Saturday, February 18, 2012

CHICK CHIC





I just visited one of my favorite blogs, and was pleasantly surprised to see that their lovely English drawing room was brightly decorated with a magnificent collection of colourful roosters.   I’d not have been surprised at some Staffordshire dogs or china spaniels, but somehow, my reference to the bright birds has always seemed to be as part of an Early American Hutch, or a long rail encircling a Country Kitchen, or even trooped along the big old warming shelf of a huge black stove.
But in that chic, elegant golden room---roosters reign from several quarters, casting their colours into the seaside sun.

I have this theory about roosters---of the ceramic or china or anything-in-the painted genre:  Did anyone ever START OUT to collect them?

It seems as if they might have acquired one by chance---perhaps a special one, one which caught their eye by dint of glowing hues or cunning expression or posture or size.   Maybe that first chick-in-the-nest came as a gift, or by inheritance or perhaps at a souvenir shoppe or antiques store.  And next time they saw a mate for it---maybe the matching hen, or another by the same company, they just felt they HAD to buy that one, to keep the first company on the hutch/sideboard/credenza/shelf/other-door-needing-a-doorstop. Then someone saw the pair, decided for the next holiday gift to “add to their collection,” and they were off and running.

A regal one here, a long-tailed one there, here a chick, there a fowl, everywhere a red hen, and the chase was on.

Just like those aunts who coo over that next pair of Hummel children, or the teacher who sweetly accepts yet another Precious Moments bell---were they becoming curators of a museum not of their own making, and caretakers of great numbers of graven objects they didn’t know they chose?   And they WERE choosing, most of the time, seeing just the right one on a weekend, finding the perfect match at a tag sale, unable to resist the expression on the charming little face. 

    The dusting and the polishing multiplied exponentially; the storage shrank with each acquisition, and the sheer numbers branched the d├ęcor out from kitchen shelves to den walls to porch nooks, with the speed and volition of a NASCAR.

I love to see those bright ranks of Chanticleers, marching across the screen---the owners have a flair for arrangement and design, and the shiny chicks just brighten a room.   Just the colours must cheer their
mornings and shine up a cloudy afternoon, and the plates and bowls make a welcoming table for almost any occasion save a funeral feast (though if anything could be cheering, it would be those festive fowl).
 
The regal ranks stand in every room of the house, looking perfectly at home in kitchen, dining room, drawing room, and stand patiently contributing their flair and fest to the whole place.   One blog-day is dedicated to “You show me yours . . .” now and again, and I click from screen to screen, admiring and enjoying the colours and poses and cheer.   And most of those guys don’t just look like a barnyard strut; they look as if they’ve just conquered a small country.






But I STILL wonder---does anyone go out, say on a Saturday Yard Sale day, drive slowly past each table-strewn lawn, and in the absence of a flirt of tailfeathers or a bright uplifted comb---do you just keep going?   Or do you pass by the punchbowls and Limoge at an antiques store, just to sprint past the woman in the eyeshade and Keds, to beat her to that tall crowing prize? 
Can any collectors dispel such a silly notion?

Asks Rachel, known far and wide as the Dish Junkie, and who can hardly type for the tempest of teapots nudging her elbows.
xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Addendum:  A comment from the very people whose collection and post inspired this---the HATTATTS:

"Oh, we have absolutely loved this post.

We can definitely tell you that our 'collection' came to us a a job lot and we are always at pains to tell anyone who asks that we do NOT collect cockerels, chickens, roosters, chicks, turkeys or any
 other fowl!!!

One of our mothers began many years ago with a single bird and, from that point on, her collection multiplied at an alarming rate. At its height she was the recipient of not only ceramic birds but tea towels with chicken motifs, chopping boards, milk jugs, sugar bowls.....indeed, if a cockerel or chicken motif could be applied to anything or made into anything then that is what she acquired. As the collection grew, pieces of furniture had to be given over to their display, shelves had to be erected to house them and kitchen cupboards groaned under the weight of them!!!

When she died, we did not have the heart to simply get rid of them all, so we selected those which could be housed on the Victorian buffet. We have been careful to ensure that they are not added to in number ever since !!!!!

However, strangely......we are now rather fond of them!!!"


9 comments:

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Rachel:
Oh, we have absolutely loved this post.

We can definitely tell you that our 'collection' came to us a a job lot and we are always at pains to tell anyone who asks that we do NOT collect cockerels, chickens, roosters, chicks, turkeys or any other fowl!!!

One of our mothers began many years ago with a single bird and, from that point on, her collection multiplied at an alarming rate. At its height she was the recipient of not only ceramic birds but tea towels with chicken motifs, chopping boards, milk jugs, sugar bowls.....indeed, if a cockerel or chicken motif could be applied to anything or made into anything then that is what she acquired. As the collection grew, pieces of furniture had to be given over to their display, shelves had to be erected to house them and kitchen cupboards groaned under the weight of them!!!

When she died, we did not have the heart to simply get rid of them all, so we selected those which could be housed on the Victorian buffet. We have been careful to ensure that they are not added to in number ever since !!!!!

However, strangely......we are now rather fond of them!!!

jeanne said...

Hi Rachel, I too have a wide range of the 'Hen and Rooster' clan. I was given a gift of my Aunt's collection. Just a few of them and I was off and running. In a former home, my breakfast room was dedicated to them. My Aunt and Uncle had a chicken farm and sold eggs. Their farm was a quarter of a mile from our dairy farm and we too had chickens. I have always been fascinated by them. "Love" is not a loose word when it comes to my collection. HA!

Your post made me smile Rachel. Especially when you mentioned your love of dishes and teapots. Collecting is a part of my family history going waaaay back. It's a comforting thing and it makes us happy. I do try to keep in mind that they are just "things."

We are having a wonderful time with two of our daughters and some grands this weekend. They skied all day yesterday and right now everyone is sleeping. I grabbed a moment to visit my poor neglected dear blogging friends.
Love, Jeanne

DearHelenHartman said...

I have the pair that sat in my mother's kitchen my whole childhood and love them. Others tempt me but I don't want anything to draw away from my sentimental couple. Also I live in the country and a neighbor has an actual rooster who crows ALLLLL the time. It has taken some of the shine off the penny of roosters for me. ALLLLLL the time.

Kim Shook said...

I've wondered the same thing about many collections. I had the damnest time getting rid of all the black and white cow stuff that invaded my kitchen for years at Christmas and birthdays after I bought ONE cow pitcher!

Chesapeake said...

Rachel, Ben's sister collects chickens/roosters, and we have gleefully added to her assortment over the years, even tho we do TRY to restrain ourselves nowadays. My favorite addition to her lot was the Key West chicken, bought in that city, and made of metal blossoms to form a chicken of pink and green. I'll try to find a picture to send you.

C'est moi Claudette said...

I'd love to collect real chicks Rachel, lol... I told Randy that we should have a little chicken coop in the back yard, but he didn't buy it. He said we have enough squawking going on around here with 7 dogs, 2 cats and 2 loud singing canaries that we rescued. I tried... but I'm not finish asking ; )
I know Jeanne LOVES her roosters and chicks. She also loves birds. Her house is so so full of beautiful treasures. It's amazing. Don't you just love her???
I'm watching American Idol... I'm in between commercials.... oh it's on.
Sending you love Rachel, and thank you for for coming to say hello to this little Canadian chick.
xoxoxoxoxo

Beverly said...

My mother is a lover of roosters - and lots of other things that grew into collections. She had roosters, pigs, swans, pink roses, dolls, figurines, Santas, Royal Doulton mugs, mushrooms, etc. You see what I mean.

Very slowly so as not to be painful to her, I have thinned down some of her collections. When she came to live with us, her collections took over the house. I took it as long as I could, but after over twenty years, some of it had to go.

But, don't despair! She still has plenty to treat her senses.

Tonja said...

I am a collector of many things, but never a rooster! They have just never been my taste. But, everything you said about them could be said about collecting them could be said about my collection of lambs and sheep. They do bring joy to me when I see them...even though I had to pack a slew of them away when we moved to the Creekhouse. But, I know they are still there waitig on me should I ever want them.

Tonja said...

I am a collector of many things, but never a rooster! They have just never been my taste. But, everything you said about them could be said about collecting them could be said about my collection of lambs and sheep. They do bring joy to me when I see them...even though I had to pack a slew of them away when we moved to the Creekhouse. But, I know they are still there waitig on me should I ever want them.