Saturday, February 05, 2011

Salting the herd

Cow set

I bought my mother this funky cow family pepper, salt, milk jug and sugar bowl set in about 1975, and they survived three house moves, including interstate. When she returned to New South Wales last year, one of the calves had gone rogue and has never been seen again. I took a digital photo on a recent visit so I could more accurately search for a replacement. I was on a mission! And I can now report success.

After several close calls, I recently found a single second hand calf (pointing in the correct direction) on "Buy it now" eBay. There are so many variations on this style of ceramics, seemingly dating from the 50s, 60s and 70s, with very few having the bull as part of the set (the bull sugar bowl is what appealed to me so much in 1975), and many sets have dark purplish colours under the glaze, or any variety of painted details on the bells, collars and hooves. Similarly, prices for sets vary from a few dollars for lone pieces from broken sets to very large amounts if the sellers consider them to be "rare".

The horns and cow bell on this one were pale yellow (notice I've just enameled one horn metallic gold in the photo, as a test), and the blushes of hair colour are mauve on the replacement, rather than light brown - the brown-tinted sets do seem to be the rarity in my several months of looking, but adoptive bovine parents can't be fussy.

On the positive side, this little guy came in a random set of five single ceramic shakers, but still a good deal for the one calf I needed. I now have shakers resembling a red parrot, a Thanksgiving turkey, a weird duck and a dodo-like bird all looking for a shelf to warm.

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