Spode Blue Italian (Older, Scallop) uses elements from English landscape painting – architectural ruins, a castle, herdsmen with cattle, romping dogs, a female figure reading under a tree – in applied art for the table. Spode founder Josiah Spode opened the doors of his porcelain factory in 1780. Under his guidance, the factory introduced two important breakthroughs in the development of English ceramics. Using bone ash, Spode was the first English china maker to achieve higher firing temperatures, resulting in beautifully detailed, longer-lasting china. The company’s second important achievement was perfecting "underglaze" decorating. Intricate designs could be applied to china that would last for years without chipping, scratching, or fading. Bone ash composition and underglaze decorating were inexpensive – making fine china available to the English middle class at prices they could afford.
The Wedgwood Crystal Monarch goblet features two pairs of concentric rings that border delicate etched designs of scroll work and shells on the bowl, with panels and cuts that refract light beautifully. The multi-sided stem stands atop a round foot with starburst cuts. For the Wedgwood company, 2009 is a very special year – the firm is celebrating its 250th anniversary. In 1759, Josiah Wedgwood established himself as an independent potter at the "Ivy House Works" in Burslem, England. During his career, Wedgwood made many refinements in the production processes for porcelain dinnerware. The Monarch crystal pattern features Wedgwood’s personal passion, conchology, the study of mollusk shells. Wedgwood often was seen on the beaches of England, collecting shells. He used their organic shapes in many of the original designs and patterns for his tableware and figurines.
Gorham Silver Camellia is a refined, understated sterling silver pattern, with camellia blossoms subtly worked into the scroll edge design. Camellia has been a remarkable pattern for Gorham – introduced in 1941, the year the U.S. entered World War II, Camellia remained in production until 2007! Gorham Silver was founded by Jabez Gorham in 1831 in a shop on Steeple Street in Providence, RI. Born into a family of eight, Gorham had been apprenticed to 18th century New England silver patriarch Nehemiah Dodge at an early age. After founding his own company, Gorham quickly established a reputation for hand-crafted silver of the highest quality. Gorham Silver produced flatware for the White House of Mary Todd Lincoln, a silver vase for Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, and Gorham Chantilly was used aboard Air Force One during the presidency of George H. W. Bush.
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