Pleasure eternally new

Pottery on display in an outdoor market, Concordia, Mexico 2004

Pottery on display in an outdoor market, Concordia, Mexico 2004

“There’s a joy without canker or cark,
  There’s a pleasure eternally new,
  ‘Tis to gloat on the glaze and the mark
  Of china that’s ancient and blue…”
Andrew Lang

Although a man wrote these words, most of the people I know who would really understand them are women.  I’ve found that I am among a large number of people who admire china and pottery.  I would gladly fill my cupboards with glorious varieties of dishes in beautiful patterns, if I had the unlimited space and money to do so.  As it is, I admire and often photograph beautiful displays of china or pottery in shops and markets wherever I go.  On reflection, that’s really better than owning it anyway; no need to wash, dust or worry about breakage.  Hats off to the skilled artists who brighten our everyday lives with useful art!  (A confession: I had to look up the definition of the word “cark.”)


  1. I guess I am a man. What I really like is our simple rosebud china set. It is so simple, beautiful and sturdy. It has lasted and retained its beauty over 46 years with just one plate broken. I hope there is symbolism there for Carolyn and I. Monte.

    • Monte, I’m relieved to hear from a man who appreciates china! My husband pays more attention to what is served on it :-). I think there is some great symbolism for you and Carolyn in your beautiful, durable china. So much in the world today is considered “disposable.” It’s nice to know some things last for decades.

  2. I am sitting here LOL because you are not alone. I have the same fettish. My cabinets are full, and I do the same with glassware and flatware. Once I bought a set and left it in the trunk of my car for over a month for fear that my husband would explode if he saw another set enter the house. I did eventually sneek it in around Christmas time. It worked. :o)

    • I have found that most men just don’t get it about why dishes are so hard to resist for some of us. Now that I am way overstocked at home, I just enjoy getting my fix by browsing in shops. The endless variety is such a visual treat. I love glassware and flatware too! I guess I’m trying to compensate for my less-than-stellar cooking skills, but I just love setting a pretty table.

  3. God Morning BeLOVED daughter of God and sister in Christ. i am reading a book by John & Stasi Eldredge named “Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul” at this time & enjoying the reading. Your post brought a smile :+) because i too love beauty.
    Beauty was created by God for it the very essence of who He is and the women He created. [thank you Holy Spirit for helping me describe although still limited by earthly words] Peace and Joy of the Lord be with you and yours this “Beautiful” day of the Lord. :+)

    • Sheila, that sounds like a good book. Hope you are doing well. It is nice to hear from you again. Praying for you and your family…

  4. Sheila

    Julia…. and Patricia, anything that I keep in my car or closet for over a week, I just introduce with,”Oh, I’ve had it!” and feel like I’ve been truthful. I love Mexican pottery and your colorful photo so depicted the beautiful markets in San Miguel de Allende. My dream kitchen has a Mexican tile backsplash…….. in my dreams! Color my world. Julia, I pray for you and your family a day without cark. Sheila

    • Sheila, “a day without cark” — I love it! Yes, the pottery displays in Mexico are dazzling, and every town in Mexico I’ve seen seems to have them. I first saw them as a young girl visiting Mexico City (somewhere around 1968, I think) and have loved them ever since. Thanks for your prayers and good wishes.

  5. Mary Ellen

    Your pottery photo would make the coolest, most fun jigsaw puzzle! I wonder if it could be done. It could be fun to try……

    • Thanks, Mary Ellen! I would happily give any puzzle company the rights to use the photo if they wanted, but I don’t know anyone in that business :-). Our younger son LOVES jigsaw puzzles, though, so it would be fun. I’m glad you stopped by!

  6. Bobby Harris

    Love this post, from Andrew Lang who compiled so many fairy tales that I love, a wonderful new word (thank you for the definition), to the enjoyment of china patterns. I have often thought there should be a lending “library” of dishes, so we could change out often but not need to find storage space for them. Pleasant thoughts to start the day. I pray you have a good day.

    • Bobby, what a great idea! If only there wasn’t the pesky matter of shipping, this could be a great online enterprise. OR if you lived closer, we could start a loan closet! Thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers.

  7. I know the feeling, every time I see a new pattern of dishes I think I must have, I’m reminded of my limited space. I have though over 30 years collected a number of tea cups. Not that I drink tea too much, I just enjoy the colours and the art on them. To me, they’re almost like mini floral paintings.

    • Yes, I love teacups; they are often my favorite part of a place setting. I especially love those with a design inside the rim, as with my dream china pattern of all time, Wedgwood’s old Florentine Cobalt. Since I’m an avid fan of tea, which I drink with addicted abandon, I hope I can someday have a shelf or display of beautiful tea cups and tea pots (just for looks – for drinking I much prefer my sturdy, reliable and LARGE mugs).

      • Thanks for the link to Florentine Cobalt, very decadent! I bet your table is stunning. While I was there, I looked up Shady Lane – it’s a Lambethware by Royal Doultan and our everyday dish set. Not much around anymore. I’ve had it since the 80’s

        A Teacup display would be really pretty. I saw one in Victoria Magazine once that was similar to postal cubby holes. Pottery barn sells this one. Might be cute, the juxtaposition of fine teacups in a weathered cupboard would appeal to me

        • Great idea for the display! To clarify, I don’t have a single piece of Florentine Cobalt, it’s just my “dream” pattern. I saw a table set with it, to dazzling effect, in Bermuda sometime around 1976, and fell instantly in love with the drama of it. When Jeff and I married in 1980, I knew that I would never have an excuse for such fine china, and would worry too much about breaking it every time I used it. We got the much more practical Noritake Adagio and I have enjoyed it immensely. I had never seen Shady Lane, although I did work in the china department at a couple of different department stores. It’s very pretty and looks quite up-to-date to have been around that long. Now that I have seen such a perfect teacup display case, it seems much more possible…and yes, the weathered background would really bring out the delicacy of the teacups.

          • I looked up your China and it’s really pretty. Congratulations on enjoying so many anniversary’s too. I still enjoy the Shady Lane. We’ve broke a couple of Cups over the years and one Cereal bowl is chipped but otherwise it’s held up pretty well.

            • Thanks for the compliments! That’s the great thing about china; it’s really beautiful, but also useful and surprisingly durable. I’ll probably be featuring one of my favorite quotes from William Morris in an upcoming blog, about the importance of having beautiful AND useful things in the home! Thanks for visiting here.

  8. I also love pottery; and the photo is wonderful!

    • Thank you! I’ve found that it’s much more practical to enjoy PHOTOS of pottery than to keep adding to my already crowded cabinets. The gorgeous designs are truly endless. Thanks for visiting, and for your comment!


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