The Dinner Table and its Accessories - Part II

by Mark A. Nye
Issue No. 202 - February 1990

Author's Note: This concludes the reprint of an article originally appearing in the New York Herald and later in the Crockery and Glass Journal holiday issue of 1903. While rather general in its descriptions, the article does give the reader an insight into early 20th century china and glass styles.

In regard to china, never before could one find so much that was pleasing at moderate prices.

Band and conventional borders in gold tracery seem to be the patterns best liked, while flowers are used rather sparingly, though when they do appear, the great splashes of coloring make attractive contrast to the plainer styles.

For a dinner or luncheon service, one could not select a more satisfactory design than that which has a border in green or red, the centre of each dish tinted rich old ivory and the color put on in wide band, or a narrow one, edged on either side with delicate gold lace work.

A Coalport set in blue and gold, having upon an ivory ground a shadowy arrangement of full-blown roses and the customary gold stippled edge, it one of the effective new designs in china.

Those who want a variation from bands and borders will find it in Mintons, which keep to the crimson and gold trimmings upon an ivory ground. The red appears in a solid border and throws into relief a scattered design of slender petalled daisies, done in raised gold. In this ware there is little of the pure white glaze visible, almost every dish displaying a center or border background in a rich, creamy tint.

For a breakfast and luncheon set, a royal Copenhagen in the blue and cream, the shade of blue somewhat lighter than that characteristic of the Doulton, is desirable, as is one in Wedgwood, with more blue in it, suggesting, in everything but the design, old delft.

For an entire set of china, one is usually particular to select some pattern that is simple and dainty, and that will harmonize with fancy course dishes offering a pleasing variation.

Some new plates, rich with gold and lavishly covered with roses, differ in shape from the ordinary ones, the centre appearing to be quite small, with a border at least three inches wide, solidly covered with gold, put on in a slightly raised design in dots and tiny squares, over which are painted La France roses. The same style comes in red, and the richly colored jacks look equally beautiful laid against the rim of solid gold.

There is some handsome new china, with vivid decorations in red and yellow poppies and yellow roses, all massed together, which seldom is sold in sets, but in odd dozens for after dinner coffee or for a single course at dinner or luncheon.

For fashionable dinner sets there is a revival of monograms. Doulton china, with dark blue and raised gold decorations, with gold monograms, is popular, and there is much white and gold china seen with the monogram in gold. Sometimes it is done in a heavy plain design, with large letters at the side of the centre, and again in an intricate gold tracery that is exceedingly handsome. This work is done to order, not with gild, bullion up. The decorations are fired, and are, of course, durable.

Royal Dresden figures retain a certain vogue, but the English and French wares have gone ahead of this quaint style of china, although many of the wealthiest families have collections of Dresden pieces to which they constantly are making additions. After dinner coffees, odd plates and single pieces add greatly to the appearance of a well ordered table, if these small, bright-hued flowers, on a pure white ground, go with the rest of the china. In the pierced designs, the Dresden is especially beautiful.

Occasionally one sees some of the other patterns in china having pierced rim, and, in such cases, the decoration is confined to the centre of the plate or dish, while the fancy border is a dainty bit of burnished gold. These are nice to use for sherbet or punch cups.

A pretty little entree dish comes, this season, in rather a new shape, especially useful for terrapin. It is larger around and much lower that the ones previously used and has two handles like a bouillon cup.

Old blue delft and other famous wares, which every woman longs to possess, are to precious to hazard for table use, but they make the most effective decoration that a dining-room can have when displayed on shelves or in cabinets.

In cut-glass there are some beautiful things. Rock crystal, which is highly approved of fashion, comes carved in artistic designs by a peculiar convex method of cutting that produces a wonderful effect. A dozen finger bowls of this glass may cost $100.

Holding its own in desirability, and equally expensive, is the gold decorated baccarat glass. With this decoration comes a new champagne glass, with an extremely tall slender stem and a branching bowl, like the shape used several years ago. The difference lies in the height of the stem. Hock glasses come in the same shape, only not so tall. There is also a new goblet that is a Colonial revival.

Someone has called this a "reminiscent period." America is too young for a renaissance, but there is no doubt that she is living largely in memories just at present, and Colonial reproductions in glass and china are much in vogue.

Among the importations of beautiful glass is a variety that is made in Carlsbad. The glass is carved instead of being cut, and is shaded in rather an opaque way from white at the base to a moss green or red purple at the top. One artistic design for a tall vase is in the shape of a fleur-de-lis, the shape of the flower forming the top of the vase, the whole being in the natural color of the flower. This glass also is expensive.

A pretty melon-shaped dish in rock crystal, for jam, has a gold top, with a spoon fitting in, that is shaped like a piece of melon. Then, there is a new marmalade pot, which will prove useful. It is made of plain cut-glass, the size of a jar of marmalade and has a silver cover and handle. When the handle is turned down, the jar opens, and putting up the handle closes the jar.

Cocktail sets in cut-glass are also handsome. They come in nine pieces: decanter, cruet for bitters, shaker, six cocktail glasses and a salver of glass.-- New York Herald