The dishes on the table I've set for you today are marked "Epiag." They feature a bird of paradise pattern and a stylized floral motif. The backstamp indicates that they were made in Czechoslovakia sometime between 1920 and 1945.
Epiag was an association of porcelain factories. It was formed in 1918 by the Austrian government, and named OEPIAG (Österreichische Porzellan Industrie AG - Austrian Porcelain Industry). In 1920, to reflect the creation of Czechoslovakia (prior to 1918, part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), the name was changed to EPIAG (Erste Böhemische Porzellan Industrie AG - First Bohemian Porcelain Industry).
If you're interested, you can read more about the subject at: http://www.collectorscircle.com/bohemian/porcelain/marks_table1.html
More trivia about Bohemian/Czech china:
The British and Americans prefer bone china, whereas Europeans prefer the hard paste porcelain that is made with quartz. England, Russia, and Japan make “bone” china. In Russia, bone china is called alabaster china. Bohemian and Czechoslovakian porcelain (china) is not bone china.
This type of china was originally marketed as a less expensive alternative to English porcelain. Some of it is beautiful, and I think the quality is generally high. I found this set at a local antique mall and another set (that I haven't shown you yet!) at an estate sale. Both were reasonably priced and included several nice serving pieces.
The view through the back of the chair ... just for fun:
I used vintage stemware by Rock Sharpe. The company's heyday was in the 1930s and '40s. They were a decorating company only and purchased blank glassware from numerous manufacturers. Various etchings and cuttings were done on the same basic stems. There are three different patterns on this table today, but all are stem/blank number 3005. I did a post about Rock Sharpe a few months ago. If you want to know more, click HERE.
I didn't use the bread/dessert plates at each place setting, but decided to stack them on the corner of the table so you could see them.
It's mid-afternoon on a cold, sunny day. Now I'm wishing I'd set the table in the solarium ... look past the kitchen, beyond the pass through window, at all that wonderful light!
Many china manufacturers have produced dishes decorated with birds and flowers. The bowl below is by Lenox.
I purchased this silverplated "silent butler" at an antique mall in Memphis last week. It was on sale for half price ... a bargain at only $5.
A closer view of one of the tall water glasses. I use these for wine, and the iced tea glasses for water. I realize their positions on the table should be be reversed, but I ignored that guideline. If you know the rules, you can break them, right? If you want to know what EmilyPost.com says about setting tables properly, you can view helpful diagrams HERE.
As the sun drops lower ...
Only two tapers on the table today (I was about to suggest saying that five times really fast ... but I tried it, and it's not particularly difficult to do). Usually, when I set tables in the dining room, I use lots of tall candles in tall candleholders but, this time, two seemed to be enough. I purchased this pair of single candleholders for only $5 at an estate sale ... and they're sterling!
I thought this was a nice shot ... of the table leg. I've read that Victorians skirted tables to the floor because "Victorian prudery sometimes went so far as to deem it improper to say "leg" in mixed company; instead, the preferred euphemism “limb” was used. Such ideas even pervaded seemingly unrelated aspects of daily life: for example fashion came to dictate that furniture such as tables be covered with embroidery and tablecloths so that table legs were hidden from view."
I did a quick search online and found this response:
The Victorians did not always cover table or chair legs. In the dining room, the opulence of carved or worked decoration of the table legs was a sign of wealth, and the legs were never covered - similarly the chairs. J&M Miller refer to the custom of covering tables in the drawing room with shawls: "A custom of draping tables with fringed fabrics meant that the lower middle classes could disguise ordinary pine tables." The illustrations in the various books are photographs of actual Victorian rooms or rooms which have been lovingly restored or preserved. Nearly all are examples of rooms in upper class homes. There is little covering of furniture legs in these examples. J&M Miller also refers to the paintings likely to be hung, saying that despite the prudish attitudes of the Victorians, nudes were acceptable, as long as the subject wore a blank or vacant expression.
Which is true? I don't know. Perhaps some of you know the answer.
I was pleased that this set of dishes included bowls for soup, salad ... or cereal. Well, for soup or salad ... somehow I doubt that I'll be serving guests corn flakes in these.
A closer view of the pattern:
And of the etched patterns on the glasses:
Looking down the table ...
The china pattern seemed to call for a degree of informality. With flowers on the plates and on the stemware, I decided to create a centerpiece using greenery and candles. I used inexpensive woven fiber placemats that add more texture than color. The napkins are well-used black restaurant napkins. Whenever I see restaurant napkins at thrift store, I buy them. Once I got a huge bagful for only $2. It held dozens and dozens of napkins. Most were in perfect condition, and the few that were frayed or faded make great rags for cleaning/dusting. They launder beautifully and the darker colors are perfect for dinners (with marinara sauce, red wine, etc.) that would ruin white damask napkins.
I used silverplated punch cups to hold floating candles. The gold washed interior of the cups creates a nice glow when the candles are lit.
To give the centerpiece height, I used racemes of a Mahonia (evergreen shrub related to the barberry, common name "Oregon Grape). The leaves are similar to holly (and just as prickly!).
I had planned to use just the magnolia (grandiflora) leaves, but noticed the "fruit" of American sweetgum trees littering the sidewalk as I returned to the house. I scattered the gumballs here and there to add texture and earthy color. Small, round glass ornaments could be used during the holidays to give a centerpiece such as this one a really festive look. I used a silverplated casserole dish holder and a small silverplated ice bucket to add a bit of shine and to contain parts of the arrangement. The punch cups fit nicely in the four corners.
Another view of the dishes and stemware ...
I had quite a few magnolia leaves left over, so I made a simple arrangement of them in this crystal compote. The candleholders flanking it are vintage. The pattern is "Canterbury," and they were made by the Duncan & Miller glass company. You can read about Duncan & Miller HERE.
I purposely included leaves with imperfections. I think it adds interest and emphasizes their "naturalness."
Time to light the candles!
I always enjoy using this flatware. It was my mother's pattern, "Remembrance" by 1847 Rogers Bros. It was introduced in 1948 to celebrate the company's 100th anniversary ... a year late, because WWII had halted production while silver and other metals were needed for the war effort.
Everything takes on a warm, creamy glow by candlelight (including guests!).
No silver candleabra on the bombay chest this evening ....
An overview of the room lit by candles and the incandescent bulbs of the chandelier ...
The next time Susan of Between Naps on the Porch does a bloopers post, perhaps I'll tell her how I almost set the centerpiece on fire ... it's easy to forget how much heat is produced by a single candle flame. For the record, mahonia smoke is not a pleasant aroma!
See the charred areas above the flames? I shifted them to the side, and they stopped smoldering. But this centerpiece concept definitely needs re-thinking!
In case you were wondering where the candleholders went ... I stashed them on the staircase. I lit them for fun and took a photo for you ...
Time to blow out the candles ... and say goodnight! Sweet dreams ...
This table setting was created for Tablescape Thursday with our delightful hostess, Susan of Between Naps on the Porch! I hope you'll stop by and see Susan's festive table, leave a comment for her, and spend some time visiting all her talented tablescaping participants.