Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

A cordial treasure

Last week, while Terry was staying with us, I took her shopping in the nearby village (or town, if you're a local) of Clare; one of those picture book villages with houses with doors opening right onto the market square and lots of little shops. We popped into Clare Antiques Warehouse for a mooch around – it's one of those places where dozens of dealers have their pitch, it's a treasure trove of stuff.

Of course we both ended up buying things! Terry pointed out to me a pretty bright teal-blue vase, she must have known that it would fit perfectly into my house – it's just the right size for arranging a few flowers from the garden.

I browsed along a shelf of books and one caught my eye, it looked familiar . . . and then I remembered why. A couple of months ago, when I was doing some research about a painting on which I placed a (too low) auction bid, I'd read about the artist Roger Nicholson on the blog Quad Royal, and this was the very book pictured in that post – the cover and inside pages were illustrated by Roger Nicholson in 1954.

The National Federation of Women's Institutes Home Made Wines, Syrups and Cordials; the edition I found is the 15th reprint dated 1962 – which proves it's not only a very prettily decorated book, but a popular and useful one too.

The chapter headings are delightful and obviously the work of an artist with a light and easy touch.

The text is full of the sort of snippets of advice and information that give a whole new dimension to gardening and country walks.

I think some of the recipes will soon become old favourites!

This is a little culinary gem, not rare or in mint condition (some pages have extra notes and recipes hand-written by a previous owner) – it was just waiting for me to give it a new home.



  1. I would have bought that book like a shot ! 8-)

  2. Delightful illustrations - I'd have succumbed too! I remember whiling away several hours in the antiques emporium in Clare, so much to see!

  3. Hah! So that's what you were hiding from me. The vase looks so lovely. But I don't think I could have carried it home... the bucket was plenty :)

  4. Clare is one of my favourite places and especially that very Antiques Emporium. I've spent hours there. That little book looks wonderful.

    'Tillie lays an egg' has been read at least five times already. It is the new favourite. Thankyou SO much!

  5. I like the delicate quality of the illustrations, and I love seeing little notes in pre-loved books. What a find!

  6. Heavens! I bought that when we were first married (1959)here in Oz I must look for it in amongst my cook books, I was always fascinated in home made wine but never made anything more alcoholic than the ginger beer that sometimes exploded.

  7. What a find! It's gone to a good home.

    (Strangely, for a post about an antique shop, the word verification is Miller!)

  8. What a fabulous looking book. The illustrations are delightful.

  9. Just found your blog - love that turquoise vase! I wonder whether it's Beswick or even Fulham Pottery? I love Fulham Pottery vases but I hardly ever see any around these days. A few years ago I saw one which was identical to one I have and thought, oh, that would look good as a pair on the mantelpiece with matching flowers, and even matching greenery at Christmas but husband sort of dragged me away saying, "But you've got one of those ..." I should've been stronge minded and insisted (as I usually do!)
    Margaret P


I love reading all the comments (except for spam and advertising which I will delete) and I'll reply here in the comments under each blog post, it may take a few days if I'm busy.
You don't need to have a blog to leave a comment, you can select the name/URL option and fill in just your name instead of a blog link.