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Nature-Inspired British and American Designs


Produced from 1987 to 2006, the Archive Collection-Cranberry pattern by Spode China comprises a variety of popular, traditional china designs, each in an attractive cranberry color motif. The collection includes such patterns as Willow, Girl at the Well, Jasmine, and our featured design this week, Botanical (first produced in 1820) among others. 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 botanical studies. Starting in the early eighteenth century, traditional oriental designs in English pottery were joined and eventually superseded by floral designs like the one seen in the Spode Botanical pattern.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 elaborate floral 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.

Complementing the ornate Archive Collection-Cranberry design this week is the provincial elegance of the Mikasa Crystal  French Countryside pattern. This beautiful blown glass design features a flared, multi-optic bowl that rests atop a weighty stem and a round base. The French country or French provincial style is defined by simplicity, symmetry, broad features, and weightiness, all of which accurately describe the French Countryside pattern. One can very easily picture a collection of these pieces being displayed in the tableware cabinet of a French farmhouse! In the early 1930s, Mikasa was established as an international trading company based in Secaucus, New Jersey. The company, while wholly American, looked to Japan for inspiration. Named in honor of Prince Mikasa, the youngest brother of Emperor Hirohito, Mikasa soon established itself as one of the most recognized Japanese brand names in the West. Importing merchandise produced by a network of over 150 manufacturers worldwide, the company itself never attempted to make any of the dinnerware it sold. Rather, the Mikasa branded items were imported from Japan, Ireland, England, France, and Germany. Business exploded in the 1950s, and tableware became the staple business for Mikasa. Customer requests were pouring in from all parts of the country, and department stores including Bloomingdale's and Macy's could not keep enough stock to meet demand. Consumers found Mikasa ceramics to be very strong, versatile, and stylish. By the beginning of the 1960s, Mikasa had established a reputation as "the pioneer of American casual." Today, Mikasa continues to leverage the momentum it has built over the decades since its inception.

Spring Vista by Lenox Flatware is an 18/8 stainless steel pattern featuring a glossy finish, a sprightly floral motif, and a whimsical, asymmetrical design that perfectly complements the Archive Collection-Cranberry china and French Countryside 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.

To browse and order in a great selection of china, crystal, and stainless pieces, start at these links!


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