Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dinner Party, circa 1961!

It's time for Tablescape Thursday, hosted by the inimitable Susan of Between Naps on the Porch! Be certain to visit Susan and all her talented participating guests. The tables are set; let the fun begin!

I had already selected the china, crystal, and silver for this week's table. The one I set for you last week included items that might have been chosen by a bride of the 1930s. I decided to move forward a quarter century to the early 1960s. Then, in a comment on "1930s Dinner Party," Bonnie of Diamonds & Daisies suggested that I do a post inspired by a Mad Men cocktail party.

Mad Men, as I'm sure you all know, is the award-winning program on the AMC Network about advertising executives set in the early 1960s. "From the clothes and hairstyles to the incessant smoking and ludicrously dated social codes, Mad Men serves as a time capsule for the middle of the last century, and food and drinks play a particularly prominent role in recreating the period." There's an inordinate amount of boozing on Mad Men—it seems as if someone pours a cocktail in just about every scene.

I couldn't bring myself to include the smoking aspect, but the idea of a cocktail (or two) didn't offend me. Here's dinner, circa 1961:

We're back in the solarium this week. No tablecloth or placemats ... just clean modern lines.
The flatware is one of those "love it or hate it" mid-century patterns, "Leilani" by 1847 Rogers Brothers (1961). I happen to like it. I enjoy the way the tips of the handles curve inward toward the plate.

The crystal is "Linda" by Tiffin (1960-1973).

The china pattern is "Coronet" by Royal Doulton (1957-1979). The china and crystal were displayed together in a china cabinet at an estate sale. The first day of the sale, I purchased the glassware. It seemed a shame for it to be separated from the china (after almost 50 years together!), so I went back the second day and bought the dishes. The grand total was just under $80.
The white peacock painting from last week's post has been returned to the bedroom. The "usual" is back in this room (mostly watercolor paintings I did a few years back).

I needed a centerpiece FAST ... I was trying to get pictures taken before I lost the light. I ran in the supermarket on the way home from work and selected these roses from a group that had been reduced to $2.99. I didn't even re-cut the stems ...just put them in water and let the vase "arrange" them.

It's a vintage "carnation vase" perfect for any type of long-stemmed flowers.

Since we're thinking Mad Men, there must be cocktails! Here we have a vintage silverplated shaker and martini glasses in a classic shape, updated with etched chevron and swirl patterns. The glasses are presented on a silverplated gallery tray. All the items came from thrift stores or estate sales.

Dirty martinis are on the "approved" list of AMC's Mad Men cocktail guide
HERE. I substituted vodka for gin (I know ... heresy to purists, but vodka has pretty much supplanted the role of gin in recent decades). It's in a four-to-one ratio with dry vermouth. The "dirty" comes from olive brine, added to taste. I like three olives in mine.

As did (famously) James Bond in 1960s films, I prefer a martini "shaken, not stirred."

The view from the kitchen sink:
Late afternoon brings with it interesting patterns of light and shadow ...

At one point the sun poured in full-force ...

I like the phenomenon that happens when bright sunlight makes solid objects appear near-transparent.
I lacked one glass having eight three-piece place settings. I looked through the odds-and-ends in the crystal/silver closet and found this vintage Fostoria glass (the knife blade is pointing toward it). It has a similar height, shape, and clarity to the rest of the crystal. The original Fostoria label is still attached (and it cost only 99 cents at Goodwill!). It could be considered the special glass for a guest of honor (how's that for spin?).

Day's end approaches ... time to light the candles. I used tealights in faceted holders at the end place settings and, along each side, placed the candles in simple vintage tall sherbet (or champagne!) glasses. The candleholders are sterling ($5 for the pair on the last day of an estate sale).

The vintage decanter is lead crystal. Another estate sale bargain ...

Here, I experimented with turning on the overhead light. It adds warmth, doesn't it?
Same view, as darkness falls ....

I like the effect of the candles "up lighting" the roses. To further the "thirsty" Mad Men theme, I placed some vintage silverplated bar tools beside the vase.

Decanter, bar tools ....

And for those who perfer a stirred martini .... see lower left (I'm SO careful with that glass stirring stick!).

A vintage glass ice bucket monogrammed with an "S." Not my initial ... but does that really matter?

Illuminated only by candles and lights from the garden ...
For a quick polish (as I did when I set the table with the Leilani flatware), these Hagerty Silversmiths' Gloves work well. They don't take the place of an all-out polishing, but they do work as the package describes. They cost around $15 for a pair.

The Leilani silverware came in this mid-century flatware chest (labeled 1847 Rogers Bros.). I purchased a large set on eBay for a very reasonable price (under $50, including shipping). It was in "barely used, if at all" condition. The Leilani demitasse spoons were another eBay purchase. Even though they weren't needed in this tablescape, I wanted you to see them. I think they're pretty adorable!

The Royal Doulton printed piece includes prices. It's interesting to think how they relate to an average salary in 1961. Entertaining stylishly was not an inexpensive pursuit!

I hope you enjoyed this visit to 1961! Are you OK to drive? The cars don't have seat belts you know ...

Perhaps I'd better call a cab ... just to be on the safe side!


  1. Hello Bill...

    Ohhh beautiful and you're 60's! I love it! What a lovely room and the perfect setting for a tablescape...your conservatory...absolutely gorgeous! And...before I forget, wanted to mention that your water colors are fabulous! Do you still paint?

    What a acquire all that beautiful crystal and china for under $80...fabulous!!! I love this pattern by Royal's so elegant in it silvery simplicity! Really...there is nothing that can compare to a table done in white, silver, and crystal! The beautiful vase of long stemmed yellow roses is the "icing on the cake" sweet splash of color!!! Very well done, my friend!!! I really enjoyed your fine table and your photos are gorgeous! I especially like the night views!!!

    Warmest wishes,

  2. This really does conjure up the 60's! Granted I wasn't old enough to eat at the "big" table in 61, but I do remember so many of these type of things growing up - particularly the martini shaker. That's really a beautiful piece. The photos by candlelight are really stunning. Beautiful post. Kathy

  3. Bill, as usual, your tablescape is just gorgeous. I LOVE yellow roses. They are my very favorite. I also really like to see the table set without linen, I can remember that my mother use to do this and just let the pretty china and crystal steal the show. You have such lovely things, and this table is beautifully done. Hugs, Marty

  4. Bill, They really knew how to live it up back in the day, didn't they? I wish people still entertained. Sometimes I feel that I am the only one throwing dinner or cocktail parties. I think I was born in the wrong era!
    Your table is lovely! Truly reminiscent of the 60's. oh, and I love "Mad Men!"

  5. Really nice! Maybe S can represent "Shaken" or "Stirred" so all your bases are covered!

  6. Great tablescape, Bill. I would be so terrified of breaking a glass...they look so delicate. The yellow roses are a perfect match. I have never had a martini before, but I have tried olives...strange flavour :o)

  7. I think the flatware pattern is quite beautiful. They go well with the curves in the plate pattern, and the knobs on the stemware. The table setting is in keeping with your usual impeccable taste.
    As for Mad Men, some of the people have lovely things, but no one seems comfortable with life, their surroundings or with themselves.

  8. First of all after a couple martinis no one will notice one of the wine glasses doesn't match.
    I love the music from the 60's. Rock that is. Now what would they have served?
    You have really developed into quite the tablescape photographer. Do people come over and wonder why the table is always set so nicely?

  9. Sheer perfection, Bill! You are inspiring me to put together a night time scape. The candlelight is amazing! I also like the bright light effect.

  10. Beautiful!! Would love to sit at a table like that with good company and conversation. Never mind the martini - I will have wine. :-) I think it is great that you have such a wonderful knowledge of the pieces you purchase. Ahhh! 1961 - remember it well!!
    I have not watched Mad Men - need to check it out.
    I checked Kroger for the reduced price flowers like you are able to get and the one I go to never has them. :(
    Have a great evening.

  11. Bill - you always have such beautiful -- and thanks to you, I've overcome my fear of "mis-matched" glasses. I even picked up a beautiful lone etched goblet last week at GoodWill...I'll have to post it so you can tell me what the pattern is .. now I just need to find 5 more that will coordinate somewhat.

  12. I think this is my favorite tablescape of yours (well, maybe second to the family Bible one), it's beautiful, so elegant. The pattern on the dishes is so pretty and it mixes so well with the pattern of both the crystal and silver (LOVE it!), and I loved the pink napkins with it all!
    Your barware is wonderful! You have so many unique and interesting pieces.
    Really impressive tablescape!

    (Be careful with the tealights in the crystal glasses, the heat sometimes causes them to shatter, I learned that the hard way).

    All the best,

  13. Another beautiful tablescape. You are certainly very knowledgeable about your accoutrements, and a talented artist as well. The watercolours are beautiful! Please give us a closer look at them!

  14. Bill -- I think you nailed the 60's! Great table!

  15. Hi Bill! Your glassware really amazes me. You have so many and they are all so gorgeous and they really sparkle. Beautiful tablescape as usual. I am hoping that you will visit mine too, of course, but in addition to that, I would like to invite you to come by again tomorrow evening or Friday cause I am showing my whole house. Cheri wants to feature it. Thanks!....Christine

  16. Bill, Big smile here on my face...I love this tablescape. It sings to me of my childhood and I am sure that your solarium is my favorite place for a dinner. Also, I like my martini's dry, vodka with an olive or a twist. My husband is the purist...gin all the way. Your posts make me so happy!!
    ♥, Susan

  17. You are very talented at perfecting the right look for a tablescape from a certain era and have done a great job at this 60's one! Love the candlelit pics!


  18. I am safe to drive - not a martini girl....but not ready to leave!! Your table is gorgeous. I have a vase very similar to was my mother's. You did a fab tablescape for the 60's...I am sure way better than "they" would have done it back then!!

  19. Oh Bill, I love coming to see your table settings that always have WOW factor. The yellow roses just blew me away. BTW, you got a fabulous deal on that china and crystal. Unbelievable for sure. I loved your own artwork as well and was not surprised at your talent. I always enjoy visiting your blog. Thank you so much for sharing your talents.

    Carolyn/A Southerners Notebook

  20. Ah, the 60's...beautiful tablescape, Bill!

  21. It's beautiful, Bill! It definitely is very 60's. In fact, we had similar china and flatware at home when I was growing up. It looks fantastic with the soft glow of the candles, too!


  22. Yellow roses!!! Oh, oh, oh!! This one has my name on it! Just beautiful on the wood table with no tablecloth. Love the roses by candlelight! Love it all!

    What fun to go back to the sixties, 1960 I was a new bride! (Yes, I carried yellow roses!)

    P.S. - Did you see my TT last week, you didn't comment (you naughty boy!)

  23. Could have been my mother's table. Lovely, and thanks for the memories.

  24. Hi Bill,
    That is wonderful. It really captures the time, reminds me of table settings when I was a little girl and we were invited over for "fancy" dinners at friends' homes...took a little trip down memory lane. My Mom only had really ultra modern stuff from Germany, it didn't look like any of the things we saw at other's homes.
    You always do great work! I love visiting..
    Heidi - Heart and Home

  25. Another great era exemplified in your tablescape, Bill. Granted, the nanny had me tucked in for the night, I can imagine hearing the music and chatter downstairs...

    While most of us (ahem)center our tablescapes around the seasons, you do a magnificent job portraying the big times in our pop culture. I love it. Sorry to say I have not seen Mad Men (I should), but I am big on Jmaes Bond.

    That said, everything is stunning. You have made some incredible scores at these estate sales. This must be a part time job for you!!

    I am one of those who loves the flatware. Let me know if you ever want to unload it! lol!! The table is beautiful and mostly I think because of all the crystal and the images of the light hitting the cocktail shaker and the clear drink being poured into the crystal glasses that are either catching the sunlight or the I making sense?? it is sensual...

    Another successful party, Bill!! Glad I could make it!


    Just love it, Bill

  26. Bill,
    It's a treat to see what you'll display for Tablescape Thursday. This was really nice and as the lighting changed, the candles were lovely as to what they did for the mood and shine.
    Enjoyed my visit!
    God Bless,

  27. Just beautiful! I love it with the lights turned down low! The silverware is wonderful! I love the decanter and the cocktail shaker. The prices you pay are so great! I need to come up your way. lol I so am in love with the vase! I love how you arranged the roses, I think they look as if you just went out and picked them. Just the way I like them. The crystal is beautiful with the China. Glad you bought them both. Now If I had a couple of those martinis you will have to call me a cab! lol

  28. I just found your blog, sugar, and it's delightful! I have some stemware with chipped edges and I now know how to fix that. Plus your tablescapes are beautiful and photos are also exquisite! Nice to meet you, Bill. I usually call people "chicks" but I'm not sure it's a tag I'll use for you, sweetpea! LOL

  29. Seems like every tablescape you do is a WOW ! Everything sparkles and shines, and YES, I will take a martini, if you don't mind....

  30. Gor-gee-ous, Bill! The china is beautiful as are the goblets and dessert goblets...the yellow roses with the glow of the votive candles in the dark is outstanding. Love those silver polishing gloves...I use them all the time for my silver teaset. Love your pictures...they are getting better all the time. Just beautiful!

  31. Just beautiful! Man you have a lot of collections!!! Love the stemware. The flatware is really neat - it's so different than anything out there today.

    You're always one of the first that I look at on Tablescape Thursday. Always a treat. You do not disappoint!
    - The Tablescaper

  32. Hi Bill, the table looks so soft and elegant. You always stun me with your knowledge of dates and makers of all your wonderfully beautiful china and glassware. Amazing!

  33. Bill, I always love what you do with a table. Yours are always so sparkly. Wish I could find such fantastic estate sales. Just not that classy out here in the Big Valley, CA or everyone just passes down what they have.

  34. Hi Bill,

    I enjoyed my visit to your dinner party today.
    I loved the different lights and mood with candles versus sunlight. A martini will be lovely ~ thanks.
    The yellow roses are lovely.


  35. Bill, I just LOVE your period tablescapes. I always say I'm an old soul that should have been a teen in the '50s or '60s.

    Your beautiful table is an explosion of wonderful china and crystal. Love the touch of yellow with the roses.

  36. I love how the graceful swirls on the china, glassware, and silver all compliment each other. Very simple and elegant.

  37. Oh Bill, it's GORGEOUS, and I always love it when you do day/night shots! So glamorous with the candlelight! your tablescapes never disappoint! Stop by my blog soon! I've got a giveaway - hot to that I think you might like for a spooky tablescape for 4! :)

  38. What would the 60's be without martinis?? You've got this era down--PAT! It's all beautiful. Really- it's a wonder anybody lived through the 60's to tell about it :)

  39. You are so spot on this beautiful '60's tablescape. It is all just wonderful. I am in love with the idea of a glass stir stick...:)
    All just beautiful, Bill...
    and, your humor is just adorable!
    xo bj

  40. Beautiful! Lovely as always! Charming and warm, I loved it. I added as a follower, Stop by and visit me soon.

  41. Hi Bill
    Your table is just gorgeous! There is a definite '60s feel to your sparkling tablescape. You have captured the essence of that time...

    I am reminded of the rare formal dinner parties my parents had. There was that same sparkle to Mom's tables. It always captured my imagination and lit the spark that has fueled my love of entertaining and tablescaping.

    Thank you for continuing to feed that all of us.
    Jane (artfully graced)

  42. Hi Bill, Gorgeously 60s for sure! Mad Men, one of my fav shows! And hey, I need my crystal stemware back,tee hee! Love the roses.
    Linda Q

  43. Another great tablescape. I had to look up what "flatware" was as I had never heard that word before here in the UK. I love the way you have these great Estate sales and yard sales and pick up such great bargains of such excellent quality.

    The 60's to me was mini skirts and the Beatles, leaving school and going to train as a Nursery Nurse. It is lovely to see the finer way of life as it was then and really it is as beautiful today on your table as it was in the 60's. Thank you for sharing.

    Can we have a blog one day of your wonderful artwork please?? Jackie

  44. Bill,
    Beautiful table, I loved all the silver and white together. You have found some wondeful bargains. The yellow roses were just to pretty, my favorite color of rose.

  45. Hello Bill! Your table is gorgeous! I know you might not believe this but I just packed the matching cups and saucers to this dish set! I do not have the plates or accompanying pieces but I have a friend that does ;)( I mean you lol) Your table turned out so beautiful and the silverware is very beautiful too!!
    Have a wonderful day and please call if you need a ride (save the cab fare LOL)
    Love Lilly

  46. HI Bill. This tablescape in an other beauty. The way you work with china, glasses ,silver and of course flowers is marvelous. And you paint too? Wow.
    Have a nice day.

  47. How fun, Bill! This is a wonderful depiction of a bygone era.

    We were on the same wavelength this week. Same yellow roses at my house, similar 60's crystal stemware, goblet centered on the salad plate, no tablecloths or placemats here either....even down to the white candles. :) Great minds~same track!

    What a treat to get to see some of your watercolors. You are muli-talented & a true Renaissance man.
    Hubby prefers a twist in his martini....says those olives take up too much room. LOL

    You continue to be a wealth of information each week. I can't tell you how much I enjoy your postings & look forward to Thursdays, just to see what you've created for us. BRAVO!!

  48. Lovely as usual! I love the vase and will be on the look out for one of those on my treasure hunts. Thanks for sharing and have a great day!

  49. Hello Bill,
    I must admit, I've haven't seen Mad Men, although I've heard about it, nor have I had a Martini, but I am so wrapped up in this table! I am really glad you kept the set together too, it looks great and I love the silverware! You've done a great job!

    "...does it really matter?"~hilarious!

  50. Hi Bill! Oh my word, I almost forgot to breathe taking in all of that gorgeous-ness! Love the silverware, china and crystal! That table is simply perfect! Glad I joined in this week!

  51. Hello Bill, Entertaining as always. I adore the stemware with the cuts on the stems. I am coming to your town for a visit. We don't have estate sales here like you do, nothing so elegant as this. I'll be right over in my '61 pale yellow GTO. I dream of this car.
    ~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

  52. Bill, It's obvious that we all love your posts! You brought back a memory for me. This was my cousin's wedding china and I can remember making several trips to the store where she was registered ... to see how much of it was being purchased as gifts! How funny! Love your post ... hope you'll drop by to see my "country" stuff!

  53. Bill,
    I so enjoyed your 1961 dinner party!
    I adore the flatware of the Roger Brothers!


  54. Bill, they need you as a set designer! You'd be perfect. This is lovely as always. And you're a painter as well! What a talented man.

  55. So beautiful...looks like the table at a wedding dinner!

  56. Mad Men is my very favorite show! I love how you did this table. And so happy that you did not put the dirty ashtrays on it! LOL did these people manage to get any work done with all that alcohol consumption going on.

  57. Very cool. I am wondering how often one should polish silver that is out in the air. (I have some silverware that is in a wooden box like yours and they don't ever seem to need polishing--but what about pieces that are left out--how often do I polish them?)

  58. Bill...very beautiful (as usual). The china reminds me very much of my Mom's (who was married in 1959).


  59. Every Thursday, your Tablescape is the first one I look at! Imagine my surprise today when I saw that you had featured my wedding china pattern (1964)!! I'm so jealous! I only managed 2 full place settings, so hubby & I saved it for candlelight dinners on our anniversary each year.
    You've set such an exquisite table, as always, with an array of stunning photos in various lightings and angles.
    They are always wonderful, but this has to be my favorite!

  60. Oh my that is such an elegant tablescape. You have done a wonderful job its gorgeous. I just found you via Edie Marias attic and so happy I have, your blog is wonderful and extremely inviting. Stop by and see me sometime. Have a wonderful weekend.


  61. Your tables are the best! Always so beautifully put together and I always learn something new when reading your posts.

    Thanks for sharing.

  62. What a beautiful table! Love it! Especially the night time shots. So lovely.

  63. Beautiful table. Love the look after dark!

  64. Hi Bill, I've been out of town this week so didn't participate in TT yesterday and just now getting around to visit. Al usual, your tablescape is amazing. I'm in awe of what must be in your china cabinet. Your 60s table took me right back to my teenage years! Loved each detail and the yellow roses were perfect. I like the way you record the table from daylight to dark. Your photos are most dramatic and wonderful to view. I always look forward to what's on your table each week. Thank you for taking the time to share these works of art.
    See you next week. ~ Sarah

  65. Yes, I am fine to drive..I'll be the designated driver as I am not a drinker..
    But I love fine dining, and your table is FINE. I love the lines of the silver and the glasses..It all looks so pretty..timeless..
    I mean do we throw our good china and crystal away as it ages..noooo
    Like a cashmere blazer..always in style..
    Another lovely formal table, Bill

  66. Great tablescape, Bill! The candlelight pics really sparkle! I love Hagerty's...especially the spray stuff. Great for getting into the grooves on sterling.

  67. Hi Bill, I think your blog is so wonderful, you are so talented, the dishes, the tablesetting is so perfect what a wonderful find I kept thinking where is the cocktail, then I thought well why is that glass empty, he should have a dirty martini in there, then the next picture, there it was, wow. I have been throughly entertained and I really enjoyed my visit...I have become a new follower..and I will be back often...stop by for a visit...Phyllis

  68. Hi Bill, I loved all that gorgeous crystal! The candlelight pics are my favorite! Everything just shimmered. Have a great weekend! Traci

  69. Looks gorgeous! Loving that china pattern -- it's unbelieveable!

  70. Hello Bill,
    The 60's, now your talking my era...LOL. The stem ware on those glasses are just gorgeous. As always you set a mean table, no matter what era.
    How do you find such bargains?
    If you want to see something funny from the 60's come visit me.
    You have a wonderful weekend Bill.
    XXOO Marie Antionette

  71. Hi!

    I must have missed a few days! I remember this china so well. Almost picked it but instead the Essex Maroon won.

    Your martini photos are wonderful.


  72. Bill, you are so dang talented!! You have impeccable taste and style, you set a gorgeous table, you cook, you can bartend, AND you paint???


    Lou Cinda :)

  73. This is too beautiful...just gorgeous. My.

  74. Hi Bill,just stoped by to say hello, how are you and such.Hope you are enjoying Fall.It seems like everybody is showing pumpkins off.I don't have any ,but thats OK too, LOL...
    You take care XXOO Marie Antionette

  75. Hi Bill! -- Just checking in to say hello -- hope all is well - I've missed you!


  76. Hello, Mr. Bill,
    I am beginning to get a little worried since you've not posted in awhile. I pray things are ok with you...and that your dad is ok.
    I miss you and your beautiful postings and sweet words to all of us.
    xo bj

  77. Hi Bill... I too just noticed you hadn't posted in a couple weeks...
    Hope all is well...
    We miss your wonderful posts!

    ~Really Rainey~

  78. Hi Bill,
    I missed this one and I'm sure glad I went back and found it! What a time capsule you have created, I feel transported back to when my parents hosted dinner parties in the 1960's. Your table is so outstanding, I love all the pics in various shades of light! Hope your doing another one soon, Cindy

  79. Bill ~ I wanted to check in on you! Haven't heard from you in awhile! Hope all is well and you are just busy! I hope your dad is alright.

    Take Care!

    Lou Cinda

  80. What a beautiful table! What are you serving? Hmmm...1961. Meatloaf? Salmon croquet? Stuffed green peppers? If it's Friday night you've wasted your efforts- that's an aluminum foil tv dinner. Hope mine's got corn and mashed potatoes!
    Unless it's football season. Then Daddy's frying hamburgers and we've got chocolate milk. On our way to the high school game. But I'm only 4 in 1961, so what do I know of martinis. Still don't, actually!
    Thanks for a beautiful evening!

  81. Thank you for beautiful table set!!

  82. What a perfect layout. This is o beautiful. Thank you.

  83. Hello !! I´am Portuguese ! but my english is not so good !! Sorry !!!

    But i want to say that i like very much your Layout and the pictures!!!

    By.. Telmo ( Portugal )

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