Spring Entertaining

By Karen Parr-Moody       


With spring comes showers, weddings, picnics and garden brunches, all waiting to be celebrated in vintage style. The pretty pastels and bright whites of vintage items at GasLamp make for the perfect party accoutrements.


Take inspiration from that most famous of tea parties, the Mad Hatter’s in “Alice in Wonderland,” when picking out pieces of lusterware at the GasLamp Too Booth T-360. There are scads of lovely pieces there, including a pale pink creamer with its hand-painted gold rim and floral motifs (photo right, $35).  


This is a fine example of English pink lusterware, simply waiting to be used at a delightful tea party or brunch. 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 colors still make collectors swoon for it today. In the photo, left, are three lusterware vases in tones of cream, mint green and pink and white ($40; Booth T-360). Tuck in a few pink rosebuds and some baby’s breath and they, too, could grace a table at a spring event.


For those whose taste lean more toward Mid-Century Modern than Victoriana, there is a vast array of powder blue Iroquois China Company dinnerware at GasLamp (photo, right; Booth T-264). It includes dishes and other items, such as salt and pepper shakers ($25), split dish with cover ($60), sugar bowl ($20), coffee cup and saucer $8, butter dish ($45) and a 10-inch skillet with top ($90).


Industrial engineer Russel Wright (1904–1976), was the creator of this Iroquois line, which is called Casual. Such dinnerware styles were found in mid-century kitchens and were made by firms such as Franciscan, LuRay, Mallo-Belle and Boonton Ware in popular colors of yellow, salmon, pale aqua and turquoise.


Placing retro vases and planters on the table is an easy way to make every party feel charmingly vintage. McCoy art pottery is known by its range of vases and planters in beautiful pastel colors, including butter yellows, baby blues, mint greens, apricots, turquoise, and pink. A great example are the two pieces in the photo, left: They are a McCoy hyacinth vase and a McCoy bowl festooned in white flowers (vase, $55; bowl, $20; both at Booth T-194). These hyacinth vases came in shades of pink, blue, purple and yellow and would look beautiful next to the pink bowl; just put some white daisies in the vase and let some gardenias float in the bowl. 


Booth T-545 features a charming Shawnee planter of a Dutch boy and girl standing one either side of a wishing well ($55). On the front of the piece are the embossed words “Wishing Well” with two hearts bracketing each end of the words. Shawnee Pottery was a Zanesville, Ohio company that began producing wares in 1937 such as flowerpots, vases, planters and cookie jars. They were typically fanciful, as is this piece. With its mustard yellow tones, it would blend well with some pastel melamine plates for a fun outdoor party; just toss a few flowers in the well, or a tiny plant.


Whether one seeks a party with an air of refinement (think: English lusterware) or wants to recreate a “Mad Men” scene with Mid-Century Modern style, GasLamp has the accoutrements. Just bring your ideas and GasLamp’s finds will soon be on your guest list.








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