memories for me. Thankyou Annie.

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  26. My parents when they were living back in Germany bought a few sets if beatutiful Dresden china. My mum still has them in perfect condition. There is a wonderful pale grey tea set with simple deigns along the top of the cups and pots and there also is a white dinner service with gilt edgings. I love them for their stunning shapes and simplicity of design.
    Rosie xx

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  27. These are so pretty.

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  28. Fabulous, Annie! And fabulous Annie too! :-)

    This really is my kind of post; thematic with a touch of history and lots of colour thrown in.

    And I was led to believe that Denim came from 'de Nîmes', the French town where the fabric was manufactured...

    Stephanie

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    1. I think the woven twill fabric may have done Stephanie, it's the dyeing it with indigo, as opposed to any other colour, that I believe we must thank Genoa for.

      So glad you enjoyed the post, and thank you for your too kind compliment :)

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  29. What lovely coloured and marbled tea cups and saucers!

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  30. Oh my, those cups are so gorgeous. A real treasure and the fact they have been well used and handed down through the family, makes them even more special. Another well written and informative post my dear.

    S x

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  31. you should have kept the secret of how you did the photo! Aren't you a brave photographer?? Nothing old and valued however I do have fiesta ware which is american made stoneware dishes--love the colors they make me happy!

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  32. beautiful...i love tea cups...I used to collect them, but dont anymore..i have a few though, think i only have 3..but i cherished them, and look at them quiet often..

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  33. So beautiful....they remind me of Maling, but more desirable! I love that you were prepared to take the risk of death for the special image!
    P xx

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  34. Stunning! I just popped over from Nina's blog, vintage is wonderful word....those photos are scrumptious Annie:~))

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  35. That first picture is amazing I'm glad it all went to plan with your husband's help and that cherished set will still be in one piece when it eventually comes to you.
    My parents bought a china set for their 25th wedding anniversary. I remember as a child that they would buy one plate etc at a time. It is now in my care and I cherish it.
    Sarah x

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  36. Oh Annie they are truly gorgeous, but blimey - you are brave having those words of your mum in the back of your mind.

    Nina x

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  37. Oh, those are just beautiful. I am so full of envy - but in a good way ;-)

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  38. Beautiful set. I love the soft colors and the gilt trim. I don't have anything like that but I really wish I did.

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  39. Oh dear, I can only confess to one thing when I saw these cups and saucers. Deep green envy. They are exquisite and I want them. I have a few precious and lovely things that I shall have with me again very soon, now that we have our own home and room to rescue them from their current storage. But these gorgeous things would certainly look very nice in my possession. And the photos are perfect!
    Axxx

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  40. Oh! Lovely teacups ("tazas" here)! And love these photos a lot!
    I especially like photos with stacked cups and have done some with my vintage children's collection and I always feel very nervous too.
    I enjoyed your post a lot.
    Besos from Argentina,
    Silvina

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  41. I can fully understand your mother's concern. They are beautiful!

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  42. These are extraordinary. My mum is more into Chinese anitiques, something I'm not quite into.

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  43. They are truly lovely and I can imagine choosing a different colour cup and saucer everyday depending on my mood. I don't have any story of my own to share but I recall my cousin telling me about a cafe in Tokyo that would select a different cup and saucer for each customer depending on their style and what they were wearing. That sounds interesting to me, sort like getting a glimpse of how I was perceived by someone on that day.

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  44. love the little history lesson!!! you're right....denim will never be quite the same for me again! what a brave photo shoot----i'm such a klutz, had I tried that i KNOW what would have happened. ka-boom.

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  45. What an interesting post Annie...unfortunately there are quite a few products that were involved in Hitler's atrocities. It still shocks me though, to hear of those involved in any way.

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  46. Beautiful cups and saucers. I have a vintage tea set which I completely adore too. I am so enjoying these colour collaborative posts, I find them so interesting.
    M x

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  47. such beautiful colours and a fascinating story behind the colours too!

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  48. Wow Annie! Those teacups are gorgeous -- as is that fantastic shot!

    Very interesting about the indigo dye. When we lived in Germany a million years ago, I sometimes had to visit offices in the old IG Farben building (which I think may be gone now.) I had no idea they held the history of my beloved jeans in their archives!

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  49. Beautiful! Aren't they just fabulous. They deserve a good strong coffee and a great cake.
    My colour collection of mugs from homebase just doesn't compare. But then again, I can let the kids use them without breaking into a sweat, so that's okay for now ...

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  50. These are so beautiful and what treasures!! Love all the gorgeous colors!! Happy weekend! xo Heather

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  51. They are perfectly lovely - I like that the gilding has worn off somewhat. They're more approachable that way.

    I am dying to know: how did you get the matching damask-looking background? Photo editing? And why does only the yellow cup appear to have the damask pattern on the outside, under the glaze?

    The connections between Nazi Germany and modern manufacturing (not to mention medicine) are frightening.

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    1. ....or is the whole damask thing a sort of photographic overlay and not really part of the cups at all? :)

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    2. You got there ... it's an overlay. I shot these on a white table against a white wall in quite poor light, and the resultant pale grey background was completely texture-less and rather boring, it just wasn't working for me. I think adding the damask overlay really perked the images up, even though it might not be everyone's cup of tea, if you'll pardon the pun.

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    3. Thanks - and it looks wonderful by the way. :D

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  52. I much prefer your Gossamer collection to the more popular Roses. I am fond of Ravilious Wedgwood and have a few bits and pieces. Your damask effect works very well. You have an artist's eye.

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  53. The color and markings remind me of some marbled eggs my Mum has all jewel tones very lovely. I really like your pictures, glad it all made it! I had no idea about indigo dye in jeans, what a scary and sad link to something we all like.

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  54. The teacups are exquisite. I'm so glad the survived the photoshoot. Have you read the book "Colour" by Victoria Finlay which is a fascinating history of dye stuffs and pigments.

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  55. Be still my heart! Those tea cups are gorgeous. I could not stop staring at the images.
    I have a lovely tea cup and saucer that a lovely friend bought me many years ago. It is very cherished.

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  56. What a fun project! And those cups are just beautiful, love all those colors! And what a striking photo of them all stacked together!~ glad they made it through unscathed :)

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  57. Hi Annie,

    The teacups are so very beautiful and love all the pretty colours.
    Love the photographs and glad that there were no breakages. So neat when pretty heirlooms can be passed down for future generations.
    Happy weekend
    hugs
    Carolyn

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  58. The teacups are really lovely! Glad they survived the photoshooting! But it was worth the risk isn't it? Your pictures are amazing!

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  59. Gulp - my heart was in my mouth when I saw that first picture! Glad it worked out well.

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    1. They weren't as precarious as they look ... not only was hubby hanging on to them but there's also a crash mat out of shot, put there just in case they fell. That said I'm not sure Mum would have been happy if she'd know what I was up to!

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  60. I agree with Gail, they DO look like the marbled eggs my granny has. Very beautiful they are too especially being well used, I hate pretty things that can't be used, or even worse are sitting in a box in the attic, quelle horreur!

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  61. LoveLoveLove the tea cups - and so interesting about the dyes. I had no idea! I have a china hutch full of dishes that have come to me from 4 generations. The main dishes are white, however. Haviland #9 (Silver Anniversary pattern). But the cups are all different - and there are many and assorted bowls and serving pieces. I think my favorite is a bowl with a solf greenish background with magnolias on it.

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  62. Love those cups and saucers! I have my parents' coffee set from the 1960's. It was from the Embassy cigarettes catalogue, 'bought' with coupons they used to accept as currency in their shop from people who were hard up. I seem to remember we had a lot of stuff from that catalogue.

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  63. That is the most beautiful tea-set, Annie, and I particularly like the orange cup and saucer, though orange isn't usually my colour. In the china cabinet I inherited from my mother is a Victorian bone-china tea-set which belonged to my grandmother who died in 1960. She had been left it sometime in the 1940s by an elderly neighbour who had been given it as a wedding present in the 1880s.

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  64. Love love the tea cups. I have a tea set from Ireland that belonged to my mother that is not fine china, but much loved.

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  65. I have the perfect set of teaspoons to go with your cups. Each has a different coloured enamel handle and they were given to me as a wedding present by an aunt thirty one years ago and I don't think they were new then so I wonder how old they are?

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    1. They sound beautiful, and probably are from the 50s or 60s if the set is a mix of colours.

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  66. Hi Annie, I'm not surprised that your heart was thumping and I'm very glad to hear that you captured your wonderful images without incident to those lovely coffee cups! I love old china and old kitcheny bits - I suppose it's nostalgic and idealistic but they make me think of simpler times and simpler pleasures.

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  67. Love the colours in these teacups Annie, I can see why your mother treasures them! I have a favourite teacup that my mother gave me. It's a Paragon cup & saucer named Gingham Rose. My mother told me her father gave it to her mother as an anniversary gift ... love that part the most. I think teacups are very sentimental reminding us of years of conversations had over a simple cup of tea :) Wendy

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  68. These are so beautiful! And hello to you! x

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  69. They are very beautiful Annie, as are your photos of them! I don't have any super special tea sets but I do have a few pieces of Grandpa's pottery which I am VERY scared to bring out in case one of the Kids (or I!) accidentally break them. Mel xxx

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  70. I am so glad your mother uses them - there's nothing worse than glorious objects languishing in a cupboard waiting for 'best'.

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  71. Beautiful images of GORGEOUS!!! cups. You have one very brave hubby to have gotten involved, I know mine would have run a mile (or 30 ;-)). xoxo

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  72. These are so beautiful, Annie. I am very lucky that I have lots of things from my family. I do have my grandmother Emma's little silver teapot and creamer, two domed turkey platters (!), lovely tea cups and even a moustache cup and saucer. What fascinates me the most about that one is the very feminine flowery colors on both the cup and saucer. Yikes..maybe my great grandmother had a moustache. I am off and running to check out my upper lip in the bathroom mirror. Horrors.

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  73. I do love these harlequin sets, so pretty! (Well done on no breakages!) :) x

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  74. Oh Annie - I have the plates that match these cups - do let me know if you would like them. My sister gave them to me about 35 years ago and spent ages wondering how they did that effect. I am having a very big clearout indeed so (providing I can still find them...) you are most welcome to them.


    Best wishes
    Jenny
    PS Did you track down the transfers for that Zodiac tablecloth - funny how things strike a chord isn't it

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  75. That first photo!!! Goodness. I was worried for your cups - they seem to defy gravity - so I was relieved to learn that no cup was harmed in the making of your (fabulous) post. Your photos are divine, as is the coffee set. I have a a seventies Meakin Poppy coffee set which I adore but it doesn't get used or displayed nearly enough. x

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