Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sur La Table

Some simple, some plain and some elaborate. All good for many uses and fun too!


    Antiques for the table have long been a favorite of mine. I have had a love affair with china, crystal and silver for as long as I can remember. If you shop right, take your time, and learn what to look for, antiques for the table can be purchased very reasonably. The myth that antiques are so expensive is a false one.  Antiques can be found for very low prices, especially if you look in the right places. No need to go to the most expensive shops and web sites, when there are plenty to be found at small local shops, flea markets, antique malls and yard sales.Some of my favorite silver flat ware pieces have been found at my local church rummage sale. A lot of beautiful things can show up at this kind of sale. Just keep it in mind, go early and look fast. These items are usually grabbed first.
    In certain contemporary circles, silver has been out of fashion-so stuffy,some people say, too much trouble to clean, too hard to store. It seems that silver has been replaced with stainless and plastic. But others know better-"silver", is a rooms jewelry. Even if we do not use our silver for makers intended,but instead just use them for display,they impart a touch of elegance. Silver adds a sparkle to every occasion, dresses up every event and makes even a family meal very special.
   Consider incorporating silver treasures into daily living. Pieces can be picked up reasonable and are really neat to use. People will  make over them and can make an ordinary dinner seem special. Sterling silver is very expensive, especially today with the silver prices being sky high. With the invention of silver plate, which  joins a thin coating of silver to another metal, and is therefore less expensive than sterling, silver become much more available  to the masses.
     A set of silver flatware used to be a brides dream and was considered one of her most valuable things. My mother loved to give a beautiful silver plate antique serving piece for a wedding gift. She was always on the look out for special ones to keep on hand to wrap up when needed.
    Flatware is a relatively recent development.Early flatware was limited to almost exclusively spoons, ladles and tongs. Spoons were first made in the 17th  and 18th century, but were mainly only available to the Royals or the very wealthy. It wasn't till the 19th century that new technical developments - electroplating and steam powered drop presses that stamped out enormous quantities of specialized shapes, and engine turning, a technique for decorating hallow ware- made mass production of silver patterns possible.
   In the 18th century few people had a complete pattern of silver ware. Most people had a combination of several sets, like:fish,fowl,desert and so on. Pearl landed knifes were mingled in with the other pieces.
     In the Victorian Age, dining was a extremely serious business and flatware makers propspered  as a result, offering designs as diversified and particular as possible. Objects of once homely utility, were elevated to the status of art. Owning a vast quantity of electroplated objects was a sign of status.
   Meals often encompassed eight to  ten courses, and required many different serving pieces to serve these courses, the way they were intended.

I found this old simple spoon holder for $3.00 and it works well to hold my serving pieces. So pretty to see them all hanging on the back of my dining room china closet door and so handy to get the one you need.

   These silver pieces were popular for wedding, Christmas and anniversary gifts and were intended to supplement an existing silver service. Berry spoons, pie sets,chocolate sets,salad servers, cream ladles, oyster and nut spoons were just a few examples. The first quarter of the 19th century was the golden are of American silver flatware production. Some people oped for a complete matching set, and bought all pieces in one pattern. This trend continued into the 20th and 21th century. Today most  hollow ware sets are matching, with only a few of us,   continuing  the mix and match policy. I for one find it mush more fun and makes my table a little more exciting.
    I never worry about using a particular piece for what it was intended. I use them for what I need it to do at the time. They look so pretty on your table and add a little elegance to a platter of meat, bowl of fruit or a tray full of cheese. When they are polished they catch the light and the users eye. There is a trend today to use your silver un-polished. I guess it gives a pewter appearance and goes along with that Shabby look, people are so crazy about. I say, if you like it that way, go ahead, but I for one, love it all polished up and gleaming.
      For the longest time I kept my collection of silver serving pieces in a buffet drawer in my dining room. I found myself digging for a certain piece. One day at an antique mall I found a very simple wooden spoon holder for $3.00. I liked it because it had rounded out shelves and I thought it might work to hold my pieces. It did work, if I placed the pieces in handles up, where they   were meant to be handles down. I hung it on the back of my dining room china closet  door and it looks pretty and is so handy to find the piece you want. I polished all these pieces up last week getting ready for a ladies luncheon at, My Old Historic House, so I thought it would be a good time to post about them. Thanksgiving is next week and I am sure they will find many good uses then as well. I hope you enjoyed seeing them as much as I have enjoyed collecting them.Come by some time soon for a tour and I'll serve you something good, using one of these pieces. I will leave the lights on and Sissy Dog will always meet you with a jump and a kiss.
   Start collecting some of these old wonderful silver plate pieces soon. You'll be surprised when and where you will find them. And then have fun using them.


Shine bright wonderment.

I found this white  spoon holder recently at a antique shop in Columbia, Mo. I have in the kitchen , by my stove, so handy to reach for a spoon when needed.


akissfromthepast said...

oh how pretty those are! :) i like them all :D

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Richard:
Such a glittering array of flatware you dazzle us here with. Such a beautiful collection and, as you say, using one or two pieces for serving at table can really ring the changes and add a bit of glamour.

Fortunately, our housekeeper is marvellous at silver polishing, a chore which we hate. Otherwise, we fear that all our silverware may be consigned to the dark recesses of cupboards not fit to see the light of day!!

Divine Theatre said...

Your collection is jaw dropping! Now that my dining room is almost ready, I am able to display the pieces that I love so much. I prefer that they are not too sparkly. I like a bit of tarnish!
I just found that there is enough of your beautiful wallpaper fro my dining room as well! I will not be hanging it myself. I am looking for an experienced person. I would absolutely die if I ruined it!
Love and isses to Sissy!


Curtains In My Tree said...

Love your old silver hun. The way you have it displayed is so fun also. Upside down on the wooden yard sale rack love it

I want that white spoon holder you said you got in Columbia Missouri LOL I bet you got it at Apple Wagon or Arichoke Annies or Market Place? fits right in hanging by your stove (love your kitchen)

Ladles are one of my favorite old silver pieces and I love yours the one with the lip.I do believe I remember one in a beautiful silver punch bowl?

I have been cleaning my silver to use for Thanksgiving.

You was talking about brides always wanted a silver set. I remember my Mom telling me what she wanted the most when she got married was a set of silver she choose Coronation, said her and Grandma got it at our local jewelry store in Mt Vernon Illinois. It is silverplate. I know all Grandma had was odd pieces of whatever. I shouldn't have gone on and on sorry

xoxox to Sissy

Barbara F. said...

Beautiful silver pieces, Richard. I inherited my parents silverplate,and I do cherish it. xo

Anna at the Doll House said...

I share your love of silver Richard and I agree: a beautifully-set table makes any occasion something extra special.


Priscilla said...

I think you are so clever using all those different patterns together. I have only my one sterling pattern and one silver plate for every day. I keep the everyday in the kitchen, and the sterling in the sideboard.
My daughter only has sterling silver flatware, but would like something for everyday as well. Perhaps if and when she marries, that will be something she will receive as a gift.

Marcia said...

What beautiful pieces you have! I recognized a piece or two as ones I have. It would be fun to know what all their original intentions were! The fork with the fat tine on one side is one--what in the world was the purpose of that; I know there was a reason. Another lovely blog, Richard! I like the wooden holders, too--how handy!

Martha said...

I love the old silver and I've collected serving pieces (and place pieces) for a long time. . . . I especially like the monogramed ones -- wondering who might have owned them.

You have some lovely pieces and your idea for storage is terrific. It's easier when you keep things close at hand!

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

great spoon holders. Oh how I love silver and I am so fasinated by all the different pieces the Victorians used. As you know I have alot myself, but mostly family pieces. Your pieces are beautiful!

Victorian1885 said...

I love using my silver everyday.. you have a wonderful collection & that holder is fabulous!


Olive Cooper said...

Richard, your collection is gorgeous. I was recently given some family pieces by my cousin and need to photograph them. That holder you bought for the spoons works out so well. ♥O

lvroftiques said...

I love your collection of old silver pieces Richard. I really love the way you've displayed them with that $3 stand. I'll definitely be keeping my eyes open for some similar pieces *winks*

Susan said...

Oh my GOODNESS, Richard. What a wonderful collection!

Loved your spoon racks, too. Great idea! Susan

Pearl said...

I like your style Richard. I have a few pieces that I use, it's fun. You have some beautiful pieces!

Deanna said...

Richard, I sure like this post!
I only have a few pieces, but like looking atthem and using them when I can.

It's almost like magic when silver pieces are polished. Wowza they are beautiful!

God bless,

mississippi artist said...

Very pretty serving pieces. I adore that small spoon holder, never seen one like that.Hugs and kisses to Sissy.

Olivia said...

Ohhhh, what pretty silverware pieces you have! I am off to catch up on the rest of your posting!

KarenHarveyCox said...

What an amazing collection of silver. I have a friend who loves silverware and she sells them in her shop in Concord, Massachusetts. I love when I find the ones that are engraved.

Shelia said...

Hi Richard! OH, I just love your pretty silvers! You have such a great variety of servers and great ways to display them too!
I have a few pieces I've picked up for a song and just love them and do use them as often as I can.
Thanks for popping in to see me and I wish you an early happy Thanksgiving too.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Pamela Gordon said...

I enjoyed looking over all your pieces of silverware. I recognized a few that are similar to ones I have that were handed down to me. I guess I should use them! Thanks for the background on these. Most of us sure don't entertain as elegantly as some do but it's nice to have the pieces that our ancestors once used!

Babs said...

Richard, Love, love your silver serving pieces. I used to find sterling pieces several years ago, but I think everyone now is buying it to sell for scrap. What a shame. Yesterday, I found a sterling bowl at GW for $1.91... and grabbed it quickly before someone else realized what it was. A little ding or two doesn't bother me if it doesn't detract from the look or value.
Thanks for sharing. Love the shell spoon...so pretty.

Kelly_Deal said...

Richard, I love your flatware collection!

Sissysmom said...

Beautiful collection! I think it is great that you use them. I have been collecting a few serving spoons with the intent of decorating a small Christmas tree for the kitchen, but now I think I might have to actually start using them!

Thanks for sharing! Give Sissy Dog a pat on the head from me.

xinex said...

Hi Richard, your silver serving spoons are so pretty. I love the patterns and I love the holder that you found,, so practical!..Christine

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you're standing up for silver flatware and serving pieces! These lovely things should be valued and used. How many of our moms keep them hidden away in old chests, saved for good? A good that seldom happens?

I feel very lucky to have collected my sterling just before the prices went sky-high. I went with estate silver to save more money and I didn't care whether it was monogrammed or not, which was a further savings. Now I keep "adopting" odd serving pieces as I find them. I intended to stick only with sterling, but I hate to see the plate go unappreciated too.

You're right: these are a table's jewelry.

Love the spoon holder idea! I got rid of mine some years ago as too much of a dust collector, but it's easy to find them inexpensively.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Cass @ That Old House said...

Richard, I love how you share your knowledge! I always learn something -- and this time especially you are speaking my language -- Old silver.

I have some of the same patterns in serving pieces that you show -- what fun! Love them displayed in the old spoon racks, that is an inspired idea.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. It may not be "divine" here at T.O.H., as you were so kind to say, but it IS fun. Crazy busy, but fun, and that's what counts.

Oh, and it's also delicious. I'm a crack cook. :-)


Rosemary@villabarnes said...

There is nothing like beautifully crafted vintage silver. You have some lovely pieces. They are definitely jewelry for the table.

Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

Richard, Sterling and silverplate serving pieces are my weakness! You have a beautiful collection and I love how you displayed them in the spoon holders. Thanks for joining my party and I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

LANA said...

There is nothing like silver. I use silverplate on a daily basis, it just feels better in the hand. When I go to thrift stores or estate sales I am always on the lookout for mis-matched serving pieces. Your collection is stunning. Thanksgiving at your house must be beautiful and elegant! Have a happy one!

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

You have some beautiful pieces. I just started collecting some last year.

Jil~Say It With Roses said...

Hello Richard,
What beauties you shared with us. I, too, have a great collection of spoons, all sorts of serving spoons and forks that are all from my family. I have many displayed and you gave me ideas, outside the box, for even better displays.

I am always charmed when I visit and I always learn a little something, too!
Sending many Thanksgiving blessings!


What a gorgeous collection of silver flatware, dear Richard! I have some from heirlooms, BUT NOT SO MUCH! I could fit mine in your wall holder, which I also love how they look displayed there! You and only you have the most beautiful antiques! Happy Thanksgiving! Love,

Bonnie said...

Love your silver collection. I like your comment about them being jewelry. I agree!!!

An Historical Lady said...

Beautiful Richard!
A very happy Thanksgiving to you and Sissy,
Mary and the yorkie girls, Sasha and Deladis


Shelia said...

Hi Richard! I want to wish you and little Sissy dog a very happy Thanksgiving! Hope you're surrounded with family and friends and love!
Thanks for popping in to see me.
be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Debra @ Common Ground said...

Hi Richard, your collection is gorgeous, love all the different patterns. I love silver and always have a lot out. Displaying your serving pieces is just another step for me to think about. I've collected several over the years. the more ornate the better! Have a great Thanksgiving!

Bohemian said...

Oh Richard, as always your Collections are fabulous and informative! I too Love to Collect Silver and Silverplate Cutlery, I so enjoy the vast variety of designs on the handles and that they all have Names. Not to mention it holds up so much better than modern Silverware. I still clean mine the old fashioned way my Nanna always suggested... either with constant use, or just letting the G-Kids play with them in soft sand... way cheaper than buying Silver Cleaner and more Natural... works like a charm too.

I can hardly wait to see each and every Post of yours through Christmas as you prepare for the Holidays... it's always such an Enchanting Journey back through Time at your Old Historic House which is Styled so impeccably!

Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

Alison @ The Polohouse said...

I love polished shiny and sparkly silver too, Richard! I have a lot of it and especially love anything urn shaped.
Great post.

I have never seen a spoon holder like the last one you shared! Great piece. I will have to keep an eye out for one now.

Have a great Thanksgiving, Richard!

Give Sissy some scraps for me, won't you? xx Alison

Pam of Eastlake Victorian said...

Thanks for the great post, Richard! I love your silver pieces. I recently started collecting sterling pieces, but I'll only go so high for a piece, so it's going to be quite some time before I have a complete set. But you've given me a great idea. I will polish up what I have and use it this Thanksgiving!


Anonymous said...

If there has ever been a piece of silver in a garage sale in my county.....I probably own it :^)
It is so much fun to put it out on my serving tables, use it for reasons not intended, or share it with others for their fancy parties. I am reading your blog backward and enjoying every moment! I just wish you were closer so you could teach me about all of this great "stuph".
Thank you sooooo much for sharing your time and wisdom.
Princess Posie cat sends Sissy a hug!

Anonymous said...

If there has ever been a piece of silver in a garage sale in my county.....I probably own it :^)
It is so much fun to put it out on my serving tables, use it for reasons not intended, or share it with others for their fancy parties. I am reading your blog backward and enjoying every moment! I just wish you were closer so you could teach me about all of this great "stuph".
Thank you sooooo much for sharing your time and wisdom.
Princess Posie cat sends Sissy a hug!

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