My Madness for Blue and White

Royal Crown Derby "Blue Mikado" dinner service in use.

Royal Crown Derby “Blue Mikado” dinner service in use.

Why is it that I can’t resist blue and white china or fabric or wallpaper or, well, anything blue and white? It’s one of those weird things that I’m drawn to over and over again.

I know that a lot of people collect it, so that does help me rationalize it somewhat. But it’s one of those things that creeps up and the next thing you know you are drowning in a collection. I know I’ve talked about my collecting bug. I own and admit I am slightly compulsive as a collector. But my blue and white obsession is really my main bug.

I realized this the other day as I was shopping online for new fabric for drapes for the living room and dining room. I’m totally crazy for Shumacher vintage prints and found this amazing blue and white chinoiserie  print. But then I sat and wondered if I’d tipped over the top ? Was it way too much?

Vintage and contemporary bluue-and-white tureens.

Vintage and contemporary bluue-and-white tureens.

I stepped back and looked at the amount of blue and white that I already owned. We have three blue and white china services – Royal Crown Derby “Blue Mikado,” Spode “Blue Italian” and everyday Johnson Bros. “Old Willow.” Then there is all of the vintage or antique tureens I collect in the dining room – including some early Staffordshire.

There are blue and white vases and blue and white plates. There are even blue and white toile cushions on the loveseat.

I know where it all began. As a teen when we visited England, I was always fascinated by the antique blue and white vases in stately homes! Huge great vases against dark paneling, or multiple vases lined up on Georgian  fireplaces.

Blue and white grouping in my living room featuring my first blue-and-white Spode vase (the little one on the right).

Blue and white grouping in my living room featuring my first blue-and-white Spode vase (the little one on the right).

It stuck with me when we returned. My Auntie Vera was with me and encouraged me upon my return to buy a small Spode blue and white vase when we visited her in Montreal. She was an avid collector of china herself as were all my aunts. That small vase, which I still have displayed in my home, started me on my lifetime pursuit of all things blue and white.

There are other things that hit a cord and that I end up collecting but you always remember your first love and mine was pagodas and bridges with figures in kimonos and pairs of love birds all captured in blue on white ground. Even the story behind the willow pattern is about romance! Maybe that’s it.

Blue and white embroidered napkins bought in Knutsford, UK.

Blue and white embroidered napkins bought in Knutsford, UK.

Experts say that some of our earliest experiences influence us. I recently discovered what might have started this obsession. My mother, who is 92, recently pulled out and gave me a tablecloth that she was embroidering when she was in hospital delivering me. It’s beautifully embroidered in different blue silks. And each corner has blue pagodas and willow trees and pairs of love birds. Beside the fact that she made this, I was blown away at the pattern that has followed me my whole adult life. Did I somehow as a baby of a few days old file that away? Or did my mother during her pregnancy with me subconsciously influence me as she stitched away at it?

We will never know if it’s coincidence or not, but I think I will just own and enjoy my blue and white obsession. And maybe the fabric for the drapes isn’t too much? But then what about the matching blue and white wallpaper?