Friday, 28 May 2010

A perfect day for a bargain hunting expedition with a friend

Blogland brought us together and we had our first meet up in St Albans last Autumn and today in glorious sunshine I met with Serenata in Hitchin for a bargain hunting expedition.  Hitchin is a little gem for individual shops, charity shops, vintage shops and the Friday Flea Market.  I had hoped for a full day's shopping but had to cut short the day due to a last minute childminding commitment but we nevertheless had three lovely hours browsing and buying and of course a coffee break in Starbucks.

Armed with our trusty dolly trolleys .... don't laugh .... oh go on then we did when we first met to find we had almost identical trolleys (see Serenata's post for a lovely photo of the pair of them having a well earned rest outside the Parish Church) off we went.  Our first stop was the flea market and my first purchase was from a lady who sells vintage linens who I visit regularly and today for the grand sum of 50p I came away with this table mat hand embroidered in the traditional oriental willow pattern.

We wandered on past all sorts of vintage bits and pieces and the next thing to catch my eye was this blue & white transferware plate.  I have had a passion for this for quite a long time now and the skill to transfer these scenes onto a copper plate and then onto ceramics never ceases to amaze me.

My favourite bit is getting home and researching the design to identify the pattern name, maker and date of manufacture.  My blue & white bibles are The Dictionary of Blue & White Printed Pottery by A W Coysh and R K Henrywood, in two volumes and they are packed with photographs and history.

How pleased was I to find that this rimmed soup dish costing £2.50 (which has no markings on the back to help) dates to the 1820s and was made in Burslem, Staffordshire by the factory of John & Richard Riley.  The pattern is Eastern Street Scene and it is a composite of two prints by T & W Daniell from their Oriental Scenery collection.  The tree on the left is from "The Sacred Tree of the Hindoos at Gyah, Bahar" and the buildings to the right are from "View on the Chitpore Road, Calcutta".  Here are pictures of the original prints

Weren't they so clever all those years ago in comparison with the junk that is manufactured theses days.

We wandered on and my next find was an embroidered table cloth for a whole £3 to add to my stash of vintage cloths for upcycling or re-purposing into something else to give them a new lease of life.

Serenata bagged some lovely bargains too which can be seen on her post today here

Our last stop together was the lovely shop called Rosita Lollipop and after a chat with the lady looking after the shop today it transpires that there is to be a vintage fair in the town on 11th July so that date is now down in my diary.

Thank you for a lovely meet Serenata ..... elevenses on me next time ;-)

What have I been doing this evening?  Well apart from enjoying the rare bliss of having the house to myself I have been machining and pressing some more blocks for the next quilt.  It is half term next week and my childminding service is closed to give me some time to finish my stock for the fair in Berkhamsted on the 5th June and hopefully to give the house a good top to bottom clean .... it sure does need it I am shamed to say.

Fingers crossed for some bank holiday weekend bargain hunting weather .... have a good one whatever you have planned x


  1. I bet you are very pleased with the plate - trust you to see it first! ;-) Thanks for the history about it. Makes it even more special.

  2. It sounds like a fun day full of fantastic buys. I'm a bit of a sucker for the blue and white dinner wear as well. Kim :)

  3. Sounds like you had a good day and you made some great finds. I've got a trolly just like you two, rarely gets filled with such good finds though it's usually just boring old food!

  4. What a fantastic day you both had! It's lovely to see both accounts. I also really admire your knowledge of the pottery designs - I try to find out about what I've bought too, but you really do have the inside knowledge there.