Scottie Dogs – Near and Dear To Me…

After a bit of a break, I thought I’d write about my vast collection of Scottie dog items.

My very earliest recollection of a Scottie was my Mom drawing the boxy silhouette of a dog, shaded in with the pencil to make him black and telling me his name was Angus.

Vintage Ceramic Scottie Dogs in Three Sizes – I love this look!

I was really young – not even in school yet. At the time, I did not know there was a book series about a Scottish Terrier named Angus. These books were written by Marjorie Flack, and were originally published in the early 1930’s. My Mom was born in 1925, so I think she must have known them from when she was young. Formed at such an early age, it became my standard image of a dog and whenever I asked my Mom to draw a dog, it was the Scottie!


Fast forward to the mid 1980’s…

After several years of obsessing with German Short-Haired Pointers and Dalmatians (something about the speckles and spots), it occurred to me out of nowhere that I wanted a Scottish Terrier!


This one was in a flower pot at my Grandmother’s house


Frosted glass
Art Deco


Cookie Jars

I was living in an apartment and my Mom was very much against me getting a dog. I found a litter available and my sister drove me to pick one out. Both of the parents were there – I had never seen an actual Scottie dog and they were smaller than I imagined. It was several weeks before I could pick up my chosen pup. Finally, my sister took me to get him, and we brought him back to her house where my Mom was waiting (she did not want to make the trip). Mom wanted nothing to do with the new arrival – she didn’t even want to look at him! He was a black puppy and, of course I named him Angus. Angus MacGregor to be exact – Gus for short. After a while, I asked my Mom to just hold him for a minute while I stepped away, and the rest was history. A great and loving bond was formed between the two…how could it not be? I told my Mom, you made me get him subconsciously with all of the Scottie dog drawings named Angus!

And so began the great era of Scottie dogs for me.

Artwork and photo frames

Gus was a wonderful dog, but as any dog expert will tell you, Scottish Terriers are not exactly for beginning dog owners – they are very strong willed. Gus was a master at taking control and manipulating situations. Don’t get me wrong, he was a good dog, and smart – but he was definitely the boss.

He was bold and adventurous and I took him everywhere!


Gus won a photo contest for the Mighty Dog Calendar in 1994. Contrary to most experts, he loved the water and had his own wading pool. But his true love was going to my sister and her husband’s house with the big pool. He had his own float and it was a photo from this setting that won him the August page in the calendar. Along with the honor of being in the calendar, Gus won a good bit of swag and was able to make a food donation to the shelter of his choice. At the request of his groomer, he made an appearance at a local dog walk event and distributed “signed” copies of his calendar. (I had a stamp made of his paw print).


Gus lived a full life and was a major presence in our world.

When he left us, we filled the void with a new Scottie pup – Duncan MacBean, aka Bean.

By now, my Mom no longer needed an adjustment period. She loved Bean instantly, always calling him “Bean dearest” and they thoroughly enjoyed seeing each other on weekends. I went a different route with Bean – obedience school in the first week we got him!


He loved school and he was a perfect student, enrolling and excelling in several programs including agility. They really just want to know the rules.

The personalities of the two guys couldn’t have been any different.

Gus seemed like an older soul.


He was much more serious and would be embarrassed and sulky if he did something clumsy or that made you laugh.

For Bean, the sillier the better. He was always going for the cheap laugh.


At their core, they both had the same great Scottie traits that I love.

Since President Roosevelt had Fala in the White House, Scotties have been popular for decades. My Mom and I took a trip to NY and made a point to visit Hyde Park and the home of the Roosevelt’s. They have many of Fala’s items on display. Scotties appeared in several movies that I know of in the 1930 – 1940 era, and of course the role of White House Scotties was reintroduced during the Bush years with Barney and Ms. Beasley (I loved the Barney Cam).

A selection of vintage and some “newer” metal Scotties


Small vintage wool and pipe cleaner Scotties – some key wound or jointed

You can’t even imagine how many items you can get with Scotties.

Jewelry, figurines, scarves, sweaters, ornaments, planters, plush animals, even underwear – too many things to mention.

In addition to the items I got for myself, I received many wonderful gifts as well. Since they’ve been popular for so long, there are a lot of vintage items along with new items, all featuring Scottie dogs…many things not pictured!

A selection of carved wood Scotties…the top one very tiny – next to a dime!


Wax and soap Scotties

At one point, I had Scotties everywhere… 

Toys and other items

Purses and accessories!

Barware – Black & White Scotch Display and Whisky decanter


1930’s era items

In the early 2000’s I made a second small Christmas tree with all Scottie ornaments, which eventually transformed in to the main larger tree.

Ornaments on the tree!

More Scottie Christmas items…the Hummel figures are from my Mom.                            Even Mardi Gras beads (from my sister)!!

Bean portraying “Tiny Bean” in our Dickens themed Christmas event

The Christmas tree still features Scotties every year, and they still make me smile.

Scotties will always have a special place in my heart. We haven’t had a dog since Bean left us in 2012, but I still have Scottie items around the house and they are reminders of the 20+ joyful years of having a Scottie dog in my life. 


Best Guys Ever!!

The Year in Review…

I find I’m becoming very aware of the passage of time…days, weeks, months, years.  Most of the time it’s gone before I know it.

There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t wish for several more hours.

Twelve months have passed since I started this blog and it seems like a blink.  Calendars were not a planned topic, but I guess it’s no surprise at this point that I saved some over the years.  I thought they would provide fitting photos for this month.

I started collecting these date books from the card store a long time ago. I don’t know whether I stopped getting them, or they stopped giving them out.


The little kitten calendar below was given to me in either 1969 or 1970. It was from 1968 and belonged to my brother’s girlfriend. She said she thought I would like the pictures – which of course I did!

I kept date calendars for years. They had enormous amounts of information squeezed into the little squares. I would have been prepared with an alibi if ever I needed one!

The Bally shoe calendars were given to me by someone I worked with because they knew I would like the artwork.


My sister gave me this Marilyn Monroe calendar.


Of course, being an antique doll collector – I’ve had several antique doll calendars over the years.


Mid-1970’s awkward high school years when I was in the “Flag Corps”


I re-read my first post and I should mention that the “downsizing” has been occurring although not at a lightning pace.  It got a recent jumpstart since I’ve decided that I want to do some different things with an extra bedroom in the house to make it more suitable to my current interests.  It took a bit to come to this decision, since it’s the room my Mom used when she stayed.

She would have told me to dismantle it long ago!

I was talking with a friend a few months back (ironically, it was the same person I mentioned in the very first blog – the one that said I should just embrace collecting and enjoy my collections).  Anyway, she asked if the blog was accomplishing what I’d hoped it would.  I found I really didn’t have a solid answer.  After giving it some thought, I’d say in its most basic form, it has.  I set out to have monthly posts, each revisiting one of my many collections, which would recall some of the stories that surrounded the items.  In that way it’s been successful and enjoyable.

However, with each passing month, I found that I was hoping to accomplish a few more things with the blog and in these areas, it fell short.  So, at a minimum – I’ll be taking a break from the regular monthly “Collected” blog updates.  I’ll keep the site and previous postings up since I may start it back again – believe it or not, I have many more collections to serve as topics!  Or I may use the space to do in depth looks at single objects that are among my collections.
My many hobbies and interests are vying for the limited spare time that’s available.  I’ve added a link to my photo site on the top of the page if you would like to see what’s going on there from time to time, along with a link to follow this blog in case you would like to be notified of future posts.  I’m happy that people have stopped by to read about some of these collections.

Thanks also to those that have shared comments about a jogged memory or items that they have currently, or have had at some point in their lives.

Sometimes Mice are Nice…

There are certainly many views on mice – vermin, pets, cartoon characters to name a few.  While they can be a menace, there must be something appealing about mice for them to have been made into so many fun, interesting even beautiful items.


When I was really little, there were little gray mice figurines in the gumball machine at the corner store.  I wanted one of those in the worst way, but I could never win one.  I found the one below later in my travels and to the best of my recollection, this is the type that were in the machine, but I am not positive.


My mouse collection started out with the real thing. In the mid – 1970’s, my friend Lee and I visited my sister.  She took us to K-mart, which at the time, had a pet department.  There, I purchased two mice – a black one (Pepper) and a white one (originally Salt, but changed to Vite).  I didn’t even get any permission – I just showed up at home with mice.  Being a collector, this turned into 5 mice.  One was a pretty, soft silvery gray – like a chinchilla.  Another was white with peachy tan patches and the fifth was white with black patches – funny, but I don’t remember their names.  I built a maze for them, complete with cheese at the finish.

Vite was by far the fastest at finishing the maze.


Unidentified German Porcelain Mouse

I never really minded mice – I get when they come in the house uninvited it’s a problem, but overall as creatures I think they’re basically cute.  When I was in college, instead of taking two extra pieces of public transportation home, sometimes I would walk from the elevated train.  The walk was about a mile or so, and part of it was past a large city park.  Some of my classes were late and one night there was a little baby field mouse running in the middle of the street, confused by the cars.  I picked him up and moved him to the side, but he ran out again.  At that point, I picked him up and put him in my art supply bag.

I know, it was dumb and probably gross – but I did it.

The little brown mouse got the full pet mouse treatment, and even though he was very young, he was never really tame.

Pigeon Forge Pottery Mouse

He was nocturnal and was easily flustered by fancy food.  Once I put peanut butter in for him and he squeaked and sprung straight up nearly to the top of his enclosure. He loved to shred paper and cardboard items and lived a few years.  When he died, he was just tucked up in a little ball – I thought he was sleeping.

Resin mouse made to looked like carved jet or ebony wood.

Of the mouse items I have, I think the pair of scatter pins may be what I’ve had the longest.  I got these on a long ago trip to Ocean City, NJ.  There used to be a great souvenir shop on the boardwalk called Irene’s.  You could always find a nice memento from your trip for not a lot of money.


Next I think is the mouse I made myself out of a shell (he used to have a tail made out of a painted piece of rubber band, but that was lost long ago).

Home made shell mouse

The large crocheted mouse doorstop was crocheted by my sister – I think in the 1980’s.


The other mice have been added here and there and I still pick up mouse items that I find appealing.  I mostly lean toward small figurines due to space limitations and have a small section on the bookcase where I display most of the smaller mice.

A selection of cloth or fuzzy mice…

I also have a few mouse Christmas ornaments which were not handy at the moment…maybe I can add the pictures in a few months!  I’ve seen some really lovely porcelain mice by noted companies such as Herend, Lladro, Royal Copenhagen and many others.

Porcelain and pottery mice…hover over picture for details.

Really neat mice I got on eBay a few years back…the little paper explains their origins…


Josef porcelain mice…the kind I got when I was little.  They come in many forms and are easily found online.


A few small mice of different varieties…


A felted wool mouse made by an artist in the UK…


Boxing mice??


Blown glass mouse…


Little carved wood kitchen mouse…


Vintage home made cloth mice – Mr. & Mrs. and a large jointed mouse (love these).


With just the examples that I have and all of those made by famous makers, there must be some redeeming qualities to mice, right?

Late Summer Harvest…

August is always a bittersweet month for me.  I love the summer and yet I know it will be gone soon.  We live in the “Garden State”, so there is nothing like the corn, tomatoes, peaches, and blueberries that are abundant during the summer months here.  When I was little, I don’t remember ever having watermelon or strawberries during any time but the summer.  We are fortunate to be able to get many types of produce all year around now but they just don’t have the taste of the local treats fresh from the field.

Produce 1

Last year, I tried making jelly for the first time.  It was a bit challenging, but worth it in the end.  So with thoughts of summer winding down, and wishing I could preserve all of the fresh fruits and vegetables – I thought it was a good time to look at my collection of jam pots.

This was not a collection that took years to amass.

The first pot – an orange marmalade pot arrived around 1969.  As previously mentioned, we had just moved to a new house in Philadelphia with just my Mom.  Mom came home from shopping one day with this little pot and placed it on the kitchen table.


I loved it for many reasons.  First of all, it was nice looking and I had never seen one before.  Secondly, it seemed a cheerful touch, and I was glad my Mom felt happy enough to think about something that was not critical to our outright survival. The pot had a little porcelain spoon and of course I wanted it filled. We had grape jelly, but that wouldn’t do.  After some amount of pestering, my Mom got a jar of marmalade that I could transfer to the pot.  I didn’t even like marmalade when I was little…I thought it was bitter, but in this case it was the only option.

At some point, when I moved to one of my apartments, the jam pot came with me.


So this jam pot was it for many years until one day in the late 1990’s or early 2000’s, I found this apple pot in a thrift shop.  I was happy to find it, not really ever coming across any that I remembered.


I didn’t actively start looking for them at that point. Then, a few years later came the apple – found at a flea market, and as previously mentioned, here is where I get into trouble.


When a group starts forming…

I feel compelled to add to the group.

When I found the grapes at an antique shop and that was it – I wanted more.


When similar objects keep crossing my path, I take it as a sign that I’m supposed to be collecting them.

Turns out – these are not hard to find and the online marketplace was a treasure trove.  I began to look for pots that appealed to me (very few don’t).

At first I couldn’t find any pineapples, then…

Some more citrus pots


Not many have the little spoon with them anymore and since that’s how I remember the first pot, it seems to be a requirement for all of them. It took me a bit, but I finally found a place online that sold the little plastic condiment spoons. Not perfect, but better than no spoon at all.  Some have nice little spoons that coordinate with the design.

Green Apple Pot
Apple pot with coordinating spoon
Honey Pot

They are so colorful and cheerful and I think they look nice as a group even if they are a bit old-fashioned looking.

Somewhat muted colors with an eggplant on top!
Little gourd is much smaller than the others

A grouping of berries – these are among my favorites!


More grapes on a doily that my Mom crocheted…


Some other things that are not exactly jam pots, but display nicely with them.


Maybe I like them because of the homey, happy feeling I got from that first marmalade pot.

The pots along with some other collections!

As with most of my collecting, I’m forced to stop once the area I’m using for display has reached maximum capacity. Sadly, that is the case with the jam pots…

I’m simply out of room or I would be happy to add more!

For the love of bugs…

I have kind of a love-hate relationship with insects, depending on what they are. Nowadays, I snap pictures of all kinds of insects when I come across them.  My earliest recollection of insects was before I was even in school.  My best friend lived next door and they had a huge Catalpa tree in the back yard (legend has it my Grandfather planted it, but that’s a different story).  This tree was kind of an anchor in my childhood…it was just always there, and it was a big focus of whatever we were playing in the back yard.  I don’t know if this is the case, but I only remember it blooming once.  The abundant white blooms had little purple specs on the inside.  It think it was early summer and the smell was sweet and strong…I couldn’t believe it could smell so nice.  Then, at the end of the season, the very long thin seed pods came.  My Mom called the tree a Johnnie Smoker – I imagine it had something to do with those pods.  The tree had a kind of scar on the trunk. It was spot in the bark that split open and it healed with the bark exposing a small area of smooth wood.  I know we used to draw in that spot with colored chalk.

Catalpa Tree in bloom with the pod to the left of the picture…as luck would have it, I just went to lunch with my sisters and there was a tree in bloom!

Anyway, the tree was a haven for ladybugs.  They came from a funny larvae stage creature and before that from bright orangey yellow eggs that were on the underside of the leaves.  Believe me, we knew the entire cycle.  Here, my friend and I ran the “hospital”.  This was the place for the larvae, which we referred to as “lizards” and the kind of cocoon state they would transform to on the underside of the leaf all went to become ladybugs.  The facility consisted of a jar with holes poked in the lid.  This would be filled with the tree leaves and the creatures.  I’m not sure we exactly helped the process, but this was a big part of our day during the summer.

So, Ladybugs are good.

In second grade on one of our many trips to Washington’s Crossing, I found a Click Beetle.  Now, in my small hand, this thing was huge – but I didn’t mind at the time.  I know I could not hold one now.  I was allowed to bring him home and he was aptly named “Clicky”… they do click.  One day, I took him to school in a jar for show and tell. In the jar, was a pretty large piece of tomato for him to eat and you know what – it was completely gone by lunchtime!


A bug just like Clicky….

Photo courtesy of Eric R. Eaton,

When I was in college, I developed some kind of connection to dragonflies and damsel flies.  My Mom used to tell us when we were little that they would sew your mouth shut – so not sure why I liked them.  I got a vintage dragonfly pin that I used to wear and some other decorative items over the years.
DSC_0430My early dragonfly pin, silver and abalone…it’s really quite small.

So aside from a few things, I would hardly call my insect items a collection.


A few of my insect items…hover over pictures for a description.

The bulk of my insect items belonged to my Mom, however I was fairly involved with adding to her collection.  It all started with a bug brooch she got at a flea market.  She brought it over on one of her visits and I thought it was really beautiful.


(Mom’s first bug brooch)

My Mom started scoping out bug pins in her travels.  They really don’t show up all that much, but she did find them.  During the last decade that my Mom was with us, it was getting more and more difficult to shop for her.  She was just at that point where she didn’t really need anything.  The insect pins and other related items were a good option for a unique gift for her for different occasions.

Except for the gold toned grasshopper, which was a gift to me from Jeanne, all of the pictures below are my Mom’s bug pins…



For me – I didn’t need an excuse to collect, even if it was on behalf of someone else.  I started scoping insect jewelry and other items for my Mom. These were bugs that weren’t difficult to like!  I think it was when she turned 85, I got her an antique micro mosaic insect brooch.  I wanted to get a nice display for it so I also got a little metal and glass trinket box that I thought would be a good way to display the pin.


Mosaic pin which my Mom always displayed with the little ant!

For a brief time – inspired by my Mom, I collected a few butterfly pins…


In the October 2017 post,  I mentioned my Mom’s ability to collect – when she was into something, she was very zealous about acquiring new additions.  As she received bug pins and gifts and added more from her travels, my Mom’s bug collection got very large. She put the pins in those glass topped cardboard display boxes that they use at shows so that the pins could be seen better.  My Mom also picked up more of those metal and glass trinket boxes in her travels when the price was right.

Little chirping crickets…I got these for my Mom in Manayunk – mid 1990’s.  They no longer chirp when you open the box, but I’d like to figure out how to replace the battery.  They sounded real!

Large glass tree ornament

My Mom and I had matching Cicada necklaces

When my Mom first passed away, I still kept getting things I thought she’d like – this was one of them.

The pins led to other things such as bug themed trinket boxes and glass figurine insects.

Bug boxes, paper ornaments and a little brass bug figure.


My Mom also loved little blown glass figurines of all types, so insect versions were perfect. I found an artist that creates wonderful insects with glass. I got several of these for my Mom and ended up getting two that were of interest to me. The two I got were both insects we have around the house – the praying mantis and a katydid. For my Mom, I got was a bee, a fire ant, a jewel beetle and a scary black horned beetle. We both thought these were fascinating!

Below are all examples of Wes Fleming glass bugs…

they are the size of the actual bugs and are really amazing.


Horned Beetle
Horned Beetle top view
Bee – top view
Tiny fire ant
Tiny fire ant – top view, so small to work on!!
Jewel Beetle
Amazing Katydid and Praying Mantis which I display under a dome.

When my Mom’s insect items came to me I was already challenged with space to put things.  I wanted to have the bugs out so that I could see them all the time as my Mom did.  I was able to get a large glass doored frame that was made for collecting pin back items such as political pins and it worked perfectly.  I hung this in the guest bedroom where my Mom always stayed.  It is where I keep my clothes and shoes, so I always get to see it.  Sometimes I grab a pin and wear it for the day.  I wish I looked into the frame while my Mom was still with us – I think she would have liked seeing her pins displayed in this way.


South of the Border…

I’ve never been to Mexico, but a long time ago I was drawn to some pottery figures that were made there.  I think it was around 1969 – 1970.

I liked visiting my sister’s friend’s apartment.  Jeanne’s place was decorated in the latest fashions with things like I had never seen.  Her furniture was warm wood tones, all smooth with rounded edges and solid, bold upholstery colors.  It was very different from any furniture I’d seen.  I didn’t know it then, but I believe it was the clean refreshing lines of Scandinavian furniture that were so attractive to me.  It was a stark contrast to the furniture that we had a home. My parents got new furniture in the mid 1960’s.  I believe the living room was Italian provincial and the dining room was French provincial.

At any rate, it was very “provincial”.

Our living room furniture was upholstered in sage green and gold brocade fabric – it was more subtle than it sounds.  As was the rage at that time, at least on our street – the sofa and chairs were fitted with custom-made clear plastic slip covers (to keep it nice).  This was wonderful in the summer when you wore shorts and had no air conditioning.

IMG_6325 (1)

Here is a nice view of the slipcovers at their finest… along with my parents and their first grandchild and happy me.

Anyway, back to Jeanne’s place…deep blues and greens dominated the color scheme including a stained glass light where the two colors alternated around the shade.  This hung over the glass-topped wrought iron table that was covered with a blue woven tablecloth.  There was also wonderful abstract painting done by her husband that featured a Siamese cat and picked up the same colors in a geometric, shadowy way. There were interesting pottery vases too.  I remember a design where the vase was full on the bottom and tapering to a very tiny opening – sometimes just enough for one long-stemmed flower to rise high above the base.  I’ve since learned they are called seed vessels, and the shape was designed with the tiny opening that allowed seeds to be dropped in, but no insects or rodents could get at them.  When it was time to plant the seeds, the pot would be broken to release the seeds.  I remember this being a popular vase shape in the late 1960’s early 1970s.  Dried flowers dyed with bright colors filled the pottery and the place was bright and airy.

Among all of this exotic decor, was a collection of owl figures.  There were different sizes and styles and it was a fascinating group.  I was very young and had probably just started amassing my collection of bone china animals.  I don’t even think I knew you could have a “collection”.  I studied the owls whenever I was at Jeanne’s place and cultivated an appreciation for the selection and display of this grouping.  Among those I remember were one or two made of colored alabaster that were basically round spheres with accents around the eyes that let you know they were owls.

il_570xN.1118372095_j3yaPhoto courtesy of ClaudiasTreasureHut on

However, the ones I remember most were very smooth glazed pottery owls in earthy tones.  They were hand painted with highly stylized leaves and flowers and they had odd abstract faces that I found intriguing.  Maybe a year later, at a school bazaar I found a bird painted in the same manner.  It was like a dove or pigeon, very thick and heavy, with the same flowery, hand painted designs and large dark eyes.  It had a satin finish and the colors were shades of rosy browns and grays.  “Mexico” was painted on the bottom…I scooped up the exotic treasure.  I had this bird for years.  I never found any others and by the time I got to high school, many of my items were packed away.  This bird ended up being sold at a flea market when I was in college.  I always regretted letting it go and seem to have over corrected that problem.

Fast forward to the late 1990’s….I was in a local antique shop that is located in a mid-1800’s house.  On the third floor was what you could call the bargain section.  There I found a lovely pair of birds!  They were only $5 for the pair.  The coloring on one of them is much like the one I had years ago and it is a bird with a short tail.  The other is similar in form to my original – like a dove, but more of a terra-cotta color.  I was very pleased to find them since I never really forgot about the one I found so many years ago.


Small fish was another flea market find.  DSC_0213.JPG

Now there were three…dangerously teetering on the start of a collection.

It seems once I start encountering a certain number of things that I’m not familiar with, it’s time to research.  All that I knew about these whimsical pottery animals is that they were made in Mexico.  With the benefit of the internet, it didn’t take long to find out that they are referred to as Tonala pottery. Without going into too much history, this was a type of pottery that originated in the city of Tonala in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Tonala is located within the state of Jalisco where much of the pottery is produced.  There are urns, plates and many animal forms, which I love.

Large squirrel and a chipmunk…notice the nut the squirrel is holding.


The pottery is still being produced today and despite how few I encountered early on, they are readily available.

Above is kind of graceful bird…lots of bird forms it seems.

The pieces I seem to be most drawn to are the vintage pieces with a finish referred to as burnished.  These are the ones with the muted earthy tones.

Below is the largest piece I own…it’s a duck or goose.  My Mom gave me the gourds a few years ago.  Originally they were an odd pinkish gray tone that matched the background color of the bird – I used them for eggs.  Now they’ve dried to a different tone, but she still keeps them.  The penny is for scale.


A few more birds…

Fish, reptiles, amphibians etc…

Big fish and little fish…I love the face on the large fish!

Mr. Snake…

Turtle with a nodding head…

Frogs and toads…

A large snail…



Some of the painting details…I love this stuff!


There are also pieces that are highly glazed or have brighter colors and I have some of those as well.

Green glazes on a large road runner and a bunny…


This is a large highly decorative frog…a gift from Marge.

This is terra-cotta frog from Mexico in bright colors.

I’ve seen a good bit of this type…all black with etched designs.

My love of the designs and glazes in Mexican pottery is not limited to figures…

I went all out with a high power internet search and was amazed at all of the different types of animals available.  This fueled one of my fast paced collections which seem to happen frequently with the internet.  I generally stop once the items have filled the space that I have designated for them.  I love the unique quality of each piece – all painted by hand.

This is my favorite kind of collection when the pieces are very difference and yet still all related.  They look great together and I would get more if I could fit them.

All Things Royal…

With all the buzz around the British Royals lately, I thought it would be a fitting time to delve into the things I’ve collected relating to the royals.  Why I’m drawn to the British Monarchy, I can’t say.  I think originally it may have come from an interest in the Victorian era and discovering what that actually meant.  Queen Victoria had an incredibly long reign, however it was surpassed by her great-great granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II who is now the longest-reigning British Monarch.  In addition to my interest in Queen Victoria, I also have an interest in Queen Elizabeth II.  She is so close in age to my Mom (they were born 6 months apart) and they witnessed all of the same historical events at the same age.  Naturally, their lives are completely different, but yet I think there are many similarities.  Both went from teens to young adults under the shadows and difficulties of WWII. I think this had a long lasting impact on how their lives would be shaped – forged with a serious sense of duty and keeping it together during hard times.

You could easily apply the British phrase “Keep Calm and Carry On” to my Mom’s approach to life!Mom as the queen

My Mom, looking very much like a Queen – (photo courtesy of Celeste).

My “royal” collection is not as vast as some of my others, but none the less dear to me. Many facets mark the Victorian era – industry, culture, political change, etc. But looking at the Victorian Era from strictly a decorative point of view will show that it produced a treasure trove of designs. I love the clothing and jewelry from this timeframe.  I guess my first exposure was a trip to Cape May, NJ in 1976.

This place is like a time capsule…so many wonderfully preserved examples of Victorian architecture, full of “gingerbread” trim. I just liked the “feel” of the place and imaged what it would have been like in the late 1800’s.


The Pink House…Cape May, NJ – photo c. 1980

The gift shops had a lot of Victorian themed items and I began to get obsessed…no surprise.  I don’t even think I made the connection to an English Monarch…it was just the time period.  I don’t have any of my items that I got from my obsessed Victorian era anymore…the souvenirs from Cape May, but I do remember them.

It was doll collecting that lead me to a good bit of what I have these days.  The earliest items that I have relate to Queen Victoria and Princess Charlotte.  My favorite dolls are made in England during the reign of Queen Victoria. Can I say too many times that I think things created during this era are the best?  Many items, even though they may have been just souvenirs were very high quality.  Some of the early items that I have relating to Queen Victoria are pictured below.

A woven silk portrait of Queen Victoria, very early in her reign – circa 1840.  It is commonly called a Stevengraph, which was a term applied to similar woven silks made by Thomas Stevens in England, however this one has French markings.  I haven’t been able to find another like it.  The reverse is just like a photo negative. It is the same structure and feel as a satin ribbon, but the woven details are incredible.

The two early engraved pictures below were actually in a box of old prints that my Mom once found “curbside”.  They aren’t in great condition, but they are very old.  One depicts and early portrait of Victoria and Albert, and the other shows views of their marriage  procession.


I got this very tiny medal online.  The person selling it stated it was given to people that attended Victoria during her coronation.  I’m not sure that it’s true but it is an interesting piece, and the dates correspond to her birth on May 24, 1819, and the coronation on June 28, 1838.

Next is a medal that was made to commemorate Queen Victoria’s 60 years of reign – 1837 to 1897.  She would continue to reign until her death in 1901.  It’s a nice looking medal with the ribbon still attached.


The poured wax baby is part of my doll collection and dates to around 1860. Victoria and Albert had nine children and they were naturally a great source of interest for the people in England.  It seems the fascination with the Royals is nothing new.  With all of the attention to the babies, several English doll makers started producing wax dolls in the likeness of the royal children – blond hair and blue eyes were a standard in the dolls. These were very high quality with hair individually inserted into the wax head with hot needles.  They had glass eyes and were elaborately dressed in multi-layered outfits of the finest materials.  They were obviously well cared for to be made of wax and still survive.


The bisque artist doll below, made for a doll convention is a portrait of the young Queen Victoria, holding one of her children.

The last of my early pieces are not related to Victoria, but to Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales.  One piece is a coin to commemorate her marriage to Prince Leopold on May, 2nd 1816.  The other is a large coin or medal commemorative piece made after she died during childbirth in 1817 at the age of 21.  She was the only child of George IV.  If she outlived her grandfather, George III and her father she would have been queen of England.  The prospect of her reign was seen as a positive and her death set off a tremendous period of mourning in England.

The next group of items that I have are related to the current monarch, Elizabeth II mostly when she was still a princess, along with her sister Margaret Rose.  By all accounts, Elizabeth and Margaret Rose enjoyed a normal childhood – that is as normal as could be expected for a member of the royalty.  They seemed to have a nice, fairly quiet family life.  However that was to change when her uncle, King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in 1936 to marry American divorcee Wallace Simpson.  This threw her father into the unexpected role of being the King of England and immediately made Elizabeth the next in line for the throne.  The princesses were very popular even before their father was the king and the family was the subject of many souvenir and commemorative items.


The small cloth dolls were part of a large group depicting characters present during the coronation of King George in 1937. I have the King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and the two princesses – Elizabeth and Margaret. These were made by a British company called Liberty of London and for such small creations, they have an amazing likeness to the people they were made to represent.  The range from about 5 inches to 9 inches.

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Many tea, candy and biscuit tins like this one were made to commemorate the coronation or simply picture the popular family.


The young Princess Elizabeth was a favorite of her Grandfather, George V. She visited him frequently and became popular with the press. At this early age, a German firm produced a bisque doll in her likeness. This doll was not authorized by her parents and they really didn’t approve of the doll. However bowing to the ever growing popularity of their child, they gave permission to an English toy maker – Chad Valley to create a doll in Elizabeth’s likeness. This is the very first version of the Royal dolls that Chad Valley made. It is a felt doll with glass eyes and had a very good likeness to the young princess, as you can see by the photos. She is even wearing the same dress. This version is not as easy to find as the later versions.


The two dolls below made by Chad Valley show Elizabeth and Margaret Rose. The tags show us that the Elizabeth doll was made prior to her father becoming king and the Margaret rose doll was made after. These came in various sizes and were wearing outfits similar to those worn by the princesses.  They are 16 inches and 18 inches.

Some other items made around the popularity of the princesses

This paper doll set has many more outfits than what is pictured

Book about the family and their many dogs.

A friend visited England a few years ago, and brought me back this charm of the Gold State Coach. The coach was commissioned in 1760 and has been used at the coronation of every monarch since George IV, as well as other special ceremonies.

It is said to be very uncomfortable.

I also have a little coin purse stamped Buckingham Palace with a crown charm that I found on my own – not in England, although I’ve always wanted to go.

I can just imagine all of the royal items I would come back with!


The English have produced mugs, plates and other pottery items commemorating the royals since the late 18th century. While I haven’t started collecting any of those 18th, 19th or 20th century pieces, I did start collecting these mugs commemorating the birth of the children of William and Kate. I got the mug when Prince George was born and then discovered the same type was issued for Princess Charlotte.

The mugs may not have been a wise idea for someone that is trying to slow down on collecting – I’ve just ordered the commemorative mug for Prince Louis.

I don’t think there is any danger of nine Royal babies again – I wouldn’t have space for all of the mugs!