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Victorian? Edwardian? by George!

It's the hight of summer and as I live in a country that is clouded in greyness and dark mornings half the year, this is the month that we all come to life. I wake up early in the morning, excited about what new flowers I will discover in my garden. Come rain or shine, the summer is a special time that gives us extra energy - I can sleep when it's all over and greyness will descend upon us again!

So how about a dinner party with fantastically floral plates? This beautiful set of ten plates and one serving dish (it is what we call a "part-dessert service" was made by Royal Crown Derby in 1916. Each item bears a year mark and also a retail mark for the retailer it was made for, a place called Osler in Oxford Street, London.

Now what is interesting is the style. At first sight, I thought: Victorian. Why? It's the turquoise blue rims, the beautiful little flower festoons and the natural shell-like shapes; all features that were favourites of Queen Victoria, who greatly influenced British design with her personal taste. And this leads us to explain something about British Antiques: in Britain, styles are often named after the kings and queens of their particular era.

We have the Georgians in the 18th and early 19th Century, which includes the Regency in the time that King George III was mentally ill and his son George was the Prince Regent (call him the Acting CEO). After this came the very long reign of Victoria. After Victoria came Edward VII, but only for a short number of years, and after this came George V, father of Queen Elizabeth who only passed away a year ago.

The Victorian era was marked greatly by the Queen's taste; in porcelain design you can see lots of this turquoise colour, and flower festoons. The following Edwardian era was marked by great wealth and opulence; it was the time before the First World War would change everything forever, and ulitmately cause the mighty Empire to crumble. Although this era was named after the King, he did not involve himself in design like Victoria did - it was more the Victorian style on steroids, when more was more, and design became ever more abundant.

So are these plates Edwardian then? By George, they are not! They were made in 1916, which makes them... well, what? There is no name for this era, which is understandable, and it is generally lumped in with the Edwardian era. It was a strange time. Can you imagine being the new King George V coming to the throne in this opulent "Edwardian" era in 1910, and then going straight into the terrible Great War, losing so many of your young men and fighting such a cruel war? It must have been a very dark time.

So the first years of this era was stylistically lumped in with the Edwardian era. Downton Abbey! And then it slowly petered out as the war grew grimmer and the country more sombre and in need of money. The porcelain factories did not produce as much in those days. They were mostly operated by women, who had a wonderful opportunity to get out of the home and into the workplace while the men were in the war (this also changed things forever, as women showed that they were not delicate beings). And there was no time or attention for new designs, so the factories used the same design elements to just keep creating the same styles. It wasn't until the 1920s, when Art Deco exploded, that a completely new style was created, taking us into the 20th Century and Modernity.

So here we have this wonderful set of plates in what we would call the Edwardian style, even though it was made a bit later. And fast forward to June 2024, what is better than a summer dinner or luncheon using a beautiful floral set of plates? This stunning set is available in my shop, together with many other sets of plates.

Where to find things

You can find all my dinner and dessert services here, and all my available stock can be found here. I still have some Henry Daniel plates too (I wrote about them last week), although some have now been snapped up, see below. If you always want to see the latest additions, follow me on Instagram... I post pictures and a story several times a week.

Happy weekend, and enjoy mid summer! 🌸🌼🌹


This week's treasures:​



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