Collectibles… Always Classic, Always New… The Return of Vintage China
EXCLUSIVE FOR THE RANDOLPH STREET MARKET BY NENA IVON, nenasnotes
A prime example of everything old looks new again!
If you want to be on trend at your dinner parties, no matter the number of guests, be sure to use your “old” dishes! It is no longer fashionable to reject your mother’s or grandmother’s so called “fussy” china place settings. During the pandemic when we were all cooking at home (and, for some unknown reason, baking bread!) we needed to have some sense of family, some sense of tradition as well as something to keep us busy when it came to sitting down to dinner. That meant, for many people, including Millennials and Gen Z, to rethink the china they grew up with and felt was old fashioned instead it now felt comforting. I’m using the word “china” but your pieces can be any material as long as they are vintage. It’s time to say yes to the offer of the grandparents goodies! Enjoy its timelessness and nostalgia…
Vintage plates, for decades were unwanted “granny’s” china, are back…this “trend” is all over Instagram and Pinterest. And I don’t see it as a passing fancy. With our desire to be sustainable what better than vintage in all its forms…a perfect way to “recycle”. There are so many books on the subject out there…I’ll let you do that research on your own. You might investigate some shelter magazines as well as your favorite blogs and Instagram accounts. Also look into the books from lifestyle experts such as Carolyne Roehm and, yes, Martha Stewart for ideas on the subject. Here is one I enjoy…
What if you aren’t lucky to have anything but solid white dishes and don’t have the option of family pieces (its already been given away!) and want the look..not to fret you can, of course, find many selections at our beloved Randolph Street Market. Whether a set or to add to your collection or perhaps start mixing patterns the options are endless. In any instance get it out, take pleasure from it and use it everyday, what are you waiting for…
I grew up in a Mid-Century Modern house with Paul McCobb furniture and Russell Wright “American Modern” dinner ware in Granite Grey, See below.
I must admit our meals always looked amazing on these neutral dishes (both my parents were excellent cooks and loved to entertain, and I started cooking at a very young age and I love to cook and entertain!). I didn’t/don’t have a Mid-Century Modern soul and longed for more traditional pieces. My parents had both grown up with fine china and wanted something more “up to date” in the early 1940’s. When I started getting my own things I turned to the classic pieces. The opening photo is my original china Schumann’s “Empress Dresden”, I have several other patterns as well…my dream would be to own Royal Copenhagen “Flora Danica”!
Enough about my choices let’s talk about the history of porcelain and look at some examples for setting your table.
Here is interesting information from Collector’s Weekly, “there are three main types of porcelain, all of which are commonly called “china:”
Bone china – Bone china originated in England around 1750. There, factories like Spode and Royal Worcester, used bone china to make tea sets, vases, dinnerware, and other items. As the name implies, bone china involves the addition of bone ash to a mixture of finely ground stone and clay. The process results in pieces that are incredibly thin and translucent.
Hard-paste porcelain – Hard-paste porcelain was the original type produced in China, and it is a major fixture in antique Chinese art. This type of china originally included a clay called kaolin, as well as ground alabaster. Today, it often includes quartz. The first European factory to produce hard-paste porcelain was Meissen, a German company that began production in 1710.
Soft-paste porcelain – European potteries came up with a recipe for porcelain that did not involve kaolin clay from China. Instead, this softer type of china involved local clays, most notably clay from the Limoges region of France and used in Limoges.
It was in the 18th century that the West finally mastered the art of making porcelain it was first produced by Joseph Spode in 1796.
An early example of Spode.
“Wedgwood was founded in 1759 by Josiah Wedgwood, who is now remembered as the “Father of English Potters”. He was the youngest of 12 children born in Burslem, Staffordshire, in the heart of the English potteries and serviced his apprenticeship as a potter before setting up his own business.”
“The 19th century saw the introduction of the first coloured earthenware and the manufacture of bone china. Wedgwood provided a bone china dinner service ordered by US President Theodore Roosevelt for the White House.” From an article in The Guardian.
Top photo an early Wedgwood plate and below it a modern pattern.
Examples of Limoges china
When collecting here are a few names to keep in mind…Wedgewood, Meissen, Spode, Haviland, Royal Copenhagen, Royal Crown Derby, Limoges, Herend, and so many more.
One of many Royal Crown Derby china patterns.
Some table settings to consider…have fun with your vintage pieces…mix…match…play with color…experiment with pattern….incorporate themes…most of all enjoy your treasures! As always talk with the extremely knowledgeable RSM vendors, they love to share information with you.
Actually Majolica but I like the contrast in patterns.
Subtle but stunning.
Too busy, perhaps, but I love it!
Interesting color combination…but it definitely works.
Blue and white on a white charger…a modern look you can easily incorporate with your vintage pieces.
Combining transferware colors….love this!
Vintage made modern on a rattan mat.
I bet many of you have these looks from your family, they are charming and you can combine with your modern set of white place settings or other solid colored pieces. I often combine my patterned pieces with my collection of Jadeite…I’ll do a post soon on Jadeite and Depression Glass.
An example of pattern and solid.
One of the ways I like to set a table is by using different plates for each guest, keeping the same tonality. Here the ever popular blue and white, mostly transferware pieces in distinct patterns.
Mixing vintage pieces on a glass charger. Again note the importance, when mixing patterns, to keep in the same color palette.
Important, in my mind’s eye, to coordinate the colors when using more than one pattern.
A VERY formal setting….elegant, timeless and stunning….perhaps for your New Years Eve celebration.
I love this photo….taken with my iPhone at a friends home many years ago…the wall art is the couples assortment of their collection of plate settings for easy identification.
I leave you with the fabulous Hugh Jackman singing “Everything Old Is New Again” by the equally fabulous, Peter Allen and Carole Bayer Sager, from the original soundtrack of the Broadway production, The Boy From Oz, way too much fun!
I hope I have convinced you that everything old is new again! Enjoy the exploration.
All photos found on Pinterest photo credits unknown.
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