Monday, November 7, 2011

Next Course Please!

Hand painted ICE CREAM set. Large platter and 12 bowls. Royal Austria, circa 1860-1890.

Bavaria ,Germany Berry Set, Hand Painted. fruit and berries. Circa 1890-1900.

French Limoge Game Bird set. Circa 1860-1890.

French Limoge hand painted fish platter,

English ,Minton  China  Desert set, 4 cake plates, 3 bowls, 24 cups and saucers in two sizes for various uses. Circa 1890-1900.

  Queen Victoria was not born to be the Queen of England. Her Uncle, the King, had no children,so Victoria, being next in line for the throne, was groomed from a very early age to be Queen.. Her uncle died when she was 16, making her the Queen of England. She reigned for 80 years,making her the longest reigning Queen to this date. During her reign, she had a great influence on the styles of that day, thus the Victorian Era was born. All over the world, everyone wanted to live, dress and be like the young  Queen Victoria.
        Dining table etiquette was one aspect of manners that the Victorian era women were concerned with. The linens and utensils had to be clean, polished and  folded just right. Even the salt was expected to look neat and have it's own container. The goal of the Victorian lady, in that period ,was to serve others, and her etiquette and manners, all helped her do so. Anything she did was to please her husband and  society. Married couples were never seated together. It was considered ridiculous to make a display of a napkin. They should be pressed and folded in fourths and laid in the center of the service plate.
   Serving was always done by a maid, footman or the butler. The lady of the house would never do the serving. Courses were brought around behind the quest back and served from the left. Food was served in courses. Salad,,main,fruit, and desert. All china was removed from the dining table before the next course. The main china was only used to serve the main course, usually beef with a side  vegetable. Special sets of china were designed, painted and made for each course. The soup course consisted of a tureen,bowls and under plates.The fruit course was often served in what we call a berry set. A large bowl with numerous small side bowls.Some of these sets had fruit and berries  hand painted on them ,where others had flowers. A  fish set, comprised of a large serving platter, sauce boat and 6 to 12 small plates,  used for serving the fish course. More often than not, these sets were decorated with hand pained fish. The same applied to the game set, which featured various game bird  paintings. Desert sets were used for various deserts and were made up of several cake plates, bowls for sauce and various sizes of cups and saucers. Nuts were often served between courses and nut sets decorated with hand painted nuts were made for this course.
   Today most of these fancy sets are not used so much for serving course. They are just displayed very proudly in there owners homes. Times have changed so much and very few people entertain in there homes  much any more. Most dinner parties take place at private clubs. Even if a dinner party is held in a home, very few host serve in courses. Most home owners want serving things that can go in a dishwasher, as the servants of the Victorian era, are no longer serving in homes ,as they once did.Most American homes put all the courses on the table at once and they are passed around. Family style.

Ice cream was scooped from the hand cranked freezer and put on these platters. Special spoons were made to scoop them from the platter to each small bowl. It was then eaten with an ice cream fork. Ice cream was not always served as a desert . Sometimes served between courses as well.Was a very rare treat before 1900's. 

My ice cream set lives in the dish pantry in my dining room.

Hand painted strawberries and gooseberries decorate the small side bowls.

The large bowl is painted with peaches and blackberries.

This set belonged to my father, He bought it somewhere at a country farm auction. 

    I have many of these serving sets at, My Old Historic House. Most of the time they just live in the dish pantry in my dining room.I have been known to use them from time to time. I am having a ladies luncheon tomorrow and I am for sure using the berry set and desert set. If you happen, to ever get a change to come by some day soon for a tour, I would be more than happy to serve up some fresh fruit in that berry set or a slice of cake ,from the desert set. Please come when ever you can, You are always welcome, I will leave the lights on and Sissy Dog will meet you with a big jump and a kiss. Next Course Please!


This set almost has a Christmas design with the tiny green leaves and red berries on the boarder.

This fish is swimming up side down, showing off, kinda has a sweet little face.

Love the rich blue and the tiny delicate flowers on the English Desert set.

This is an English Sterling  breakfast egg coddle. Used to serve 3 minute eggs. A salt cellar is in the center. Spoons hang from the side. It is made of tiny strips of silver, woven like a basket.