The year was 1912. The Dixie Cup had just been invented, the Titanic would sink, and the RAF was formed in England. Charles Allerton, moved his pottery works from the location pictured below.
At one of my favorite auctions I was lucky enough to score 132 pieces of Allerton Blue Willow. Based on the mark they are from 1890-1912. The pieces are in perfect condition, with the rare scalloped edges.
Blue Willow is one of the most collectable patterns ever made. In fact, a Blue Willow pattern was a staple of many great potters starting in the 16th century. The pattern is a an English interpretation of an old chinese pattern and a very sad story.
When China was ruled by emperors a Chinese mandarin, Tso Ling, lived in a magnificent pagoda under the branches of the apple tree on the right of the bridge, over which droops the famous willow tree. Tso Ling was the father of a beautiful girl, Kwang-se, who was the promised bride of an old but wealthy merchant. The girl, however, fell in love with Chang, her father’s clerk. The lovers eloped across the sea to the cottage on the island. The mandarin pursued and caught the lovers and was about to have them killed when the gods transformed them into a pair of turtle doves.
Designs from different houses very, yet they all have several symbols in common:
- a mandarin’s pagoda and garden
- the mandarin and his hunting party on a bridge
- a fisherman who rescues the lovers
- the lovers’ hideaway
- two birds representing the lovers
- the willow tree
Willow, in its present form originated in the UK in 1790. Our latest find is not quite that old, but still in great shape and at least 100 years old!