I have to admit that I haven't thought very much about laying a pretty table over the summer. But the minute we stop running around, and especially when the weather changes, my heart turns toward homey things and the comforts of gathering with friends and family around a hearty dinner table.
I especially like simple and informal dining with the emphasis on a good visit rather than a lot of preparation and clean up after. We have all been so busy this summer! So one pot dishes or a savory soup with a nice crusty bread to go with it make up my favorite kinds of meals.
I have reached for the dressier dishes this time rather than our standard plain but pleasing sturdy ironstone soup bowls. I just wanted to get out my transferware again for the first time this season.
I'm using some of my heavier textured linens that have been set aside for awhile. A nice big drop cloth cotton tablecloth underneath, a nubby thick runner down the middle, and my favorite striped napkins that are so large and absorbent and practical (from a few past seasons ago from Potterybarn). They don't even need to be ironed.
The mark on these dishes says "Fenton Faience from Surrey, England." I haven't had them for all that long, and just about had a fit when I found a set of them a few years ago.
I also wanted to show you the beautiful hand thrown beakers we got from Wolff Pottery in Bantam, CT over the summer. (I have been binge watching Poldark from PBS on Netflix lately, and the pub scenes are full of these handsome tumblers in many different styles. The third season starts up in October.) The pretty cards are from a museum shop. They make nice favors or place cards to dress up an otherwise fairly plain table.
The ironstone tureen was the first of only a few that I have collected.
I also keep a small collection of brown transferware biscuit jars. They make good sugar bowls or flower vases. Sometimes just for decoration on the table.
The matching teacups are bigger than usual and also nice for a big cup of coffee.
The summer runaround isn't quite finished for us, but I'm already starting to feel more settled!
The lovely postcard illustrations are from Model Book of Calligraphy. Inscribed by Georg Bocksay, 1561-62. Illuminated by Joris Hoefnagel for Emperor Rudolf II, c. 1590-96. (Getty Museum.)
When I pulled out my bowls, I was surprised to find an odd match in the mix. But that's how nicely the different patterns can blend together!
The large plates underneath are vintage American Traditional Ironstone by Cannonsburg Pottery Co. I think that I love embossed white china more than anything.
Are you gearing up for the changes ahead too?
Welcome back to dish season!
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