That thing? / ¿Esa cosa?

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

WE SHIPPED A LOT OF “stuff” from New York after My Mother the Dowager Duchess died in 2016. I immediately unpacked everything and then repacked a small box I thought I no longer wanted but wasn’t quite ready to donate. I kept the box in a file drawer in my office and last week decided that, if after more than four years I hadn’t done anything with these items, it was time to take them to the charity shop. Well, lo and behold, I liked a few things.

My mother had two small Wedgwood dishes and I’ve decided to keep them both. I especially like the black one and will hold onto the yellow one for a while more. When my sister Dale was at St. Luke’s Hospice in Sheffield, England, in 1981, an artist spent time visiting with patients while drawing on stones she had scavenged. She was, obviously, a very kind woman and my mother got to know her during the days she spent at Dale’s bedside. The artist’s name was Murial. She admired Dale’s beauty and bone structure even as she lay dying, and that made my mother proud. She told my mother she didn’t know what she was going to draw until the stones told her (something I can understand) and gave her the deer she painted while they visited. That should have been on display immediately.

After discovering that the jade fisherman (click here) Dale and I bought my mother around 1969 wasn’t jade afterall (as if we could have afforded a solid jade, hand carved figurine), I assumed the other piece my mother had displayed for years (and I had always liked) was also synthetic. So, I left it wrapped up in the box in the drawer, only to discover this week that it really is jade. It’s not of exceptional quality but I’ll hold onto it for a while. It looks nice on Marisa’s pub table (click here).

My parents were rockhounds and traveled the East Coast mining for a variety of gems. They had a large slab with emeralds imbedded that was beautiful. It was stolen the week after my father died when friends, family, and neighbors filled the apartment. I, of course, don’t suspect friends or family, but many neighbors were like strangers and it was an open house the entire week. Appalling. Whoever stole it clearly knew what it was. They left behind a much more flashy slab of amethyst. I’m enjoying that again.

I always liked Toby jugs and considered collecting them at one time. Our next-door neighbors in San Francisco had an enormous collection, which made me grateful I had never started a collection myself. Anyway, on one of his trips to England with my mother, The Kid Brother was given a tiny Royal Doulton Toby jug as a gift. He left it at my parent’s apartment when he moved in 1987, so I asked him if he wanted it after our mother died. “That thing? Are you nuts? No thanks!” So, I shipped it to Spain and now, finally, I’ve decided I agree with him.


ENVIAMOS MUCHAS COSA DESDE NUEVA York después de que mi madre, la duquesa viuda muriera en 2016. Inmediatamente desempaqué todo y luego volví a empaquetar una pequeña caja que pensé que ya no quería, pero que no estaba lista para donar. Guardé la caja en un archivador de mi oficina y la semana pasada decidí que, si después de más de cuatro años no había hecho nada con estos artículos, era hora de llevarlos a la tienda benéfica. Bueno, he aquí que me gustaron algunas cosas.

Mi madre tenía dos platos pequeños de Wedgwood y he decidido quedarme con los dos. Me gusta especialmente el negro y me aferraré al amarillo por un tiempo más. Cuando mi hermana Dale estaba en el hospicio de St. Luke en Sheffield, Inglaterra, en 1981, un artista dedicó un tiempo a visitar a los pacientes mientras dibujaba en las piedras que había recogido. Obviamente, era una mujer muy amable y mi madre la conoció durante los días que pasó junto a la cama de Dale. El nombre del artista era Murial. Admiró la belleza y la estructura ósea de Dale incluso mientras agonizaba, y eso enorgulleció a mi madre. Le dijo a mi madre que no sabía lo que iba a dibujar hasta que las piedras le dijeron (algo que puedo entender) y le dio el ciervo que pintó mientras la visitaban. Eso debería haber estado en exhibición de inmediato.

Después de descubrir que el pescador de jade (haz clic aquí) Dale y yo compramos a mi madre alrededor de 1969 no era jade después de todo (como si pudiéramos habernos comprado una figura de jade macizo, tallada a mano), asumí la otra pieza que mi madre había exhibido durante años (y siempre me había gustado) también era sintético. Entonces, lo dejé envuelto en la caja en el cajón, solo para descubrir esta semana que realmente es jade. No es de una calidad excepcional, pero lo conservaré por un tiempo. Se ve bien en la mesa del pub de Marisa (haz clic aquí).

Mis padres eran gemólogos y viajaron por la costa este en busca de una variedad de gemas. Tenían un bloque con esmeraldas incrustadas que era hermoso. Fue robado la semana después de la muerte de mi padre, cuando amigos, familiares, y vecinos llenaron el apartamento. Yo, por supuesto, no sospecho de amigos o familiares, pero muchos vecinos eran como extraños y fue una casa abierta toda la semana. Pésimo. Quienquiera que lo robó sabía claramente de qué se trataba. Dejaron un bloque de amatista mucho más llamativa. Lo estoy disfrutando de nuevo.

Siempre me gustaron las jarras Toby y consideré coleccionarlas de una vez. Nuestros vecinos de la puerta de al lado en San Francisco tenían una colección enorme, lo que me hizo agradecer que nunca había comenzado una. De todos modos, en uno de sus viajes a Inglaterra con mi madre, El Hermanito recibió una pequeña jarra Toby de Royal Doulton como regalo. Lo dejó en el apartamento de mis padres cuando se mudó en 1987, así que le pregunté si lo quería después de la muerte de nuestra madre. “¿Esa cosa? ¿Estás loco? ¡No, gracias!” Entonces, lo envié a España y ahora, finalmente, he decidido que estoy de acuerdo con él.

Wedgwood Jasperware Terracotta on Black Basalt, Egyptian Alligator. 1970s.
Wedgwood Jasperware Terracotta sobre basalto negro, cocodrilo egipcio. 1970.
Wedgwood Primrose Yellow Jasperware, Prunus Blossoms. 1976.
Wedgwood Prímula Amarilla Jasperware, Flores de Prunus. 1976.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

34 thoughts on “That thing? / ¿Esa cosa?”

  1. The deer stone is really special. Those Wedgwood dishes are unusual colors, too. Used to have a large Toby jug of the British General Bernard Montgomery (sister took it–see Susan’s comment on family from yesterday–or perhaps SG’s) which was only special to me because my mother always said her father looked just like him. I never saw any photos of my GF who died just before WWII in London.

    1. Mary:
      I would still enjoy one large Toby jug… especially one that looks like my grandfather (or even yours). I just looked up the Montgomery Toby jug — it’s one our neighbors had. I remember it because I found it very elegant, more a portrait bust than a cartoonish Toby jug. The black wedgwood was part of an Egyptian collection and the yellow was only available for a brief time in part of the ’70s (maybe into early ’80s).

  2. I had so many Toby jugs at the shop. Sold a few but their ‘day’ has come and gone. The younger generations do not see any purpose for them.
    Cool about the real jade you have… to hold on to it. The Chinese continue to buy and look for authentic Chinese items.

    1. Jim:
      I’ve always loved jade carvings. This one, as you can see, is not very finely done. It’s funny about the Toby jugs. I still like them individually but seeing the hundred or so atop our neighbors’ kitchen cabinets was more than I wanted to see. They lost their charm in such mass.

  3. The black Wedgewood is very Florida! And I love the deer stone. It’s actually really beautiful even without the family associations. The jade is nice too! I’ve never been a fan of Toby jugs, but someone will be enthusiastic about it, I’m sure. It’s great that you put these things away so you could reconsider them later, rather than getting rid of them and then regretting it.

    1. Steve:
      Florida Egyptian revival. The drawing of the deer IS really beautiful. I had completely forgotten that.

      1. Ha! I guess it probably IS meant to be Egyptian, isn’t it? We’d have to examine their teeth to determine whether they’re alligators or crocodiles to be sure. 🙂

      2. Steve:
        The few sales listings called them alligators, but I should have called them crocodiles. Are there alligators in the Nile?

  4. keep that wedgwood! and the person that stole the emerald rock should have his/her hands cut off!

    1. anne marie:
      I agree about the thief. At the end of the week, my mother looked on the shelf and saw that someone had put something else on the heavy easel it had stood on. We were both stunned that someone could be so awful. Welcome to our home to pay your respects. Help yourself to something special from our collection. My parents had mined that rock themselves. I do like the black and red wedgwood. The yellow is pretty but not so much me. Still, I’ll keep it a while longer.

  5. I’ve never been a huge fan of Toby jugs but I know they were considered “very collectible” back in the Stone Age when I was a kid. I have a big ol’ chunk of amethyst like that too! I bought it in Ottawa over 30 years ago when I was doing some grad work in that city. It’s still in my bookcase!

    1. Debra:
      The amethyst really is a pleasure to look at it. I am so glad I didn’t collect Toby jugs. One or two maybe, but not a collection. I DID collect beer steins. Even that became a bit much. I ended up giving them all to charity before we moved to Spain.

    1. Wilma:
      I used to really like the jugs, but when I look at them now I don’t know why. I like specific ones, but as a collection they were overwhelming when I saw them. The deer on the rock is even more beautiful than I remembered.

    1. Mistress Maddie:
      I just looked up the two pieces yesterday. Expected them to both be worth less than $10. Was stunned by what I found on the black one.

    1. Parsnip:
      I’m glad I saved the box. Had I not, I probably would have immediately given everything away (except the stone).

  6. All the pieces are quite beautiful. It’s funny how with time some objects which we thought we liked we don’t and other objects suddenly become dear to us, maybe it’s our perception changes.

    1. Laurent:
      I’m sure you’re right. I had no appreciation really of the Wedgwood a few years ago.

  7. Mom collected Wedgwood, she was Passionate about it. Your Alligator with Terra Cotta Alligator dish is Rare, keep it, worth a tidy sum my Friend.

    1. Bohemain:
      Can I retire on that alligator dish? Oh, wait, too late. We had a few large pieces of Wedgwood, the Sarah’s Garden series, because we have a niece named Sara and they were gifts. Love her but not the flowery pieces, so after years brought them to the charity shop.

  8. The wedgewood is most unusual. I have never seen those colours. I am more familiar with the white on blue .

    1. Frances:
      I also remember Wedgwood green being very common, but the yellow was only briefly available and the black was part of a special Egyptian collection.

  9. I’d have kept everything because they are unique but, as always the odd man out, the black plate does nothing for me; perhaps it’s the colors. The primrose plate is gorgeous as is everything else.

    1. Bob:
      Funny, I find the primrose plate gorgeous, too, but it somehow doesn’t suit me. I think I prefer the black plate because it looks good on the silver table next to the black manina. (I guess I’ll have to share a photo.)

    1. Urspo:
      This one is called Old Charley and given to the Kid Brother because his name is Charles.

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