Homeowner Esther has taken 20 years to build her super collection of rare West German white porcelain.
How did you start collecting?
When I was li!le, I gathered stones, shells and other natural treasures. A"er I started going to #ea markets with my mum this soon evolved into collecting ceramics. Back then, my bedroom was quite vintage inspired.
When you start a new collection, do you think about how it will be displayed?
Sometimes I $nd a piece and I know exactly where I’ll put it. Other times I’ll $nd something really beautiful, but I won’t know what to do with it beyond the fact that it just has to come home with me! I’d describe our home as mix and match, and that’s how I approach collecting – there are no rules. I have no set way of doing things.
Do you buy pieces of furniture speci cally for display purposes?
Yes, I do. We actually had a big cabinet custom made from recycled wood and this now contains an array of 1970s Blythe dolls, as well as our books. We have another lovely old Indian cabinet that I bought especially for storing and displaying my growing hoard of beautiful tea and co%ee cups.
How else do you rationalise your fabulous displays?
I like to make groups of the same item. I have a collection of wooden deer, mostly from the 1960s. It started with one and then quickly became a herd. I decided to put them together against the Cole & Son wallpaper, Woods, to create a forest for them. I also arrange pieces by colour, such as my green ginger jars and the purple Flora Holland vases. I have three other collections of ceramic vases, all from the 1970s, and a lot of them have the ‘West Germany’ stamp. You don’t see the white ones very o"en – it has taken me 20 years to acquire them and I always put them together. Then there are the Chamo!e Berkenbast examples, which look and feel like the bark of a tree – some people $nd them hideous, but I think they’re gems! Lastly, I have a number of vases with colours ranging from o%-white to brown, ochre and green, displayed together on a cabinet.
What happens when a collection outgrows its space?
We have to sell! The same happens when I buy something, then can’t $nd a place for it – I put it up for adoption through our online shop, Vintage Fever.
Any advice for fellow collectors?
Arrange pieces by colour and, for maximum impact, group collections together rather than spreading items throughout the house. This way they really stand out en masse.
Esther arranges her collections for maximum impact: Flora Holland vases, carved deer, sculptural white vases, a 1960s dinner service and Chinese ginger jars are grouped by colour.