Booths, Victoria Pattern 1891-1906
The owner of the antique shop showed me round and we agreed that the plate was very fine. I took it down from the shelf admiring the delicate floral border, the charming central illustration. We put it aside and then he showed me a rare Georgian plate with a rhinoceros, I wanted it but it was too expensive so I put it back in the cabinet, regretfully. Next we looked at the sauce tureen, a delightful example but without a lid. A customer had broken the lid, he said, and nobody wanted the tureen without a lid. I agreed to take it for a small sum, so that it didn't clutter up his shop. Finally, I explained I wanted something pretty. He looked bemused. What did I mean? Floral? Gilt edged? Pink? I would know when I saw it, I said, but I did not find anything in the crowded rooms, the piles of china. As he wrapped up the plate and tureen I saw it on the shelf above the till. A tiny Victorian coffee can, in a particular shade of blue. And I fell in love.