A garden of flowers

[click the < arrows > to slide!] I have a special weakness for beautiful sets of plates... Not long ago I had a beautiful dessert service made by Ridgway with stunning botanical paintings, and it was sold within hours. So I felt very lucky to come across the stunning Coalport service with similarly amazing flowers - and again it was sold within hours! But because it is so beautiful, I will still show you its beauty. I am saying dessert service - but actually I should say "part service". A full 19th Century dessert service has 12 or 18 plates, three or five comports of which one is on a high foot (a "tazza"), several serving dishes and two lidded sauce tureens on stands... so this set of one

Raised, chased, tooled

[click the < arrows > to slide!] I am sometimes asked: what is the difference between "tooled" gilt and "raised" gilt? And what about "chased" gilt? The simple answer is: they are all the same. Perhaps a professional gilder will disagree, but then I'd love to hear in detail what the difference is, as I have not been able to find out myself! Today we have a stunning piece of art: a vase in the Persian Revival style with a tooled/chased/raised gilt image of a very English spoonbill stork standing in the reeds, looking out for a juicy frog to catch. The vase itself was made to the highest specifications, and the decoration is stunning: you can see every feather of the stork, every little sprig

Autumnal flowers

[click the < arrows > to slide!] It is autumn here, and all colours are changing fast... on my desk is a vase with beautiful chrysanthemums and the last of the hydrangeas in my garden. Today I am showing a dessert service by Minton, decorated with superb chrysanthemums and raised gilt. This service was made in 1894 to the highest specifications. The plates are simple and made of very white, beautifully smooth bone china. But the decoration! The chrysanthemums were painted by Anton Connelly, one of Minton's very good artists. Connelly came from Ireland for an apprenticeship, and then he kept working at Minton for many years. He was one of the artists who were famous enough to be allowed by t

An Aesthetic Rebellion

[click the < arrows > to slide!] Today is the first Saturday of October, and where I live it is getting cold now. Mornings are dark, and we are all cozying up in the evening to hide from the wind and the rain. It is the beginning of a season of cozy dinners, and I will bring out a dinner or dessert service each Saturday in the coming period. I've also heard some sighs at the price of some of these... well yes, I have quite a few in my collection that I personally would not be able to afford! However, to suit every budget, I will also be mixing in some less pricey items. Today a beautiful Wedgwood dessert service made between 1878 and 1891 in the Aesthetic Movement style. This style was a reb

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