LIFELONG COL­LEC­TION

Home­owner Esther has taken 20 years to build her super col­lec­tion of rare West Ger­man white porce­lain.

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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.

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