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Monday, March 23, 2009

Patty, Maxine and Laverne, the Ironstone Sisters

Come meet my big ironstone gals!

It is a 3 or More Tuesday, hosted by Tam at The Gypsy's Corner... and you can see more by clicking here!

Big white ironstone pitchers. I love them. The bigger, the better.

I have three, and they have such distinct personalities.
One of the great things about old ironstone is its quirkiness and the marks left by those who made it, and those who used it.

There they are, Patty, Maxine and Laverne. . . my ironstone ladies.
(My mother loved ironstone, and sang lots of Andrews Sisters to us when we were growing up.)

Patty is a big pitcher, round and dimpled and well-used.

My Mom gave her to me many years ago, probably because this piece of old ironstone has a few pretty serious personality flaws....

... like a big chip on her shoulder...

...and, like so many in my family, she's a bit crazed and a little bit cracked:
(Click on the picture to see the crazing and her dimple close-up. Patty won't mind; she's not at all shy.)

We do our best to hide her idiosyncracies. If I keep her turned this way: don't see that big hunk missing from her "shoulder."

Then there is Maxine.

She's a bit plain, long and slim and business-like. She bears a brown "beehive" stamp from "Pratt and Simpson" and a diamond-shaped embossed mark as well. With a little research, I found out she dates from the 1870s - 1880s.

She has a matching bowl, but we left him home in the upstairs hall bath for this photo shoot.
He likes to hog the limelight.

She's no-nonsense, this one. There's a rather fierce eagle head on her handle.
She was made in England, probably for the American market.

Very little crazing, but there's a crack in her handle, and some bits of brown discoloration here and there -- minor. I have a recipe for getting rid of such brown marks, and someday I will actually send Maxine to the spa and give it a try. Maxine and her bowl buddy also belonged to my mother.

On Ebay currently is an identical bowl and pitcher, same mark, but with a rose transfer design and a "Buy It Now" price of ... $225. Who'd a thunk it? I better stop hanging damp facecloths on her to dry, and give her the respect she deserves.

Now Laverne.
She is the glamour girl of the trio. She's pretty sleek:

Made by T & R Boote in England, probably in the 1850s, she is part of their Sydenham design group, which must have been wildly popular, as you can find lots of Sydenham on Ebay. (Including 20th century reproductions.)

But a pitcher of this size doesn't often show up. I've seen them go for as much as $350,
but that was a few years ago; nowadays, more like $250.

My in-laws found her in a small shop in their hometown of Sharon, Massachusetts,
and thought I would like her. Oh, yes... I do.

She often graced the mantel on my river rock fireplace at our old Craftsman bungalow, filled with dried hydrangea. She's a stunner, and her finish -- glossy and shiny -- is like new. A few manufacturing marks, but no "issues," as they say.

She's just so graceful, isn't she?

Patty, Maxine and Laverne have enjoyed their moment in the blogging spotlight. Before they go back to their usual places in That Old House, they want to spend the day on top of my Grandmother's china cabinet, in the dining room.

Tomorrow, Maxine can rejoin her bowl buddy upstairs in the hall bath (a metamorphosis on that room, next week!) and Patty and Laverne can return to the top of the breakfront in the Parlor. For today, they are stars, and can go where they like.

I hope you had fun visiting with my big ironstone pitchers. I'm glad I have these three; I never would be able to afford to buy them!

Hope your Tuesday is as sunny as mine here in New Jersey ... Cass


  1. you're so funny, and I heart the "girls".....


  2. Hello, I love your story! I love how you named them too. :) The girls are pretty! Thanks for the smile your story gave me. :)
    Have a good Tuesday.

  3. I think Miss Patty looks like she has a missing "bowl" partner - - - she looks like she would be right at home in her bowl on top of a wash stand.

  4. Fabulous post. You got quite a few giggles out of me today. I love ironstone & I collect white pitchers, even though most of them aren't antique ironstone. Can't afford what I really want to collect, so I collect newer reproductions. Your girls are pretty fab!!!

  5. They look so nice all grouped together (and the Andrews Sisters' names made me smile!)

  6. Cass you are so funny and I loved your Girls..I mean your pitchers...Don't you just love Ironstone..always looks great no matter where you put it...thanks for sharing girl...hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

  7. This is so fun!! Love the ironstone pitchers!!
    kari & kijsa

  8. Oh your note over on my blog about Miss Patty cracked me up - - - so much so that I gave you a reply over there - - - you'll have to go find it. I think it's on my post about divorcing Mr. Marriott.

  9. You have a way of making the Ironstone Sisters come alive! They are lucky to find such a nice home to belong to.

  10. You are such a kook -- I LOVE that you named your pitchers. And they are beautiful, too! :) And thanks for the little bonus peek at your china cabinet... ;)

  11. you've built a new fire in my belly for ironstone pitchers...beautiful...i'm going to start looking for one
    thx 4 sharing

  12. I love allll your ironstone gals...and their little flaws make them that much more special! :-) I've just started collecting white pitchers and ironstone...blaming this new addiction on Gollum! :-) Thanks for introducing up to Patty, Maxine and Laverne! Susan

  13. Love that you have named them! Stop by my blog again this week if you get a chance, I'm having a giveaway. Hugs from Conroe TX!

  14. I love the girls! And you are a very creative writer:)

    I think that Maxine's close cousin might live at my house. They have a resemblance--same size and shape.

    This cousin made her blog debut a few posts back:)

    Feel free to come for a visit and meet her sometime.

    Happy 3OMT!

    Linda C

  15. Love the ironstone pitchers! I am jealous. I have NO nice kitchen items...SAD...

    Hey wanted to elt you know that I updated a few more nursery photos on my blog if you wanted to see more....

  16. Hi Cass :)

    I've been here all morning enjoying That Old house and I am smitten with the house, the blog and the humor of the woman behind it all.

    The girls are fabulous and I sooo wish I had some of their sisters ;)


  17. Thanks for introducing "the lovely ladies"....they are wonderful. You have quite a nice collection there.

  18. What a pleasure to drop in and see such a lovely post on your 3 beautiful ironstone ladies!! Of course the primary purpose of my visit was to tell you that I laughed out loud at how you described your husband's useful "talents"!! (your bathroom blog comment #2). This post, and your comment... you really do have a way with words, Cass!

    Victoria: EdinDesign Interiors @ DesignTies

  19. Such a fun post-just so cute, and I could see their personalities through your words (loved chip on her shoulder)! So clever. They are so pretty (even with their signs of age). I just wish somebody would say that about me! laurie

  20. The sisters are each lovlier than the other. I think I like Patty best of all.

  21. I found your blog through a search for ironstone pitchers. Funny because I've named mine too before I even read your post, she just looked like a Bertha! I'm putting your blog in my fave's immediately...your home is absolutely lovely!


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