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  • Curios for Christ

Wood & Sons "English Scenery" Transferware Saucer

This is a little saucer I found at my town's transfer station. It's English Staffordshire transferware by Enoch Wood & Sons. The pattern is "English Scenery" and depicts a country house, a church, a dog, and some domestic fowl.

I've always liked antique dishes. A couple of years ago I was introduced to Spode dishes in the classic blue willow pattern. I knew I liked them, but I didn't know about the whole industry until I listened to The Thing About Austen podcast's episode titled, "Episode 43: The Thing About General Tilney's Breakfast China." The hosts describe the start of the English earthenware industry and the industry magnates. For example, Josiah Wedgwood. or Josiah Spode, or Enoch Wood, or Enoch Wedgwood (surprisingly distantly related to the other Wedgwood). There really seemed to be two acceptable names for the business.

I listened to this podcast episode and finally I had names for terms. I started doing more research and now I'm collecting. I have to admit, while the blue is classic, I'm partial to the cranberry color.

"Do you see a man skilled in his work?

He will stand before kings.

He will not stand before obscure people." (Proverbs 22:29 TLV)

This proverb teaches us that skillful work results in renown. One could make, for example, a plate white and simple. In this state, putting a stamp of a name on it is useless. There's no identifying skill to credit the maker. However, just putting on any design without taste will put the maker in a poor light. To have respect in the field, the construction and design of the plate must be uniquely identifiable both creatively and skillfully.

We can see, according to history, this is exactly what English transferware companies accomplished. In fact, they did it so well that they beat the traditional French potters.

The author of the proverb might've been talking about products such as plates. However, the same ideology can be applied to our spiritual lives. Whatever we do, do it skillfully as to show ourselves in the best light.

Spiritually, everything we do is back by G-d's power. When we save or heal, we do so in His name. Therefore, through our skill, it won't just be us standing before kings. Rather, it will be for the advancement of G-d's kingdom.

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