Josiah Wedgwood’s famous Jasperware – unglazed stoneware, encircled by classical bas-relief motifs – is a familiar sight to us all. I think everyone has a grandmother or an aunt with a dish or small box on display and I can’t remember a large group antique store that didn’t have a piece in stock. I even find it floating around shrine sales in Japan and I am sure there are some die-hard Japanese collectors. Colors include blues, greens, purples, browns, yellows and black, with the light blue being the most common. What is unusual this summer is my sightings of a rare form – the cheese keeper – a plate with a large covered dome, similar to a cake stand with cover, but narrower and higher, traditionally used to keep one’s Stilton fresh. They are not often seen and tend to be quite expensive, as one might expect from their rarity.

Whether it is my own selective perception or simply supply and demand, I cannot turn around these days without stumbling across one. First, there was this dark green example with dancing maidens at the tag sale I visited earlier this summer…

…then there was this tall brown one with oak leaf and horse motif at Shore Antiques Center in Allenhurst…

…followed quite quickly by this blue neoclassic version up at The Antiques Center of Red Bank.

I can’t think of an interior featuring a cheese keeper, but I think one would make a dramatic decorative statement. I did check my inspiration files and found this photo of stacked Jasperware tins from Martha Stewart.

And I spy a cheese keeper (albeit not Jasperware) atop the china cabinet in this charming blue and white room.

For the record, I would happily take the Gustavian painted sideboard and the glass door china cabinet from these two photos. They would make the perfect finishing pieces for my dining room.

It’s quite a paradox. As cheese keepers are hard to find, they are expensive. Because they are expensive, they are not often purchased. But if not bought, are they no longer rare? Hmmm…

Image credits: 1-3. me, 4-5. Martha Stewart

Addendum: September 29, 2011

I know this is well after the writing of this post, but in the last two days I have some across three great examples and photos of these unusual items. The first is a photo from the August World Of Interiors. I didn’t see it this summer because the issues come here to Japan.

The next I came across catching up on reading back columns of Michael Penney’s blog at Canadian House & Home. He has a great post on on a shop called Cynthia Findlay Antiques in Toronto that makes me want to go there! She certainly has quite a bit of jasperware…

And the very next day I saw these on a great post about white marble in the kitchen (I vote a major yes!) that Joni did over at Cote de Texas.

Absolutely dying for this kitchen. I’d take it exactly as is for the beach house!!!