Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Royal Doulton & Tiaras!

I first posted this table in November, 2009. It was Thanksgiving, and I'd decided to host a (virtual) appreciation dinner ... along with a "coronation."

In honor of this being the 150th week of Tablescape Thursdays, hosted by the inimitable Susan of Between Naps on the Porch!), I thought I'd share it again.

If the tablescaping community has a queen (Susan of course!), perhaps we should also have a patron saint. My recommendation would be Hyacinth Bucket of the classic British situation comedy, "Keeping Up Appearances." Mrs. Bucket insisted her surname should be pronounced bou-quet. "It's French," she would say "but not TOO French." She had her faults, certainly, including being a social climber and a bit of a snob (particularly with regard to certain of her less upwardly-mobile relatives). However, the lady knew the importance of setting a proper table. Not just a proper table, but a spectacular one!

I think of her sometimes as I'm preparing for Tablescape Thursdays ... remembering the episode in which Hyacinth explained to her henpecked husband, Richard, and to her long-suffering neighbor, Elizabeth, the reaction she expected of guests at her "executive candlelight suppers" (for which she was legendary ... in her own mind). She hoped ... expected ... no, demanded that guests, upon seeing her lavish table settings exclaim, "Oh, Hyacinth!" and stagger backward a step or two. Now isn't that the sort of reaction we all secretly desire???

What does Hyacinth Bucket have to do with this post? I thought of a coronation ... then of British royalty (since we Americans have none to call our own) ... and then of Royal Doulton ... and of Mrs. Bucket, who was forever rhapsodizing about her "Royal Doulton, with the hand painted periwinkles."

I'm using Royal Doulton china this evening, but not with periwinkles. The pattern is "Prelude," and it was produced from 1940-1960. It was recently acquired at a local estate sale.

Now that the leaves have fallen, light pours into the dining room in late afternoon.

The silverplated water pitcher is another estate sale purchase.

Here's a closer view of the china pattern. The reflection in the cup is from the chandelier above.

The sterling flatware is by Gorham, and the pattern is "La Scala." It's from an estate sale (supplemented by various extra pieces purchased on eBay). It was introduced in 1964 and is still in production.

The crystal is from a recent estate sale (is this becoming redundant?). If you've visited before, you'll know I don't often say "pattern unknown." I think it's probably by Bryce Brothers, based on the shape of the hand-blown bowl and of the stem. You can read about the company here. If you happen to recognize this pattern, please let me know!

I layered cotton lace placemats over a Quaker lace tablecloth, placed diagonally over a larger beige tablecloth. The napkins, placemats, and lace cloth came from estate sales. The other cloth is from Ross (I do buy new items ... once in a while!).

The red-tipped yellow roses are from the supermarket. Full price this time! It's a special occasion ... but they only set me back $12.99. I wanted them to open quickly, so I blew into the partially-closed buds and pulled them apart slightly with my fingers (roses are tougher than they look!).

The first guest is Rettabug of The Gazebo House. Rett was kind enough to link one of my posts to Tablescape Thursday for me while I was out of town. She linked mine first ... before she added her own. Now that's friendship! Thank you, Rett.

And here's Lori, of Family Trees May Contain Nuts. When I mentioned in a post that I collect "Claudia" crystal, she sent me some adorable cordial glasses. More importantly, Lori figured out why my new posts weren't appearing in reading lists of my followers and helped me correct the problem. Thank you, Lori!

A place is set for Carol of
Serendipity. Carol sent me extra cups from the Lenox "Essex Maroon" china she'd selected as a bride. She noticed I'd used "Essex" in a post and wanted the beautiful cups "to have a good home." Thank you, Carol, for your kind generosity.

All the way from Australia, we have Coty from Styling by Coty Farquhar! If you haven't visited Coty's blog, you really must do so right away. Her work is stunningly beautiful! I was deeply honored when she suggested that her readers in Australia needed to check out Affordable Accoutrements, alongside two California bloggers, Julio's Beaux Monde Designs and Once in a Blue Moon. Thank you, Coty, for placing me in such excellent company!

A place is also set for Marty of A Stroll Thru Life, one of the very nicest people around. Marty invited me to participate in a cloche party. HERE's the post I did for it. Prior to that I thought a cloche was a hat! Thank you for the education, Marty, and for being so thoughtful and affirming in your comments to everyone in the tablescaping community.

What's that I see in the upper right corner of the photograph below? Could it be a tiara?

Or two ... and a robe befitting a royal personage?

View from the "throne" ...

The flowers practically arrange themselves in this vintage carnation vase (yes, from an estate sale). In case you're wondering, I'd keep the flowers much lower if this were an actual dinner party ... or very high in a tall, tall container. These would definitely interfere with one's view of the other dinner guests.

I polished some silverplated serving pieces in honor of the occasion. These can often be found for very reasonable prices at estate sales and thrift stores. I find polishing silver relaxing and enjoy the instant gratification. It seems that I'm in the minority ... what about you? Do you find it fun? Or an unpleasant chore?

More of the shiny things ....

We have to have candlelight, don't we?

Thank you, Coty, for traveling so far ...

I couldn't forget Sherry of Country Wings in Phoenix. She gave me my very first blogging award. I reluctantly decided to go "award free" due to having limited time for blogging, but that first one was such a thrill! Thank you, Sherry. Your "country hugs and love" mean so much!

We can retire to the sitting room after dinner ...

The placecard holders were an estate sale bargain, but they're not old. They're probably the type available online from wedding suppliers. I think they're set with real diamonds, don't you? After all, they cost me fifty cents apiece!

I do like the way Royal Doulton looks by candlelight. That Hyacinth knew a thing or two about selecting suitable "ingredients" for tablescaping (long before we had a word for it!).

At Queen Susan's right hand is her friend, Kathleen of
Cuisine Kathleen

I was one of the bloggers she included in her Halloween poem, "Witches' Flyby"
HERE. What fun! Thank you, Kathleen!

A last look at Queen Susan's place setting ...

And her tiara ... perhaps she'll pass it around the table, giving everyone a turn ...

And of more china and crystal waiting to be part of an upcoming Tablescape Thursday.

Don't forget to stop by Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursdays, Metamorphosis Mondays, and so much more!


  1. Sigh...stunning, as always!

  2. aaah. You are the master if Susan is the mistress. Your table is fantabulous! I am well aware that it's not a true word, but you know it's okay to make up words if one doesn't suffice! I think I have a coffee urn similar to yours - estate sale of course. And I love to languish over the silver watching the shine reappear and also say a prayer that someone will cherish it as much as I after I am gone..
    Spectacular table! oh warm water on the flowers will also produce a speedier reveal!
    Hugs and many blessings, marlis

  3. I missed this the first time. Beautiful! I think I have some crystal very similar to that. I'm going to check...

  4. Bill, how appropriate to share this stunning table again. It it definitely regal ~ I dare say, fit for a queen! Fun guest list too!
    Hope all is well with you. Hot here in TX. ;-)
    ~ Sarah

  5. I am so glad you shared again this amazing table! I ADORE that silverware! Love, love it!!!! I used to collect Claudia, or rather, my in-laws gave us 2 sets as gifts since we had NO crystal! I don't have any now, unfortunately. The china is EXQUISITE!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, how I love it. It sparkles in the candlelight!!!!! The Queens robe and tiara are perfect too. Your imagination and eye for detail is astounding. You deserve every award that SHOULD come your way, Bill! Hope you had a wonderful 4th! XO, Pinky

  6. PS, forgot to mention Hyacinth!!!!! We watched her faithfully for years! So funny!!!! Thanks for bringing back memories of that show!

  7. Another beautiful tablesetting Bill, replays are okay with me! Just think how many times we set our table using the same dishes and just changing a few items to create a new look. Love your blog.
    Stella B.

  8. Stunning as always and I can see the episode of Hyacinth where she reels back as her guests will when they see the table!!!!

    Love the china but Royal Doulton is special -- even if it doesn't have handpainted periwinkles!

  9. Just as beautiful the second time around.
    Jane (artfully graced)

  10. Dear Bill, what a STUNNING table!
    I didn't even know what a blog was in I hadn't seen it first time around.
    I love the royal setting it's just gorgeous :o)
    Best wishes
    Rose H

  11. HI Dear Bill! Oh, I remember this tablescape and was just amazed by it then and I am still amazed at seeing it again! Just so beautiful.
    Hope you're doing well and thank you for your kind comments.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  12. Hi Bill,
    your table is really wonderful and fit for a queen. But you have the whole kingdom with the queen and all pricesses of the tablescape world on your table. What a wonderful event. As always your chine and the whole setting is fabulous. But the placecard holders are real eye catchers.
    Best greetings, Johanna

  13. OMG Bill! I think this is my very favorite among all of your china sets. I love the color and the pattern and so befitting for your majesty Susan! You certainly used all exquisite pieces, love the sterling flatware too and also the crystals. You should have had another cape and crown for King Bill!....Christine

  14. OMG! I LOVE "Keeping Up Appearances"! I especially love your tablescape. Hyacinth would be green with envy. ;-) And all hail to Queen Susan. And where are your crown and cape and scepter? Thanks for sharing!

  15. It was such an honor to dine at this beautiful table, Bill! It is a pleasure to see it again, too.
    And such wonderful table mates, too!
    Thank you!

  16. Bill, as always your tablescape is stunning. Love the addition of the tiaras and your china is gorgeous!

  17. I always enjoy polishing silver, too. I like to remember to whom each piece belonged...or from whom it came. So many memories tied up in those wonderful old treasures. I have the Bryce pattern. Found a service for 20 at an estate sale. I appreciate the identification information. It a beautiful, graceful pattern. Royal Doulton is such a fine make or beautiful bone china, and you pattern is gorgeous. I'm glad that you did a reprisal of your's new for me. Quite the distinguished guest list...a winning combination for sterling conversation and fellowship...speaking of sterling, the La Scala never fails to provide an elegant impact. Thank you yet again for sharing your talents with this gorgeous design. Cherry Kay

  18. This is such an awesome table. However, all of your tables are breathtaking. I am a relative newcomer so this was new to me. I love all the special guests you assembled. I can say you are certainly discerning and made perfect choices in guests and accoutrements. Thanks for sharing. Ginger

  19. I probably haven't seen all your many chinas, Bill, but this vintage beauty it's my very favorite, even my hubby loved it, he appreciates china, as he had for 30 years a Ceramic and Porcelain Co. Yeah, you're the King of tablescapers and the table is perfect for Susan, the queen of tablescapers!! Thanks for sharing it again! Lots of hugs, FABBY

  20. Bill, you never disappoint! Love it! Still in Royalty mode after all the recent Royal Wedding carrying on, and this is so fitting to all of us in the Tablescape Kingdom!

  21. Your table is simply gorgeous. I especially love the Royal Doulton Prelude china and the beautiful Gorham La Scala sterling silver. I actually enjoy polishing silver too. Everything looks so shiny when it is polished. I love Hagerty's Silver foam the best.

  22. This is spectacular, as always! :D Beautifully set!


  23. Beautiful table as always Bill and a wonderful way to include your blog friends at your table. Thanks for sharing.

  24. It is so fun to see this gorgeous table again, Bill & I'm flattered to be included in the seating & see my "name in lights" once more. I wish it could happen in real life!

    The Royal Doulton is just exquisite & I cringe with envy every single time I see that
    sterling flatware by Gorham, the "La Scala." I have it on my bucket list of things I'd like to acquire before I die.

    Wishing you cool breezes throughout your home this summer & some extra time in your day so you can create more of these beautiful scenes for all of us.

    Mega Hugs,

  25. I do remember this post Bill and was so honored to be one of your guests.
    Our country is abuzz with the new young royals visiting. Me? I would rather be at your table with the rest of the wonderful guests.
    I haven't visited with you in a very long time. How have you been? Life gets so busy doesn't it.

  26. What a joy it always is to view your tablescapes!

    Jan @ BellaCasa

  27. So happy to see you share this again. Too sweet also for the tiara and robe. I asked Susan if she ever thought of getting "published" if she does I sure hope she will include your tablescapes my friend, you never disappoint!
    Love this!

  28. Hi, Bill! What a regal setting indeed! The robe and tiara are the perfect accompaniments to this royal table! This really does look like it could be something set for a festive event at a palace! Have you seen the book "For the Royal Table" by Kathryn Jones? This would fit in nicely. You really have some incredibly nice pieces in your collection, and I'm always so glad to be able to see what you've come up with. Since this was first posted before we "met" on BNOTP, it shows how consistently spot on you are. But I knew that anyway!

  29. Hi Bill,
    I love your dinner party as always your Tablescapes are Beautiful!!!
    I do Remember this post and fell in love with your Sterling Flatware by Gorham,the "La Scala" I hope you have a Great Week with family and friends.
    XXOO Diane

  30. So glad you re-posted this--I was not around the first time. I adore that china, and such a cute idea to "seat" all your blogging friends! It's always amazing to me to see what you come up with--not only do you have wonderful pieces, but it's all put together so beautifully, and your flower-arranging is exquisite! Fit for a queen! (and King!)

  31. Dear Bill,

    The table setting is just gorgeous, loved every bit of it, such beautifully made.

    Tahnk you for sharing.

    The silverware are my fav too.

    Lots of Love,
    Karin Şen Cankan

  32. What a wonderful table. I am so sad I did not see my name. I love your sterling, had never seen it before. Especially love the rose on the tip, I have a thing for roses. I think you put a lot of effort and thought into this post. Just beautiful. I am your newest follower. Richard at My Old Historic House.

  33. Bill -- this is perfect for celebrating Susan's 150th Tablescaping post. And of course, you've contributed so many posts that have made us all sigh with delight and feel like we've gotten the royal treatment! Hope you're having a great summer.

  34. Bill, you are too funny! You're the only person who makes me feel like a Queen! lol
    I love this table's positively beautiful! And love the stories about Hyacinth Bucket...oops, Bouquet. She totally cracks me up. You are so right...don't we wish our tables always had a awe-striking, "staggering" impact on our guests. Well, yours always do that to me, especially when there's candlelight!
    Thanks for another beautiful are amazing, my friend!

  35. Bill, you are right about the R.D. It looks great in both daylight and candlelight.

  36. I thought I was the only one who watched "Keeping Up Appearances." She's a hoot. A truly wonderful tablescape. I'm sure the ladies were quite honored to have their own setting at your beautiful table. Fabulicious!!!


  37. Just gorgeous. Every little detail. What a beautiful table.

    - The Tablescaper

  38. Stunningly Breathtaking!

    Can I Please come to your next dinner, just to admire your table? I won't say a word or even eat a morsel...I'll simply stare in awe and absorb the beauty. :))))))


  39. Bill, again a brilliant table!

    Being English myself, we had to watch "keeping up appearances". Hyacinth Bucket, AKA Bouquet, is the lady everyone loves to hate. Bless her heart though, as you say she definately tried to keep up standards. I'm always moaning to my friends here in New Zealand (where I live now)that no-one ever takes the time to set the table. I can tell you....I can moan for England and often do! Maybe I should be caling all my friends "Elizabeth". lol

    I love your tables Bill and really enjoy the glimses of your house.....any chance we can have a "little tour"?..Oh go on pleeeeeeeze? I promise not to laugh if the beds not made..wink wink!

    Jo x

  40. Hello Bill:
    What an absolutely magical post. Beautifully presented images, depicting the most lovely table settings, and such an imaginative approach all combine to make this an absolute joy to look at and read.

    Thank you so much for this and also for visiting our blog, for leaving such a very generous comment, and for becoming a Follower. We are so delighted because of it to find and be able to follow you. We much look forward to future posts.

  41. Rerun or not -always enjoy seeing your beautiful table creations. Oh yes - they must be diamonds if you had to pay 50cts. each. :-D
    I haven't watched Keeping up Appearances in some time - just forget about it being on.
    Stay cool - it is hot out there.

  42. So you just happened to have that robe just sitting around the house? I loved seeing this because I feel as if I know most of the people at the table. What a fun discussion it would be. The china is very that color of blue.

  43. Hi Bill,
    I was having a difficult time with my previous blog (technical issues). So off with the old and on with the new. I started a new blog and find it most appropriate considering I find myself living back in the South. It's truly a privilege to have such a dashing gentleman with a fabulous eye for tablescapes to follow me once again. Hope to see you there!

  44. Gentleman Bill, I had just started blogging when you first posted this breathtaking table. I poured over every word and detail as I did again today.
    I would love to see all your masterpieces in a book.... wouldn't that be a dream? I would be able to look at them over and over and learn the fascinating histories behind each set of china and stemware and flatware. And also look at they way you elegantly and purposefully set each table. Weaving stories and information around each table as only you can do!
    Beautiful as always!

  45. Beautiful table...the new china is lovely, I am sure that Hyacinth would definately appreciate it! So sweet of you to include all of these very deserving people. have a great day.(-:

  46. I am so impressed Bill!
    This is just outstandingly beautiful!
    Susan must have felt so honored when she saw it!
    This table simply glows! I love the china, the silverware, the flowers, well everything!
    I think we can name you King of tablescapes, you are really talented at this~
    Thanks for visiting me, I am blogging less but I still love it!

  47. Bill, I always say "Oh Hyacinth" (Bill) and stagger back a step or two, every time I see one of your glorious tablescapes.
    I love "Keeping Up Appearances" and your fabulous tablescapes would certainly make Hyacinth green with envy.

  48. So breathtakingly lovely! I so love this!

    Keeping Up Appearances was one of those shows we'd watch with my grandmother and laugh all the way through. My oldest son would refer to it as "Grandma's Ladies".


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  50. Good morning Bill,
    I am working on one of those posts that seems to be going in many different directions. In my search for photographs of a certain Royal Doulton china pattern I suddenly found myself here at your gorgeous table!
    My grandmother, whos china I inherited would be honored to have you as a guest at her table!
    When I saw Coty's place card I remembered reading this when you originally posted. Coty introduced me to you and to Susan. They are both very special arent they...Thank you for such a beautiful post!
    Hope you're having a wonderful holiday season.