Garden Party
By Karen Parr-Moody

The weather is balmy and GasLamp's vintage decorating finds are cool. These two elements simply conspire to create a perfect garden party, so take this time to set a stylish table anywhere that strikes your fancy. Just add a few rays of sunlight.
One could go the Melamine route for tableware; this is always a smart move, due to the pretty pastel tones of the dishes and their chip-proof nature. But if you have a stable table outdoors, you can just as easily set it with some collectible finery. One such item is this fabulous Roseville Pottery compote from the company's Donatello line (photo, above right; $79.95; Booth B-219). The Donatello line, decorated with charming cherubs and stately ribs, was introduced during World War I by this famed Ohio maker of American art pottery. The standard colors are green and white, as seen with this piece, with some rare examples in gray. Pieces with limited crazing are much sought-after by collectors.

This Roseville compote gains some flair with the addition of hyacinth shaped candles ($5.95; Booth B-219). This is just one idea for a garden party table. One could also fill milk glass vases with flowers or toss arrangements into tin cans that can be tied onto chair backs with ribbon or wire.

One needn't be a hoop-skirted Victorian at a tea party to enjoy this three-tiered dessert stand in the photo at left ($139; Booth B-200). This is a fine example of English pink lusterware, simply waiting to be adorned with lemon bars, petit fours and buttercream frosted cupcakes. Lustreware, a pottery or porcelain that has been given a metallic glaze, was wildly popular in 19th-century England, where it was produced. In the early 1800s, large quantities of pink tableware items were exported to the American market, carrying with them an association with elegance. Lustreware's glamorous iridescence and sweet palette of pinks still make collectors swoon for it today.

With 12 dinner plates and 12 salad plates, this set of floral china is a wonderful find (photo, right; $695; Booth B-342). What's interesting about these plates, upon closer examination, is that they include variations of floral patterns at their center. That makes it an interesting pattern of china; it looks uniform, but at the same time it retains an easygoing quality. It reminds one of an English cottage garden, making it a perfect set for a garden party.


Who minds inviting a bee to one's garden party if he is as cute as the one on this hurricane lamp holder? The striped critter sits among the toleware daisies just waiting to dive into a flower (photo, left; $76; Booth B-106). Occasionally one finds a tiny bird ensconced among the flowers of a toleware lamp, and this bee is buzzing in that same charming direction.













I have said it before, and I'll say it again: Vintage hammered aluminum, as seen in the photo, right, is a stellar choice for outdoor dining ($22; Booth B-319). This versatile serving ware, which arrived in homes from the 1930s to the 1950s, is ideal for outdoor dining. It mimics silver, but is lightweight, making it easy to carry to an outdoor table. The well-made handles, beautiful floral patterns and dimpled surfaces simply add to the attraction, as they do with this serving bowl with lid.

A hostess needn't go over the hills and far away to set up an outdoor meal. She can simply walk out to her garden for an enchanting party. Finger sandwiches, potato salad and slices of lemonade cake were tailor-made for vintage plates and tableware. So put together a table today in such a way to encourage many repeat performances, lit by citronella votives as stage lights. Why, we're already craving an encore!

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