Photo by Gavin Ashworth
This grouping of a child-size Staffordshire plate with Franklin’s Proverb, an antique cow pull toy and a sheep is especially appealing to me!
The pull toy was made in Germany c. 1870. Her body is covered with a soft calf’s skin. Her horns are in good shape and her eyes are glass. There is a bell on a leather collar around her neck . Her neck can be turned if one is gentle with this wonderful old toy….and the cow responds with a “MOO”! The base is of wood painted red. What fun to be a child in late Victorian days! This toy was well cared for, and she lives in our large armoire along with the other animal pull toys.
The German sheep keeps the cow company…..the sheep has stick legs, glass eyes, a leather color with a bell, and his body is covered with a fuzzy white material. Do you think he was part of a Creche scene, keeping watch over Baby Jesus?
The ceramic plate comes from England, a Staffordshire pottery creation. Franklin’s Proverb is printed on it’s colorful surface. “Now I have a sheep and a cow, everyone bids me Good Morrow”. Our Benjamin Franklin was a wise man! If he were living today, the Proverb would probably read:” Now that I have a pricey automobile, and a big house, everyone would bid me Good Morning.” Do you agree?
The cow was purchased some years ago after a visit to a historic Dutch House in Essex County, New Jersey. Her place was on the mantle of the old stone house and the docent was kind enough to show us how the cow “mooed” when her head was turned. Too precious for visitors to touch, so right there and then I was determined to own a COW! This is on the gift list for a granddaughter as she was with me when I bought this barnyard relic.I have put the three together…plate, cow & sheep……….and rather like the grouping. The Proverb teaches a great lesson in human vanity. One of these days I just may have postcards made of this photograph.