Bloom Time

By Karen Parr-Moody


The weather has finally lightened up and GasLamp and GasLamp Too's vintage decorating finds are in full bloom. Both stores always have flowery china on the shelves, and now there are even more garden party finds, from majolica plates to floral handbags.


My dear grandmother always kept a Roseville console bowl, much like the one in the photo above, in her kitchen window. She filled her bowl with ivy, but this one could contain any number of items, from fresh-cut hyacinths to hens-and-chicks ($125; Booth T-206).


This bowl is in the Cosmos pattern, which was introduced in 1939 under the direction of Frank Ferrell. He was Roseville’s artistic director from 1917 to 1954 after having first worked at Weller, another of the famous 20th-century art pottery manufacturers from Ohio. Roseville pottery is known for its floral motifs: Among the blooms represented in various patterns are freesia, apple blossom, magnolia, zephyr lily, clematis and water lily. 


Victorian majolica ware dates back to 1851, when it was introduced by Minton & Company at London’s Crystal Palace Exhibition. It was soon copied and came to include a naturalistic niche with trademark motifs such as ferns, maples and oaks. Begonia motifs, such as seen in the platter, photo left, remain particularly popular today ($149; Booth B-200). According to the “Collector's Encyclopedia of Majolica,” smaller begonia plates were originally used to hold pickles or relish.


This fancy demitasse cup and saucer, photo right, reminds me of a tea party filled with finger sandwiches, potato salad and slices of lemonade cake ($15; Booth T-152). Translated from French, demitasse literally means “half cup.” Such dainty cups became popular during the Victorian era, when they were used to serve Turkish coffee or espresso.


This particular cup contains a bit of tragic trivia. It is memento from the Pan-American Exposition, a World's Fair that was held in Buffalo, New York in 1901. It was at this event that the 25th President of the United States, William McKinley, was shot and fatally wounded by Leon Czolgosz, an anarchist.   


Manufactured by Spode Copeland in England, these two 9-inch plates, photo left, are made of fine porcelain that features two species of orchids ($25 each; Booth T-134). The plate on the left features the Dendrobium nobile orchid and the plate on the right depicts the Odontoglossum triumphans orchid. They both remind me of an English cottage garden and would be lovely for a spring party.


Speaking of spring parties, this vintage straw purse covered in flowers, photo right, is tailor-made for such an affair ($24; Booth T-191). I especially love the bamboo handles. Can’t you just see it paired with a stylish ensemble, its wearer set beautifully aglow by citronella votives?


On that note, ladies and gentlemen, get ready to break out the vintage plates and uncork the champagne. Spring is here and it calls for a flower-filled celebration. Won’t you toast to that?







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