Prose made pottery more colorful

  • By Ralph and Terry Kovel / Antiques & Collectibles
  • Wednesday, July 26, 2006 9:00pm
  • Life

Pottery is often decorated with words as well as pictures. There are hundreds of 19th-century Staffordshire plates with sayings from Poor Richard’s Almanac, such as “Say little but think much.” Children’s dishes were often decorated with ABCs or advice such as “Diligence is the mother of good luck.”

The Torquay pottery in England made a line of pottery just for mottos, such as “A choice plant may grow in a cracked pot” or the strange saying “A reekie house and a guirnin wife, will lead a man a fashious life.”

But one of our favorites is a 1920s plate marked “Ye Olde English.” The center design shows houses, trees and two large rabbits. The border reads “Some sing the praises of Camembert And others of Fromage de Brie, But neither compare with a Welsh Rabbit rare, For that’s just the cheese for me.”

Part of the joke has been lost through time. The melted cheese dish called Welsh Rabbit was a rude reference to the poverty of the Welsh, who could not afford meat. Later writers changed the dish’s name to Welsh Rarebit (rare bite), probably because it made no sense to name heated cheese “rabbit.” Today either name is correct.

I bought an old Napanee Dutch Kitchenet made by Coppes Brothers and Zook of Nappanee, Ind. It’s a freestanding kitchen cabinet finished in white enamel, but it’s much narrower than other Hoosier-style cabinets I have seen. What is it worth?

The Hoosier Manufacturing Co. of New Castle, Ind., introduced a popular line of freestanding multipurpose kitchen cabinets at the end of the 19th century. Over the next two decades, several other Indiana companies manufactured similar cabinets, and most collectors call all of these cabinets Hoosiers. The Napanee Line of Dutch Kitchenet kitchen cabinets was introduced by Coppes Brothers and Zook of Nappanee, Ind., about 1914. The first ones with white enamel finish were made in 1918. Napanee freestanding cabinets came in several sizes and with several combinations of storage units. Yours probably dates from the 1920s. By the 1930s, built-in cabinets were becoming popular. Your Napanee cabinet might sell for $200 or more if it’s in excellent condition.

Write to Kovels, The Herald, King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019.

2006 by Cowles Syndicate Inc.

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