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The Traditions Series pattern by Spode China comprises a variety of traditional scenes, each in an attractive blue and white color motif. The collection includes such designs as Milkmaid, Castle, Greek, and our featured design this week, Caramanian (first produced in 1809), among others. The scene on this plate is based on artwork by Italian-German artist Luigi Mayer titled, “Sarcophagi and Sepulchres at the Head of the Harbor at Cacamo.” (“Caramania” or “Karamania” was the Italian name for a province in southern Turkey; Cacamo was the name for a coastal city in this province.) The opening of Josiah Spode’s porcelain factory in the latter part of the seventeenth century coincided with a number of advancements in art and science. The well-to-do industrialists of the time (like Josiah Spode and his family) pursued a variety of fashionable hobbies, including an interest in art. Starting in the early eighteenth century, traditional oriental designs in English pottery were joined by elaborate designs like the one seen in the Spode Caramanian pattern. This was made possible, in part, due to advancements in pottery manufacturing. Spode’s formula for bone china and the process for ‘under glaze’ printing for earthenware (both breakthroughs in tableware history) made Spode china beautifully suited to these more intricate, artistic designs. Today, Spode patterns are used on the tables of royalty, dignitaries, and ordinary families alike. Because of their technical innovations and a continued commitment to excellence in design, the Spode name has become synonymous with quality tableware worldwide.

Dynasty by Wedgwood Crystal is a heavy lead crystal pattern that features a wide flared bowl with a decorative band and elongated vertical "panels." The decorative band is cut above the panels and is accentuated with a horizontal oval motif. A long, multisided stem rests on an elegant round foot. In 1759, Josiah Wedgwood established a pottery at the “Ivy House Works” in Burslem, England. During the company’s first ten years, Wedgwood made many advances in the refining of porcelain. One of Wedgwood’s most important creations was creamware, true fine china that was easy to produce, relatively inexpensive to make, easily decorated, and desired by royalty and commoner alike. In 1765, King George III’s wife, Queen Charlotte, solicited Wedgwood to be “Potter to His and Her Majesty.” As a result of his new title, Wedgwood changed the official name of his creamware to “Queen’s Ware.” Jasperware, a non-glazed porcelain featuring classical figures in bas-relief, was another important invention of Wedgwood’s, and has become virtually synonymous with the Wedgwood name.

Murray Hill by Lenox Flatware is an 18/10 stainless steel pattern featuring a glossy finish and a bold geometric motif that perfectly complements the Traditions Series china and Dynasty crystal. Lenox China is a great American success story. It was founded in 1889 by Walter Scott Lenox as "The Lenox Ceramic Pottery Company." Born in 1859, Lenox was named for the nineteenth-century Scottish writer, Sir Walter Scott. Lenox grew up in Trenton, NJ, the "Staffordshire of America" of its time. With excellent transportation and good sources of fuel and clay, the state capital of New Jersey became the nation's leading center for ceramics production. Lenox first organized his company as an art studio, producing one-of-a-kind pieces for a select market. By 1897, examples of the company's work were displayed at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and by 1906 the company was producing complete sets of dinnerware. In 1918, President and Mrs. Woodrow Wilson commissioned a set of Lenox for the White House, making it the first American china to grace a U.S. president’s table. Lenox added hand-blown lead crystal to its product lines in 1966, and, with the addition of Lenox silver flatware in 1991, Lenox became the first American company to offer the complete tabletop. By the end of the twentieth century, about half the china on dinner tables in the United States was made by Lenox.

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