Friday, June 12, 2009

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

A friend and fellow blogger had tipped me earlier this week that today might be a day to write about plate. I had almost forgotten all about this theme until now on Friday evening.

My apartment is far too small to hold as many plates as it does. I love old china, and also admire newer plates with patterns that are vintage inspired.

The above plate is from a set of celadon tinted ironstone I bought in the mid 1970's, thinking that I might as well get something to dress up my tabletop. Floral patterns please me, perhaps just like floral scents also suit my taste. I have never chipped a plate or cup from this pattern.

The above blurry close up of a central motif is part of a set of bone china I bought decades later. It is fun to bring this out every now and then when I have friends for tea. I no longer have room to really serve a dinner party, even it I do have plenty of plates!

This even more out of focus floral design is in the center of plates that I was given. They once belonged to a relative from another era. I am afraid to use these plates, because I would not want to damage them. I don't feel quite so protective of china that I have bought for myself.

Lighting not at all good in the above photo, but I am sure that any of you will recognize the pattern. I was astonished recently to learn that the pattern is no longer made in the traditional way. I regularly use plates, cups and saucers in this pattern. Some are chipped and some are mended. I don't mind a bit.
At some point years ago, I went through a white china phase, and this plate is one of the last remaining pieces of porcelain. The cups from this pattern have beautiful graceful shape, and I have drawn and painted them several times.

Ah, here is another old favorite. These plates, cups and saucers had a rough time of it on my table and there are not many left. I also love the pheasant motif and have painted it many times.
Once I thought that I would eventually have a house, with a proper kitchen and dining room and that china would have a purpose. I no longer have those sorts of plans. Even so, I don't regret having spent time selecting these plates, not to mention all the other antique cups and saucers that find various places of honor in my close quarters.
After all, none of this is being made any more. I never thought my daily china would become so rare during my own lifetime.
Sweet dreams to all.


  1. Something about the first plate really appeals to me - they are all lovely, but that one just has a sweetness to it....

  2. There's something about porcelain - about a beautiful tea set or dinner service - something about the enormous sense of luxury that a small cup or a dinner plate gives....quite out of proportion to the number of pieces or the size of an individual piece. I love china because I can have a little bit of my favorite colours, or a taste of a design school that doesn't appeal enough for every day but that still give pleasure in small doses.
    I'd say that my favorite is that lovely purpley-blue pheasant pattern.

  3. Lovely china. I have some bone china tea cups that were my mother's. I can't bring myself to use them because I'm so afraid I'm chip or even break one.

  4. Good morning fellow plate lover. Seems we have similar taste, floral plates especially and we share a lack of space too.

  5. Yes, Pondside has expressed the pleasure and satisfaction of porcelain/china so well. You have a beautiful collection - I am unable to chose between the first image and the final Pheasant pattern. Enjoy them all! Thank you for sharing your treasures with us. With warm wishes, Vxx

  6. Love china too, nothing nicer than real linens and proper china for tea in the garden. Makes it a real occasion.

    My current favourite pattern is Blue Aves, by Royal Crown Derby, but it varies, and I like many of the old floral patterns too.

  7. Oooh, I love your plates! especially the first one, but the last one sends out a nice warm aura that I like too!

    It is so neat seeing all these beautiful plates, it is like having a new set in my home! lol

  8. Oh Frances, What pretty china keeps company with you.

    I love the first plate- such a dainty pattern but the colors are wonderful. What is the name of the pattern?

    I think that it's important to use the china that holds such memories for you. For someone else, it's a pretty plate or cup but to you, it's remembering the days gone by and the people who are no longer here.

    I save up the pieces of any broken china that I have- surprisingly, it's not as fragile as it looks. I pass them along to an artist friend who uses the fragments in her work. What I see as broken plates and bowls- she sees potential.

  9. I have the pheasants jug.
    Such a soothing quiet, heavenly blue.
    A lovely thoughtful post.
    For some reason china is something we treasure because it delights us.

  10. Hello Frances,
    I hope you found some time to draw or paint. It is nice that you found time to admire and handle your beautiful china collection. Lovely that they have been your painting subjects.
    I just bought a cake knife, never used and still in its original box, with a message of love for a pearl anniversary. Saved,never used, and then ended up at the charity shop.
    That is why I always use my pretty china. I enjoy its beauty as I put food on it, wash it and by displaying it. I will use the pretty cake knife with its pearl handle....and think of the lady who didn't.
    When we get to share that cup of tea, we'll have cake on a pretty china plates.
    Lovely blog.

  11. your nice post is making me wonder why i don't use the pretty plates i have but just keep using the old stuff from Dayton's year after year.

  12. Lovely. The glimpses of fine china have a "Tailor of Gloucester" appeal, I think you were really Meant to have that house and space. But who knows for sure what is yet to come?

    I'm thinking of your pretty china in New York city and raising a Harlequin teacup to you from further north and inland.

  13. I love your very interesting blog. I have recently found your site and was excited to see your life in New York. Today, you wrote about your china and how you have enjoyed using it over the years. I recognized the Wedgwood, Spode, Haviland, and other patterns you photographed. I am a great admirer of china and have collected several different sets over the years as you have. It is very sad to see so many of the renowned English china companies in desperate financial circumstances. Thank you for sharing your lovely plates and I look forward to visiting your blog.

  14. What a beautiful blue in the phesant china. As you know I too have a passion for China, and have far too much, but I get great joy out of using it all in the B&B, and it gives people such pleasure. I now keep any broken pieces, and plan to do a China Collage mixed in with the beautiful beach stones I collected in Corfu years ago. Have to figure how to do it for outdoors. Isn't it a great idea for a blog, where you can see it all in one go. Must have a bash.

  15. I have china which I hardly ever use, mainly because it is now too fragile...handpainted, inherited from my Grandma.
    You have some very pretty plates, isnt it lovely to take pleasure from one's collections?

  16. Oh lovely lovely china Frances. Something wonderful about the old pieces that new ones just don't have.

  17. Hello Frances

    I was most taken by your final picture - I am sure my mother had plates like these, so I expect my sister has them now. Sadly, the fashion for formal tableware seems to be on the wane, but I expect it will return, like all good fashions.


  18. Hi - love the vintage plates. Just popped over the tell you that MUG MONDAY is June 22nd.

  19. My grandmother's wedding china was given to me more than 35 years ago. I didn't particularly like it so it spent its life in the back of cupboard. I moved 3 times within that period and each time the china found a space in the back of yet another cupboard because I didn't know what else to do with it. When I moved to my present home 20 years ago, to my shame, I made the decision to dispose of Grannie's wedding china. I never did tell my Mother! I think perhaps by now I might have grown to like. That'll teach me - I was young what can I say?!

  20. I inherited bits of my granny's cups and saucers. Just drinking from them takes me back to the 1960s, with table clothes and ticking clocks, chocolate teacakes and egg sandwiches.

  21. That was a beautiful and elegaic post, Frances - conveying something of your mood perhaps? I wonder what's ahead for you? Whatever it is I hope you will continue to enjoy your collection of porcelain and sharing your thoughts with us.

  22. It was interesting to learn that you loved your plates so much that you never chipped or broke them!

    I share your love of floral patterns and I recognize a couple of your plates.

    Maybe you would like to join us for "Mug Monday" which will be June 22nd?

  23. Ah, the dillema of china collectors; never enough space! Yet still we pick it up and somehow squeeze it in!

    (Regarding your comment about Miss Read - yes, I started reading her when I was 11, and by the time I was 20 had read everything she'd written up till then. I never dreamed I'd one day live in the Cotwolds, the very area she lived in and wrote about; we are only 8 miles from Witney, where she based her fictional town).

  24. Lovely blog Frances, and love the china, - I'm a china person myself. Is the china in the second picture "Indian Tee Tree" pattern? I have a mix of china pieces and it is lovely to mix them up on the table when friends come around; there is something so cheerful about rose patterns. It speaks of a gentler age.

  25. I'm a blue and white girl myself but just love the floral celadon tinted ironstone.


  26. Love your plates. Each with a wonderful story. I love all of your selections -- I, too, have a love affair with china and have far too much -- And I, too, have plates with the peasant as well as a tea set by another manufacturer -- it's a great pattern!

  27. Hello again Frances, I don't have an email for you so I will clog up your comments box! Village schools in the UK DO still exist, you will be pleased to hear. They are a dwindling number, and face endless battles to stay alive as the councils want to bus the children out to bigger schools, but in places there are still village schools. We have a very good junior school for the two villages, larger and less picturesque than Miss Read's, but still offering a really excellent and local start in life. Miss Read said she stopped writing her books eventually because village life/the Cotswolds weren't the same as how she remembered them. But actually, I was chatting about this very thing to our Post Mistress) village life IS still as interesting, with odd characters, local colour and close knit communities, it's just that it has evolved and changed; it has had to, or it wouldn't have survived, and of course, the internet, far from being a modern intruder and demolisher of rural idylls, has actually been a Godsend to country dwellers. Yes, the real country, albeit changed, with all it's stories and oddities, is still out there. In fact Flora Thompson, who as you know, wrote Lark Rise to Candleford, is still very much alive, and gave a lecture to our village Women's Institute a couple of years ago. (I WISH I'd been there!)

  28. Hello Frances,
    I am a fellow china collector - I cannot resist the sight of blue and white. It seems to have the same effect on me that shoes or handbags or fabrics have on other people - I just can't help myself.

  29. Hello Frances, we collect Bridgewater, but I can't really say I am a lover of china. Probably put off the stuff by being dragged around museums in childhood and told that it was 'lovely.' How could one love something so cold and hard I thought?
    It's only now at an advanced age I am coming to appreciate it. You have some lovely pieces.

  30. I adore bone china, have a passion for them. What pretty ones you have shared with us Frances, I especially love the floral ones too.

    I have a set of plates made in France, they sit on my welsh dresser, and were a gift from my MIL.

    Thank you Frances for sharing those pretty pieces of china with us.