Trixie's next most exciting collection was kept in her kitchen. Ahead of her time, she liked to mix patterns of china together for an eclectic look. This is perhaps the reason why her family opted not to take many of the items remaining in the kitchen. To the untrained eye it can often be just too overwhelming. However, being the bulldog that I am (when I choose to be), I persevered.
This woman had the most insane amount of French Limoges patterns that I've ever seen, although never more than a few pieces actually matched. Still, I had to buy The Collector's Encyclopedia of French Limoges by Mary Frank Gaston (THE leading authority on French Limoges) in order to identify the artist and the factory as well as the date each piece was made. So this is what I'll focus on today. Most other people would have tucked tail and split for parts unknown, but not I. I was totally enthralled and I felt very much like Sherlock Holmes in pursuit of Professor Moriarity. The game was always afoot, I assure you.
Some of Trixie's pieces were very old and highly sought after, while others were from the early part of the 20th century, but still very collectible. It was a bit more difficult to identify the exact pattern, as there were just so many made and often, they were made at one factory, then sent to another factory for hand painting or applying transfer ware patterns. There were even many pieces that were made for particular American china companies that were not decorated until arrival at their destination. All of these factors made it difficult, but certainly not impossible, to nail down.
The whole time I was cataloging items, I couldn't help but wonder what fabulous treasures the family had taken. I mean, the things I was seeing were wonderful, so I was convinced that all the family members (including grandchildren) had taken the creme de la creme of Trixie's collections. I was partially right. They did take a lot of the dinner wares and crystal, but they had pretty much left everything else, among which were some of the greatest collectibles I had ever seen. I ended up calling family members numerous times, just to be sure they didn't want these fabulous things I'd discovered. But, no. They had enough and weren't interested in taking on any more. Gah! Why I can't I be like that? Actually, none of them really wanted anything that wasn't a complete (or almost complete) set of anything. If I were in my right mind I guess I wouldn't either. However, I'm not like that and apparently never have been. I have a warped sense of taste, I think. I have a strange affinity for chipped, mismatched china which started long before I ever got to see Trixie's collection.
At one point, I had several sets of pottery and everyday china which had been wedding presents back in 1977. They were all very expensive, highly collectible lines. As the family (as well as the housekeeper) chipped and broke pieces, I decided to sell it all off before the entire sets were broken. I may or may not have regretted this decision, but probably not. In turn, I decided to buy vintage Blue Willow, Pink Willow, and Green Willow, whether chipped or not (as long as it was cheap), to use as our new everyday china.
I figured this way I wouldn't get upset when someone screwed it up. Talk about a lot less stress! It changed my life. I'm. Not. Kidding. As far as everyday china goes, to this day we have the same mismatched Willow pieces with a few English Chippendale pieces thrown in for good measure. Of course, I have my two sets of formal china but we only ever used the formal dishes once a year, if I'm lucky. Besides, no one is allowed to touch those pieces aside from me. That way, if something gets ruined or broken (which it never has), I'm the only person I can be angry with. That. Is. So. Not. Happening. I'm quite careful, from experience.
Trixie's kitchen was a virtual treasure trove and took me many weeks to catalog. I enjoyed every minute of the chase.
Next time we'll delve into Trixie's other kitchen collectibles. To Be Continued....