The China-Room

At the back of the hallway at Ty Isaf, a low, half-glazed door leads to the china-room. It’s little more than a cupboard really, made out of a section of what was once a servants’ passageway running the width of the house. Decorated in a glowing pinky-red chalk emulsion and fitted with a dresser-rack of black-painted shelves, it’s a combination cabinet-of-curiosities and china repository. There are clockwork tin toys, artists’ ceramics, toy farm animals made of painted lead, fossils and tacky souvenirs. Bits of model sets from my years as a stage designer, hand-crafted gifts from talented friends, a fine bone-china ‘blue dragon’ tea-service, found objects, plastic toys and family heirlooms.

Small children love it, as do I.



















11 thoughts on “The China-Room

  1. I love this post, what a magic place. So many little treasures of creatures in there, and I *love* that it has a low entrance. I imagine a half-hidden door (I know, half-glazed, but still!) beneath the stairs…. Perfect 😀

  2. I just love this entry.
    And I also have, in different rooms at home, collections of funny clay figures, or old tin miniature toys, mixed with ivory, silver, or jade valuable pieces. But I could not have them all together in a “treasure room display ” as that would be too much of a temptation for my grandchildren, and I would not have the heart to refuse when they wanted to play with my treasures.

    I know because my grandmother kept my mother’s beautiful dollhouse, with period furniture, silk rugs, marble bathtubs, and all sorts of china tea sets, and let us, her grandchildren play with it , and we just ruined all . So, when the turn came for our old toys, Gran mended them, and gave them away to the nearest orphanage. And so I have no childhood toys or books.
    I envy you.

    • Hello Maria. Please forgive a brief reply. Today I’ve been with Dan Bugg, signing the second in the Gawain and the Green Knight series of screen-prints. A long day and an incredibly hot one.

      Our china-room is a bit of an indulgence I love it in the winters when we leave the lights on in there and the red walls and the collection of artefacts is so beguiling seen through the half-glazed door. But then unlike you we have no grandchildren to raid it!

      What a shame you have nothing from your childhood. Me neither. Everything I’ve collected that reflects back on what I had as a child, has been acquired as an adult. My parents didn’t keep anything. So the quest has been to replace what was lost. ITts been lovely to reacquaint myself with the past.

      • I have tried to do the same. But here in Spain when they re-publish old children’s books, they bowdlerise them and change all that does not seem politically correct; ( there are no servants, etc), and one feels cheated. It’s almost impossible to find surviving original children’s books and toys, as they were not supposed to be of any value and there are almost none left in good condition. The very few that are left, I can’t afford.

        I am glad to hear about the prints. I suppose I shall get a notification from Dan Bugg any moment, saying the new Sir Gawain and the Green Knight print is available.
        ChinChin !!!

        • Have you tried the Abebooks website? It’s fantastic for finding copies of vintage children’s books. While there are the inevitably expensive pristine copies, you can often find a worn or library copy at a reasonable price, and those suit me very well. Give it a go.

          • I shall try them.
            But not now, as I have just already bought “The Green Knight Arrives”, from Dan, at Penfold Press, and what with taxes and all, I shall have to wait a month or two until I can let myself indulge again.

    • Hello Sweetie. Yes, it’s pretty enough room, and occasionally I lake a half-hour in there to rearrange and offer new treasures. I like the combination of the tender and the tacky, the high and low-brow in bed with each other. And it’s good to have a gathering-place for enticing clutter, leaving our other spaces clear of it.

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