Scottie Porter’s finds

By Karen Parr-Moody  

 

Scottie Porter, proprietor of Sterling Bridges Antiques, loves the history of antiques – as he should, after being in the business for more than 17 years. His grandmother taught him early on from an educated perch; she was an antiques collector, as well as a member of the Waterford Crystal Society.

 

Between the stylish cities of Birmingham and Nashville, Porter operates six antiques booths, including one at the original GasLamp and one at GasLamp Too. He recently walked through his location in the original GasLamp, sharing historic information about some of his beautiful merchandise as he went.

One such piece is a gorgeous colander and plate in the Banff pattern from Crown Devonshire (photo, right; $129.99 at Booth T-182). Porter pointed out the hand-painted details on this piece, which dates to the early 1900s. It was made in Stoke-on-Trent, England.

 

“Just think about what a dinner it must have been to need this to drain your pasta or meat or vegetables,” Porter said while examining the piece. “When they put this out on the table this was fine dining. It would have also been very expensive for its time frame. It would have been a big splurge for anyone.”

 

The colander is a lovely sandy color with sprays of hand-painted flowers that are connected by a network garlands, each comprised of tiny, pearl-like beads. The colander is also decorated with elegant, hand-painted bows, along with touches of gilt and motifs that look like jewels. Having stood the test of time, this piece reveals no chips, dings or evident wear; Porter thinks this is because it was largely kept displayed in a china cabinet.

 

Among Porter’s other featured items is a platter in the Acadia pattern from Soho Pottery, a firm that was once active in Cobridge, England, an area of Stoke-on-Trent in the county of Staffordshire (photo, left; $175 at Booth T-182). This platter is a “flow blue” piece, a collectible type of transfer earthenware that was produced in the Staffordshire region of England beginning around 1820. While flow blue has a similar look to the typical blue-and-white transfer pottery, it was decorated with ink that was purposely blurred, then fired.  

 

Porter says it is this blurring of the blue ink, or what he says collectors call “runniness,” that makes this piece so desirable, in addition to its gilding. Adding even more to the platter’s beauty, he says, are the hand-painted, terracotta-colored flowers that were added after the piece was fired.

 

“Typically with flow blue, you only have flow blue and a white color,” he says. “You don’t typically have other colors … rarely ever do you see other colors painted. And every single flower on here was hand-painted.”

 

Porter has another large platter in his GasLamp booth that is done in the flow blue style. Made by Bristol Alkalon China in England, the platter is done in the Mandarin pattern and, according to Porter, dates back 100 to 110 years ago (photo, right; $249.99 at Booth T-182).

 

Porter says that even though there are various pieces to any flow blue pattern, every piece is unique due to the process of injecting the blue dye and allowing it to run at will.

 

“Even if you buy a set of 12 flow blue dinner plates, all 12 will have variations in the color and in the artwork and in the design on the piece,” Porter says. “With some of them the ink may stay perfectly in the lines, with others it will flow outside of the lines. Flow blue is uniquely distinct in its own right.”

 

While Porter uses the term “uniquely distinct” to describe a flow blue platter, it is also a term that applies to him. His coversation is one more example of the interesting tidbits one gleans after spending time with GasLamp’s knowledgeable dealers.

 

 

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