Anna Campbell

January 2008



Think I’m turning Japanese!

MFTJan08-3I wanted to share something really lovely that happened to me last week. I finally got down to Brisbane to have lunch with one of my favorite people (and favorite writers) Christine Wells. We’ve talked about this forever but for various reasons, our lives have interfered with any plans. Lunch was fun and full of chatter, as you can imagine. And yes, it was lovely. But that’s not exactly what this month’s MFT is about.

I absolutely love Japanese porcelain. To date, I have amassed a huge collection of one piece! I had a very adventurous spinster aunty (back then, she was definitely considered a spinster!) who loved to travel. Actually, she wasn’t my aunty, she was my grandfather’s cousin but we used to call her aunty. After every trip, she’d descend upon us with amazing gifts. I look back and think how odd some of the things she brought were for a little girl. When I was ten, she’d just been to India and she gave me a gorgeous folder of Mughal prints. After a trip to Scandinavia, when I was 11, she brought me back a very scholarly book on the Vikings. Happily, I was a rather strange little girl and all this stuff was wildly exciting! I still think Aunty Jean is at least partly to blame for my perpetually itchy feet.

MFTJan08-2One of my absolute favorite presents she brought me is an exquisite Japanese cup and saucer that she must have given me when I was about five. It’s as fine as eggshell and the light shines through it and if you hold the bottom up to the light, you can see a geisha girl. I have no idea if it’s valuable – I suspect not. But it’s exquisite with jewel-like birds perched in a peony tree.

MFTJan08-1But since seeing Christine last week, my collection has doubled. With incredible and completely unnecessary generosity, Christine gave me a gorgeous Satsuma bowl from around 1900. Inside the bowl, there’s a beautifully detailed pheasant  perched on a gnarled branch of a tree with red flowers. On the outside, it’s decorated with more leaves and chased gold. Absolutely gorgeous. I just love it and it immediately became one of my favorite things!