Archive for September, 2008

This is a beautiful portrait of the highest quality depicting a Spanish lady (Maja). It’s an oil painting on ceramic tile signed on the back and mounted on a gilt wood frame. The work is marked by bold colors and incorporated elements of Fauvism and Impressionism.


I took off petal after petal
by Juan Ramón Jiménez

I took off petal after petal, as if you were a rose,
in order to see your soul,
and I didn’t see it.

However, everything around
-horizons of fields and oceans-
everything, even what was infinite,
was filled with a perfume,
immense and living.

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This is a French faience milk pitcher (pot à lait ) with a brown glaze ” terre carmélite “. A fine example by the renowned French faiencerie Sarreguemines. It is clearly marked with the impressed Sarreguemines mark, France and the numeric code 6B in black, c.1910.

Sarreguemines: Two Centuries of Faience

  • 1790 Production started in 1790 when Nicolas-Henri Jacobi, set up the first factory despite the unfavourable economic climate. Napoleon I became one of his best customers and ordered several pieces. The business expanded so much that he had to open new workshops .

  • 1800 Paul Utzschneider took over the factory and introduced new decorating techniques.

  • 1810 New lands colored appear: terre carmélite (brown), terre d’Egypte (black) and terre de Naples (yelow).
  • 1836 Utzschneider handed over the management of the factory to his son-in-law, Alexandre de Geiger.

  • 1838 Alexandre de Geiger associated himself with Villeroy & Boch. This agreement contributed to the growth of production.
  • 1871 Following the annexation of the Moselle to Germany, Alexandre de Geiger left Sarreguemines and retired in Paris. His son, Paul de Geiger, took over the management. Two new factories were constructed at Digoin and Vitry-le-François.

  • 1913 The Utzschneider & Cie was split into two companies, one responsible for the establishment in Sarreguemines and the other for the French factories.
  • 1919 After the First World War, they were united under the name of Sarreguemines – Digoin – Vitry-le-François and run by the Cazal family.
  • 1940-1944 During the Second World War,the faience factories were sequestered and their management entrusted to Villeroy & Boch between 1942 and 1944.
  • 1979 After stopping production of porcelain and majolica, the company was bought over by the Lunéville – Badonviller – Saint Clément group, and then took the name of Sarreguemines – Bâtiment in 1982.
  • Today Sarreguemines Vaisselle remains one of the leading porcelain manufacturers in the world. The factory produces about 5000 tons of porcelain each year or about 13 million pieces.

The Sarreguemines Faience

The term faience comes from a kind of brightly-colored glazed earthenware developed during the Renaissance in France and Italy. The word is derived from Faenza, a town in Italy, where factories making the tin-glazed earthenware called majolica were prevalent.

Sarreguemines marks

Pots, cruches et boites by Bernard Bassac

Pots, cruches et boites by Bernard Bassac



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Here is a beautiful antique porcelain invalid feeder with a Meissen cobalt “Blue Onion” pattern (1) and gold band around rim, spout and handle. One would place a liquid or semi-soft food in the feeder and the spout was then placed in the person’s mouth. These feeders were sometimes used to feed babies as well.

(1) Onion pattern, originally named bulb pattern, is a white ware decorated with cobalt blue or pink. Although it is commonly associated with Meissen, other companies made the pattern in the late nineteenth and the twentieth centuries. The term “onion design” is erroneous. The design has nothing to do with the onion motif. Only one of the decorative elements on the plate edges, the pomegranate, remotely resembles the outline of an onion.

This invalid feeder is circa 1890-1900

Mark on base



Invalid Feeders – Pap boats – Pap Feeders

The term “pap,” allegedly derived from the Scandinavian for the sound made when a baby opens his mouth for nourishment, was probably introduced before its first recordings in literature in the mid 18th century. Recipes for pap usually called for bread, flour and water. A more nourishing mixture “panada” was a pap base with added butter and milk, or cooked in broth as a milk substitute. Variations on the ingredients included Lisbon sugar, beer, wine, raw meat juices and Castile soap. Drugs were sometimes added to “soothe the baby.”

The “pap boat” was designed to feed the mixture to babies and invalids. Resembling a sauce boat they were made of wood, silver, pewter, bone, porcelain, or glass. Implements for feeding proliferated in the 18th century as new materials and methods of production became accessible. Shapes were clever and varied. Some pap boats were closed, others looked like animals, most often a duck. Feeding cups of such design are still manufactured in some countries today.

Invalid feeders examples

Prominent Nurses

Clara Barton (1821–1912), organized the American Red Cross

Clara Barton (1821–1912), organized the American Red Cross

Ellen Dougherty (1844–1919), the first Registered Nurse

Ellen Dougherty (1844–1919), the first Registered Nurse

Jane Bell was lady superintendent of Melbourne Hospital 1910-1934

Jane Bell superintendent of Melbourne Hospital 1910-1934

Lillian Wald (1867–1940), regarded as the "founder of visiting nursing in America"

Lillian Wald (1867–1940), regarded as the "founder of visiting nursing in America"

Louisa McLaughlin (1836-1921), one of the first British Red Cross nurses, served in two wars

Louisa McLaughlin (1836-1921), one of the first British Red Cross nurses, served in two wars

Mary Ann Bickerdyke (1817–1901), nurse during the Civil War known as "Mother Bickerdyke"

Mary Ann Bickerdyke (1817–1901), nurse during the Civil War known as "Mother Bickerdyke"

Florence Nightingale (1820–1910), pioneer of modern nursing

Florence Nightingale (1820–1910), pioneer of modern nursing

Santa Filomena

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

(It is a tribute to nurse Florence Nightingale)

Whene’er a noble deed is wrought,
Whene’er is spoken a noble thought,
Our hearts, in glad surprise,
To higher levels rise.

The tidal wave of deeper souls
Into our inmost being rolls,
And lifts us unawares
Out of all meaner cares.

Honor to those whose words or deeds
Thus help us in our daily needs,
And by their overflow
Raise us from what is low!

Thus thought I, as by night I read
Of the great army of the dead,
The trenches cold and damp,
The starved and frozen camp,

The wounded from the battle-plain,
In dreary hospitals of pain,
The cheerless corridors,
The cold and stony floors.

Lo! in that house of misery
A lady with a lamp I see
Pass through the glimmering gloom,
And flit from room to room.

And slow, as in a dream of bliss,
The speechless sufferer turns to kiss
Her shadow, as it falls
Upon the darkening walls.

As if a door in heaven should be
Opened, and then closed suddenly,
The vision came and went,
The light shone was spent.

On England‘s annals, through the long
Hereafter of her speech and song,
That light its rays shall cast
From portals of the past.

A lady with a lamp shall stand
In the great history of the land,
A noble type of good,
Heroic womanhood.

Nor even shall be wanting here
The palm, the lily, and the spear,
The symbols that of yore
Saint Filomena bore.

*Saint Philomena is a patron of the sick


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