Food & Entertaining

Willow, Bone and The Spodes

Blue Willow by Spode

Blue Willow by Spode

A beautiful, young girl from a rich Chinese family falls in love with a handsome young man.  However he is not from her social class, and so her father forbids their marriage.  Faced with the choice of life without each other, they run away and tragically drown.  After death they turn into love birds and fly into forever together.  Tragic romance- depicted in the design of the Blue Willow pattern.  Is it based on a Chinese legend?  Well, the answer is no.  The only elements that are Chinese in the pattern are the Willow trees and the border design.  The center of the design featuring the bridge, temple, and love birds are the creation of an English porcelain company, Caughley.  They also created a story to go with their beautiful design.  It’s an 18th century marketing campaign; called The Legend of the Willow Pattern.

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Blue and white: From China to the tables of Europe

Beautiful decorative dog figure by Herend Porcelain Photo Credit: Herend Porcelain herendusa.com

Beautiful decorative dog figure by Herend Porcelain
Photo Credit:
Herend Porcelain
herendusa.com

China, or porcelain, was invented by the Chinese sometime between 600 and 900 A.D..   Not just for eating off of, it is also used in decorating  and is collected.  It can extremely valuable.  Christie’s (the famous auction house) currently has a blue and white jar Chinese porcelain jar priced at $27,657,944.  It’s very old; form the Yuan Dynasty- mid 14th century.  New and smaller pieces are still valuable as well.  As in the case of the collectible dog above.  This little dog is made of fine porcelain and hand painted, by the famous Hungarian porcelain company Herend.  This little friend will set you back $480, which is a mid-range price for a Herend figurine.  Other small figurines can range up to above $1000.   While certainly not a rare Chinese jar; these little figurines are expensive by any standard.   Princess Diana collected Herend figurines.  A dinner set of Herend was given to William and Kate as their wedding present from Hungary.  There is even a pattern named Queen Victoria, which was named after her following her purchase of china from the company.  For those of us that aren’t royalty fine China becomes something that adds a sense of finery to life.  It’s handed down from generation to generation.  I myself have my great-grandmother’s dinner set of Spode’s Buttercup.  For me it brings a sense of tradition and history to our family gatherings and holiday meals.

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The Great Wall of Blue China

I love decorating with blue and white china.  I don’t limit myself to just the china either; I love blue and white fabrics- especially oriental toiles- as well.  Blue and white is classic, aesthetically pleasing and incorporates well into practically any color scheme.

My first introduction to blue and white china came from my grandmother.  Mama (pronounced ma-maaw) gave me a little Chinese tea pot made in the shape of a turtle.  She picked it up in an antique shop, telling me that it made her think of me.  It is patterned in a lovely blue and white design, on the bottom is a made in china sticker.  I don’t believe it’s very valuable.  It probably dates to the 1950’s.  That doesn’t matter though, it inspired my love for blue and white and is a daily reminder of my grandmother.

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