As I mentioned in my previous post, I love to browse through antique and thrift stores searching for beautiful pieces of Blue Willow china. You can never have enough platters or serving pieces, and I love spotting the ones that are in great condition and at a good price. I also collect other types of china. I love going to tea rooms so, naturally, I am drawn to beautiful tea cups, saucers and desert plates.
I store all of my treasured teacup collection in two large china cabinets. I have one of these cabinets in the dining room of my home, and the other cabinet is located in what I call my "formal" living room. I love to go into these cabinets and select a special teacup when I am doing my tea ritual. I use all of my china and nothing is ever off limits. It just seems to make your tea time more special if you are sipping your tea out of a beautiful teacup...even if it is just you! I also love to display some of my other collections among the china in my cabinets. I think it is interesting to have a blend and mixture of things when you display the items you love and collect. One of the things I showcase with my teacups and desert plates are head vases.
I began collecting head vases several years ago when I lived in Florida. My husband and I were browsing through an interesting shop, and I spotted an adorable little vase that had a ladie's face painted on it. I thought it would look so cute on a tea tray with a little bouquet of sweetheart roses in it.
Thrilled with my discovery of this unique vase, I happily paid the storekeeper and took the "little lady" home. The next day, I couldn't wait to pick some flowers from my yard and see how they looked inside my new little treasure! It did look adorable...
Not long after this, I saw an article in a tea magazine that featured a bridal shower. There were several photos of the hostess with the bride and her bridesmaids. The article featured the food that was served and also the table design and decorations. On the pages that followed, too, were photographs of the table setting and centerpiece. There were photos of the bride and guests attending the "bridal tea" sitting at a beautiful table full of lovely china. Low and behold, there in front of each guest, as part of the table design, was a head vase full of beautiful flowers. Each guest had a different head vase to decorate and mark her place at the table. (If I run across this magazine again, I will post the exact magazine and issue... I actually saved it.) Well, needless to say, at this point, I was on a mission to find more of these head vases and learn more about them.
Head vases were used, primarily, by florists who delivered them to lucky recipients. The head vases were filled with a little bouquet of flowers and brightened the day of many people. Oh, how I wished they still delivered them! Wouldn't you love to see the florist come to your door with one of these cute vases full of flowers and a sweet card? I thought you would...
According to the article I was given and what I have been told, head vases were created in the USA and Japan as early as the 1930's. They were used quite often by florists in the years between 1950 and the 1960's. By 1970, they were discontinued because the florists were delivering much larger bouquets, and they felt the head vases were too small inside to accomodate their designs.
Their hands and fingers are very delicate. The arm is part of the base of the creation, but the fingers are usually up and in a pretty pose with painted nails.
Their hands and the details of their faces are delicately painted.
The prices range from $30.00 to $3,000 for antique headvases. Of course, the price will depend on how elaborate the design is and the condition. You can still find many of these original head vases in little boutiques and antique stores. There are also some reproductions, too... I prefer to collect the original vases.
During the late 1950's and into 1960, some of the head vases were designed to resemble famous people like Jackie Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, or Lucille Ball. These head vases can be very pricey and are coveted pieces for collectors.
Both my sister and I have collected this set of teacups and desert plates. My sister started me on this set when she was working as a flight attendant and was travelling to London. She would hand-carry teacups back to each of us when she had the opportunity to visit Harrods and other shops in the area. I was always excited to see what new flower design she would bring back from her trip.
Here is the bottom of the cup so that you can see the name of the pattern and who makes it in case you are interested in collecting these yourself.
It is made by Royal Albert, and the name of the pattern is Provincial Flowers. This particular flower is called Prairie Crocus. My sister and I began collecting this china in the 1980's, and I have always loved this pattern. I think the contrast of the black background against the flowers is beautiful. I hope that you enjoyed a peek into my china cabinet today. I would love to see some of things that you collect and love....
Well, off to have some tea... I hope you are inspired to start your own collection of head vases someday and fill them with beautiful flowers. Thanks for visiting me at "the nest" and have a "bluebird day" today! xoxo Kim