Ceramic Stories in Blue and Red

old-britain-castles

❄️Mudlark’s Advent, Day 9 ❄️
Ceramic sherds, especially the more recent kind, aren’t a big love of mine, as you may have guessed from their absence on this page. However, anything traceable with a story, or something that leads to a story, has more of a chance. So, here are some of my favourite potsherd vignettes for you.

The pink sherd is decorated with Old Britain Castles, the makers are Johnson Bros. This historical and traditional pattern was intricately rendered by Miss Fennel, back in 1928. She, the daughter of a master engraver, created these original drawings from old book photographs and steel engravings. Old Britain Castles is certainly one of the best known patterns from Johnson Brothers and has been in production since 1930. Each piece of china depicts a scene of a different castle, and has extended to 45 castles. Some of the most famous castles included in the OBC pattern are Cambridge, Dunstable, Exeter, Haddon Hall, Kent, Stratford, and Warwick.

The blues I am not so sure about, and am still investigating. I the bowl base in the bottom photos is think it is a copy of Dimmock’s Morea Pattern, c1840. It’s certainly the same image as one of Dimmock’s scenes, but in the absence of the ‘D’ incorporated into the makers mark, on the back, I can only assume it’s Dimmock Morea.

Jacks, Snobs, Knucklebones, Chuckstones…

snobs

❄️Mudlark’s Advent, Day 7❄️
Jacks, Snobs, Knucklebones, Chuckstones… what do you know it as?

Dating back to before the Greeks, the game of Chucks (I’m going with this name, as China clay dice, like this one I found on the foreshore, were used) has been as big a mainstay in the playground as hopscotch or catch.

It is “a traditional children’s game, played the world over, for which there is no formal organising body. Consequently, rules vary from country to country and place to place.
The game is also known by a variety of names including Jackstones, Chuckstones, Dibs, Dabs, Fivestones, Otadama, Tally and Knucklebones. All that is needed to play the game of Chucks is five small clay squares.”

” The simplest throw consists in tossing up one stone, the jack, and picking up one or more from the table while it is in the air. This continues until all five stones have been picked up. Another throw consists in tossing up first one stone, then two, then three and so on, and catching them on the back of the hand.”

Alternatives to the squares can be pretty much anything of a similar size – originally sheep knucklebones were used.”
Actually the ‘knucklebones’ used were astragalus, bones in a sheep ankle, or hock.

I knew the game as Jacks, but instead of clay dice, metal or plastic spikes connected to a central base were used. My grandmother kept a set in her old bureau. I never really got the hang of the game, but spent hours pinging them along her old chintz carpet, only to spend further hours trying to retrieve them from under the settee.

The game was relatively simple on the surface of it, chucking the squares up and catching them on the back of your hand, but variations of hand positions with names such as ‘riding the elephant’ and ‘sending the people to church’ made things a bit more tasty.

Other permutations including the use of a bouncy ball and clapping ones hands between catches. Not so simple after all!