Mary, Mary QUITE contrary

Royal Art Pottery Mistress Mary cup
made in England, 1940s

A delightful children’s cup, featuring ‘Mistress Mary’ of the nursery rhyme:
Mary, Mary, quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With silverbells and cockleshells
And pretty maids all in a row.

Here Mistress Mary [a la 1940s- as evidenced by her haircut] is seen with a rake and watering can, near the Silverbells. The cup has the royal crown logo and “Royal Art Pottery, England” on the base.

Perhaps you know a contrary Mary? This is the cup for them!

The cup is in great vintage condition & is for sale; $AU20

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Nursery cups

Johnson Bros nursery cups, 1960sJohnson of Australia nursery cups
made in Queensland, Australia 1960s

Following my last post featuring Johnson Bros 70s dinner plates, here are two nursery cups from the 60s.

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary [the nursery rhyme apparently modelled after Mary Queen of Scots and written in England in c1744] shows Mary watering her ‘cockleshells and silvers bells, and pretty maids all in a row.’

Rub-a-dub, dub, three men in a tub : describes the butcher [fat, with a blue & white striped apron] the baker [with chefs hat] and candlestick-maker [clutching a candle, no less.]

Both cups are inscribed ‘Johnson’s – after Woods, England’ on the base. The transfer prints are clear and undamaged- in good vintage condition for cups made in the 60s.

The nursery cups are for sale: $AU35

The family that prays together, stays together…

Religious icons- 50sReligious icons, made in Australia c. 1950s

I love this group of icons. The colours, the forms, the ensemble. The first, Jesus with a timber fan – cum halo, stands on a polished timber plinth giving the peace sign. The middle icon- hand painted perhaps by someone in a hurry- has Mary with a somewhat shifty look, and Joseph looking like a harried hippy [could that haircut be any more unfortunate?] As for baby Jesus- is it just me, or is he a ventriloquist doll?

The final icon features Mary arms outstretched, standing on an orb that while representing the earth, is the colour of her dress and head scarf, and which itself is on a bakelite plinth. Mary’s face is featureless- it’s all about the clothes- she is just a cipher.

The trio form an interesting group representing religious iconography of the 50s. In Australia. In the 50s.

The icons are for sale: $AUD75

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50s Madonnas

50s Madonnas50s Madonnas
made in Australia

A timber framed image, a metal wall plaque and two plastic icons- all starring the Madonna- as seen through the lens of history from the 50s. Beautiful, slim and oh-so Caucasian, Mary is also quietly assertive, if somewhat humourless. At least she doesn’t look like a hippy, unlike the unfortunate rendering of Joseph.

I have been collecting Madonnas for the better part of twenty years and it’s the Mary’s from the 50s that appeal the most. Contemporary Mother of God’s look harried and cross and seem to have hastily applied make-up; but by contemporary I mean the 70s since the renderings & images seem to have stopped then. Where are the 2014 Mary’s?

This set is for sale: $AUD55

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