I adore the old china bits that wash up with the tide, for their evocative poetic powers, but also because they challenge: how to set them without breaking, how to use their unpredictable shapes without altering them, how to present their honorable nicks, crackles and scratches so their beauty can be admired.
This piece has a lovely scrolled edge, and a color that is not quite cream, not quite yellow, exactly like the top of the milk bottle long ago, before homogenized. Can anybody remember how in winter they froze and the rising cream expanded and popped the cap? Yummy with toast.
So this is actually not an American parvenu, but a British peeress, Hariot Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava, a fine contributor to the diplomacy of her era, who accompanied her husband to a post as governor-general of Canada, and many other assignments before the sun set upon the Empire. Really, there should be a biography of her, so that her accomplishments might be recognized, in her own right. I found her picture in my old 1904 Cyclopedia, a rich resource.
It's quite battered, which means I have no guilt about cutting it up -- look at that hamfisted repair job of browned cellophane tape.
Not sure where this will go. I plan to take my time and let the materials tell me what to do.
And now to share my latest treasure from the beach:
Ah, the crackling and crazing, a network of lines colored with saltwater algae and rust! Isn't it gorgeous?