Sunday, October 6, 2013

Arizona and Blue Willow

Well, Hello there from Lady B! This will be a different little post! A few weeks ago I went to Arizona to visit my son. As I usually do, I researched a bit to see if there was a nearby tea room. Now, Arizona is very different from my neck of the woods. I didn't see a rose bush any where...lots of cacti though. But I did find a tea room!! In the town aptly named Carefree!! The English Rose Tea Room was located on the corner of Easy Street and Lucky Street!! Honestly!

It really was everything I could hope for in a tea room. The only problem was that it was closed!! We couldn't wait around as we had reservations for a tour in Sedona  But you can bet the next time I visit I will make this my priority.

A piece of British heaven in the desert!!

There were beautiful rose murals on the outside. I imagine they miss the real thing too.

Teacup chandeliers...of course.

The cactus were as big as people!

Adjoining the tea room was a British-themed store called Jo London

I had to give this all up to go to Sedona. But, as you can see, it was worth it.

So, changing gears, I have to share the story of Blue Willow china because I found this lovely teapot at a yard sale after I returned home.  It got me thinking about the story that goes with it. The pattern was designed by Thomas Minton in the late 1700's. To promote the sales, Minton invented a story to go with it. The story is completely English in origin with no ties to China.

One version goes like this: Once there was a wealthy Mandarin who had a beautiful daughter, Koong-se. She had fallen in love with her father's humble accountant, Chang. This angered her father who wished for her to marry a powerful Duke. He built a fence around his house to keep the lovers apart. The Duke arrived bearing gifts. On the eve of the wedding, the accountant, disguised as a servant slipped into the palace and the two lovers escaped with the jewels. They were discovered and the Mandarin chased after them. They ran over the bridge and were helped by three gardeners. They escaped to a remote island but were discovered and put to death. The gods transformed the lovers into doves. The other story told of a Shaolin monastery burned by the Imperial troops of the Manchu rulers. The souls of the dead monks take a boat to the Isle of the Blest On the bridge are three Buddha awaiting the dead souls. They are Sakyamuni, the Buddha of the past, Maitreya, the Buddha of the future, and Amitabha, the ruler of the western paradise. The doves are the monks' souls on the journey from human to immortal life.

That particular dish was manufactured by Burleigh

Another yard sale treasure by Johnson Brothers.

A close-up of the fanciful trees.

Here's a kettle in the same design. Now I can bring the kettle to the pot!! Love the little bird.

I'm sure a willow pattern has been made by many, many pottery companies.

                                                                Two birds flying high
                                                           A Chinese vessel, sailing by
                                                A bridge with three men, sometimes four
                                                           A willow tree hanging o'er
                                                      A Chinese temple, there it stands
                                                             Built upon the river sands
                                                         An apple tree, with apples on
                                                       A crooked fence to end my song