Old China Dishes

Get tea in your favorite cup and come on back and click here for musica!  It’s Dishes Day!  But first . . . say Hello Kitty. 

I promised Em, one of our girlfriends, who’s doing some redecorating, that I would show another photo of my chair . . . she’s looking for this fabric, or something like it, and I don’t remember where I got this.  If any of you decorators out there know what pattern this is, please leave a comment here for Em!

I had several requests, so I thought I’d show you my dishes today!  We have to start with my kitchen cupboard because it’s like a toy for grownups!  My dad drove out from Arizona with his tool box and his dog, to help us move into our house.  The first thing I asked him to do was to take off the cupboard doors so I could see my dishes.  This is how it’s arranged today, but it’s gone through many changes: When I find yellow glasses, out goes the clear ones; I find pink dishes, out go the purple ones.  Pretty much everything came from yard sales and antique stores. (You notice there’s a bowl full of kitty toys there. They’re everywhere.) 

That’s a Johnson Brothers “Rose Chintz” teapot, a Martha’s Vineyard decorative plate, some of my Beatrix Potter people, an antique no-name brown transferware cup (with a singing bird on it!), my purple Windsor Ware china, some of my preferred fake fruit, topped off with my pink “Two Fond Hearts” plate!

These Minton cups belong to one of the girlfriends now . . . when my cupboards were full, I donated these to the Vintage section in our web store–I know they went to a good home! I hope she’s having lots of tea parties to show them off!

More cups, most of them have no manufacturer or pattern names on the bottom; great shelf for display, useful too, not deep so it doesn’t take up too much space.

Salt and pepper shakers, perfect for every occasion! 🙂

Very old Minton creamers and teapot (no pattern name is on the bottom of this set of dishes!).

I love to mix old and new for informal tea parties.  My Emma cups mix so well with antique dishes!

This little gem was all alone on an antique-store shelf when I found it; no name on bottom, no saucer, but look at it!  Abigail Adams probably drank out of it!  It should not be living alone!

You can mix your eras too . . . This yellow earthenware Oven Ware bowl perks up the Johnson Brothers Rose Chintz.

Love to mix and match dishes, some are one of a kind, but fit right in. This sauce bowl is English, Myott Son & Co “Swing Time” — and it’s the only piece of it I have.

 Copeland Spode and Emma Bridgewater — those English people really know what they’re doing!

A little mish-mash of small cups, flower salt and peppers, and one of my pride and joys, a tiny Japanese tea-for-one set.

This china has nothing on the bottom!  I think it should be famous!  So pretty on a summer table outside under the arbor! ♥  Makes you want to have a dinner party!

Adorable green bird salt and peppers which were a give-away here a while back. The bottoms twist off!

Gold-trimmed acorn plates make cake and ice cream positively elegant!

washing upI wash the few dishes I own that have gold trim on them by hand because I’ve heard the dishwasher might wash it off.  These are “Tuscan fine Bone China, Made in England.”

tea time

Pretty dishes, so inspiring, you really must have tea!

Just a little bit of everything in this old hutch.  With colors and patterns like these, how can anyone not fall in love with dishes?

Some of you probably recognize this cup; it’s part of a tea set I designed for Lenox.  They’re not being made anymore, which seems to be the same thing you can say about everything these days!  One of the fall-outs from the economy, at least as far as I’m concerned, are all the products I designed that never got made.  Especially dishes! ♥  I’ve never been able to show these designs before . . . another good reason to love the computer and blog world!  This domed cake plate was the one I loved the most . . . one of the victims of the changing economy, but now, blog worthy!

I designed lots of things for the wonderful 250+ year-old China maker, Wedgwood that, unfortunately, never saw the light of day, until today!!  Back around 2002, Wedgwood asked for a complete collection of everything! Sugars, creamers, cake plates, butter dishes, dinner plates, mugs, tea pots, vases, jars, dresser trays, ice cream bowls, baby dishes, hanging plaques, glasses and accessories too, and pitchers . . . I love dishes so much, this was a dream job!!!

I drew and painted lots of ideas; here’s an earthenware milk pitcher and a hand-painted glass lemonade pitcher with a bird on the lid!  Who would not want this!!?

 The economy started changing around the time I was painting these and, unfortunately, Wedgwood never made them (heart breaker — but I worked with really nice people at Wedgwood–it wasn’t their fault, just a sign of the times!).  I designed clear-glass formal candlesticks, and these green casual candlesticks.  Many things had back, side and top views; this candlestick came with my removable crystal bird bobêche.  I wanted everything to feel a little bit vintage and have wonderful details.  (I’m sorry, but crystal bird bobêche???  Is this not a must-have?)

I designed lots of glasses too, all kinds: etched, hand-painted with little flowers, cut and colored; and I named them; this champagne glass was “Sabrina.”  Doesn’t she look like a Sabrina?  You have to use your imagination to hear the clear ring she would make when toasting — to see the sparkle she would have made when held up to the light, how the cunning little champagne bubbles would have drifted to the top to tickle your nose!  I also designed a tall, thin, etched, green ice-tea glass I called “Katherine” — there was also “Ingrid,” and “Audrey.”  I named them after old movies and movie stars.

This is a whistling tea cup.  When it’s filled with liquid, you can blow the bird whistle; it gurgles and sounds like a chirping bird.  Not made.  Hello?

Of course, I had to make a red-lidded jar!  I had a whole line of these jars in all sizes, for cookies and sugar — the tall one for pasta had a red-striped enamel lid.

I used lots of words; for example, there was a set of eight cups, each one was a different shape and size, and each had different quote on them; I called them “conversation cups” because I thought they would get people talking around the table.

I guess I should stop!  I could do this all day, but you get the idea! It was a very fun job, and now that I can finally show them to you, it was all worth it!  We can pretend!  But onward and upward, it’s another day!

 (P.S. If you liked the music today, it’s from the Movie Midnight in Paris, which, if you haven’t seen it, I think you would love!)  Hope you enjoyed Dishland!  Byeeeee! 

259 Responses to Old China Dishes

  1. Betty says:

    Good Day Susan, I just found your Vintage Dishes post and thoroughly enjoyed it. I also have a weakness for vintage dishes in all their pretty floral patterns and colors. I have several sets, different patterns and add pieces as I find them at resale shops and estate sales to the groans of my husband. Maybe I’ll start a rental business someday. I wanted you to know that I’ve made your Cream Scones several times adding my own flavor variations and have always received many rave reviews, so Thank You for sharing! You make me want to paint more often. I’d love to be able to make a good living at the things I love to do but all the things I have to do get in the way. Love your style, you are an inspiration. Hugs,

  2. Susan,
    I happened to see your website today for the first time and love the photos of your kitchen and your china dishes. I was recently on vacation on Vancouver Island and stopped at an antique store and found some Copeland Spode dishes/plates (Rose Briar) and fell in love with them. I grew up with Johnson Brothers dishes (Sheraton) and still use them every day. I also have some plates with roses/flowers that I bought at an antique store (Masons’ Nolob- England). So I love the flowers in your china (Johnson Brothers Rose Chintz). I have never written to a blog before but your blog is exceptional. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Scottie4851 says:

    Would you PLEASE (with the required, but not too much, sugar on top) come and do a book signing at Schuler Books in Okemos (Lansing area) Michigan? I can’t believe you were in Grand Rapids in 2013 and I missed the opportunity to have some of your cookbooks and A Fine Romance personalized. Aaaaargh! I have scrap booked multi-volume “family treasure” cookbooks for my two daughters. Thank you for the inspiration, the materials and making the world a lovelier place!
    Kind regards from Michigan,

    • sbranch says:

      I would love to, but it’s always up to the bookstores who they invite. I can call and ask, but usually that’s not the way it works, so the next time you’re in there, ask your events person to get in touch with me at [email protected]/~susanbs3/susanbranch/ and then maybe we’ll get to schedule something!

      • Scottie4851 says:

        Thanks so much, Susan, for the prompt reply. I have already left a message for Whitney, the events coordinator at Schuler Books, to please call me regarding your book tour. The gentleman who took my call was very familiar with A Fine Romance and commented that having you visit Schuler Books would be “very exciting”! It certainly would!!
        I will keep my fingers crossed.

        Kind regards,

        • sbranch says:

          THANK YOU Karen! They so much would rather hear from a customer than from an author about things like this, it’s a big help! xoxo

    • Liz Shields says:

      This is my friend who loves you as much as I do. I can’t wait to get your new book in the mail.

  4. Jessica says:

    I was re-visiting this page to look at the cakeplate again. I would love to have one should anyone ever decide to make them! It’s fabulous and just what I was looking for!

  5. ann says:

    I recently came across a set of long narrow china dishes, that look like they would hold about a row of olives. Like maybe six in each dish? Do you have any idea what these would have been used for? They are probs 100 years old. Havent been able to find a place setting utilizing them, and they are british.

    • Suzette Shoulders says:

      Could those narrow dishes be ‘bone dishes’? For the bones from poultry? Someone once told me that is what the narrow dishes are. I adore china and pottery, and wish I had a set of Johnson Brothers “Rose Chintz”. Mama had a wee set when i was little, and Auntie Carmelita had a BIG set of it. I particularly loved the square breakfast plates, oh, my! Even at age 8 I loved dishes, LOL! Such fun to see all those dishes I WISH were made! I bought the fabric designed by Susan with the dear quotes, and they are part of a quilt now!

    • Danielle says:

      Hi, Ann. If the dish is long and skinny, like an elongated rectangular shape, it’s most likely an olive dish. Bone dishes are typically crescent-shaped and able to hold several bones without having any fall onto the table (yuck!). Then again, if they are quite long, they may hold chopsticks.

  6. Sylvia in Seattle says:

    So fun to visit this dish page again. I have a yellow Oven Ware butter dish. It’s my favorite thing – both the dish AND the butter 🙂 Also a few small pieces of this same type of ware in orange.

  7. Winnie says:

    Susan: I loved looking at your lovely tea cups and china collection. I collect tea pots and tea cups and find they bring so much joy on a day that needs some! I received 4 Copeland Spode cups/saucers for Christmas from a dear friend. She knows I LOVE lemon in my tea and she also gave me a lemon plate and lemon fork. I had no idea they existed, but boy do I love them! Merry Christmas!

  8. Tracke says:

    Hello, I was wondering if the older pink pastoral Johnson brothers dishes are microwave save, dishwasher safe and ok for everday use?
    would love your feedback. thank you

    • sbranch says:

      I use them every day, put them in the dishwasher, and in the microwave, and I think they are okay. Nothing bad has happened yet anyway.

      • Tracie says:

        thank you so much for your reply, I have a friend with lots of different china and dishes and other than gold or silver on them she would use them like any other dish you would use today. I fell in love with a set , but also wanted the practicality of everyday use. Thank you so much for getting back to me.

        • sbranch says:

          I use all mine that way. The same for me, if they have gold on them I use them less because they can’t go in the dishwasher.

  9. Amy says:

    Susan, I just found your blog. I have enjoyed so much of your art over the years. Thank you for sharing a little of your home and your fabulous treasure trove of vintage dishes. It looks like a home filled with inspiration. I’m sorry Wedgwood wasn’t able to make these pieces. They are soooo lovely!

  10. Mca Jean Gholson says:

    Would the Golden Wheat design dishes from early 60s be dishwasher safe?

    • sbranch says:

      The only kind of dish that I don’t put in the dishwasher are the ones with gold or silver plate on them. But you should ask someone more knowledgeable than me.

  11. Patty Farrin says:

    Dear Susan, I love your blog and website! We share a love for many of the same things! If only dishes and tea cups, saucers and teapots could talk! My husband and I own an antique auction company and tea room here in Maine. I would love to have you come to one of our auctions and also for a tea party! Everything you love in one stop!! Thank you for your unending inspiration, Susan! I am hoping to see you on Martha’s Vineyard this summer at the book signing~

  12. Julie says:

    Hi Susan,

    I absolutely love your blog and have all your books. We are visiting the Cape from Canada at the moment and I was able to pick up a signed copy of your new book from Titticombe books in East Sandwich where you be in July. So sorry to have missed you, but glad I got the book. I am devouring it right now and enjoying every word! I have some Johnson Brothers rose chintz and just saw some of their old British castle in pink in a consignment store here the other day, and just may go back to get it. Imhave a huge collection of Emma Bridgewater and that is our every day dinnerware.

    Thanks for sharing your story in your books. You are an excellent writier and I think most every woman can relate. Thank you for your creativity and psitive thinking. Hope to meet up with you one of these days.

    If we take the ferry to the Vineyard, where would tou recommend visiting?

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Julie! I see you’re a dish person just like me! The Island: you can choose any place at all, go wander around a village, or along a beach. All the towns are wonderful. If you only have a day, drive around the Island and stop willy-nilly at whatever you find that interests you. Then you’ll know where you want to come back to. It’s all wonderful as far as I’m concerned. You could also wander around the Methodist Camp Ground in Oak Bluffs ~ very old, charming houses . . . Have fun!

  13. Nancy Halsema says:

    Good Morning Susan, I am a new Girl Friend and wanted you to know that that beautiful china pattern with the rose pink and floral border is called “Lady Carlyle” from the Royal Albert Bone China collection. I am currently selling a cup, saucer and dinner plate on Ebay because it is time for me to cut down on my china obsession. By the way, I have cornered the mark on Red transferware – can’t stop myself. Thus giving up the Lady Carlyle is part of the 12-step program.

  14. Marilyn Young says:

    OMGosh, just looked at your dishes, etc. What a delicious treat to see all of these wonderful mix of dishes. My daughter makes cups, etc. for people as gifts and they also are adorable. You are a gem!

  15. Barbara A Case says:

    Did anyone ever reply to ‘Em’ about the chair fabric? I love it too! I have a chair that would look fabulous with it.

  16. Jan says:

    I love all the designs that you made. Hope someone will pick up on these and make them for you. They are wonderful and I would like to have some. Happy new day!🌺

  17. Germaine D'Silva says:

    Hello Susan, greetings from Melbourne Australia! I am so soooooo happy I found
    you: happened only last week! I just adore your Blog and your books…My husband
    has ordered the Trilogy for me for Christmas…cant wait Susan. Reading
    A FINE ROMANCE and enjoying every page…you are definitely a kindered soul!
    You will not believe this, but only today I went for a browse to our local Thrift
    Shop and guess what I found….The Rose Chintz plates. There were only 4 but
    I bought them for a song…Love your vintage linen too. And did I mention that
    Love, Germaine

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Germaine! So nice to hear from you! Yes, no doubt, kindred spirits ~ congratulations on the great Rose Chintz find! Happy to have you here! xoxo

  18. Joan Lesmeister says:

    So beautiful! Never get tired of your beautiful pictures and blogs…..revisiting dear old friends….! Thank you! Today would be rest day but washer needs replacing….yikes….back to reality….ugh!!! xoxo BTW, It’s freezing cold here, beautiful sunny day!!!

  19. Grace Elliott says:

    I wonder if you can tell me what these are called and where would I go to find out about them. I think they were used at ladies card games, small tray with sections. One for tea cup, ashtray and one for sandwich or whatever.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m not sure what “these” are …but if they are glass trays with divisions or indentations for a cup, then you are right, they are for luncheons. Some of them are very pretty, I use one of them on top of my dresser for my jewelry. The divisions work well for that.

  20. Vicki Wells says:

    Hi Susan, Loving reading your website by the fireplace. It’s raining outside the I couldn’t be cozier because I have your beautiful site to read. My question is that I have a built in “golden Oak” cabinet opposite the kitchen with a counter top and glass doors on the top cabinets. I can’t stand golden oak so I have to have it painted. Aside from that, I keep my fine crystal, china and collectibles behind glass because my housekeeper will attempt to dust my things and always breaks something. Do you have a housekeeper or who washes those beautiful dishes for you without the doors? I’d love to set up a display like that. Thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      No, I can’t let my housekeeper do that because accidents do happen, and I don’t want them broken so I do it myself. Maybe twice a year, I just go shelf by shelf, put everything into the dishwasher, wipe down the shelves with soapy water . . . it really doesn’t take long, and it gets everything shiny again, and if anyone breaks anything, it’s me, and much easier to deal with than when it’s someone else! And it’s worth it, because I always wanted open shelves. There were doors on my big open cupboards when we moved here, but my dad took them off for me, and I’ve been happy ever since.

  21. Priscilla Bodwell says:

    Delightful page to look at on yet another snow day in the Lakes Region N.H. Yesterday I pulled out about 20 pieces of red & white dishes, to photograph a Valentine picture. Decided to check your blog. Love this page on old & new dishes. I have collected dishes in my marriage of 45 years & continuing now for a total of 56 years after my husband passed away. My daughter is also a big fan & has most of your books. I am presently reading Isle of Dreams. Being the Librarian in a small country library, when I was working I ordered all of your books for our reading patrons. Thank you for being you!!, so needed in our present troubled country. Written from my home at Bodwell Tree Farm and Christmas trees, Sanbornton N.H.

  22. Pam says:

    I haven’t read all the comments so I apologize if this has been said already…but I see a book of all your designs that never “saw the light of day”. Along with your commentary, such as it is above, would be DELIGHTFUL!!

    I am one of 25 grandchildren of my maternal grandmother. She was definitely not a woman of means, but she had a few precious items. I was fortunate to inherit a few pieces of her china collection when I was 13 years old and saved them for many years until I could display them. I am not able to post a picture in comments, otherwise I would. Just last year, my paternal aunt gave me a small collection of teacups and saucers from her mother. She was inspired by my other collection. I LOVE having them, I only wish I knew the story behind them all.
    My mother’s oldest sister was a yard sale (we call them a tag sale) aficionado and had ton’s of silver ware. She gave each of her three daughter’s in law a set for their wedding. When she passed, her husband gave me her set. I was still young…in college and saved them for many, many years until I said…”why not” and now I use them for every day and they are much loved.
    I do so love reading your words … it’s truly like sitting with you and pouring over scrapbooks. You are a panacea in a world of chaos and strife!! Like a mother’s hand on your brow whispering, “everything will be all right”.
    Thank you,
    Pam from Vermont

    • sbranch says:

      That is a beautiful compliment Pam, thank you so much.💞 Loved your dishes stories! Hope you enjoyed my Vermont post . . . it was lovely up there (as I am sure you know!).

  23. Pam Baker says:

    I did enjoy your Vermont post. I wish I would have had the chance to encourage you to visit the Jericho Historical Society museum in Jericho before you went. They house the Snowflake Bentley Exhibit which is fascinating. And the building is right up your alley, an old red mill. I love it and have a decent picture of it when we went.
    Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I know you are a busy woman and I appreciate it immensely.
    Pam from Vermont

  24. Wendy Reynolds says:

    Dear Susan,
    Here I thought I was the only nutty person who loves dishes that perhaps are used once a year but can not bear to give them up! They are used mainly for friends parties but also for family Thanksgiving, brown transfer with a flying turkey, at Christmas, an unmarked white with gold edge and scattered green branches, and lastly at Easter, white dish with gold and purple motif- a precursor to Royal Crown Derby. At this time, the pink luster cow creamers seem to appear. Pink luster is a favorite and am willing it to my granddaughter who is all about pink already! I also use the luster for my yearly Valentine’s Day luncheon.
    Special dishes make all events more special but I did love the quote about what is in the chairs.
    This blog has made my day. Thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh yes Wendy, clearly we are two of a kind! Lots of others like us on this Blog too! My etched yellow depression glasses are clean and sparkling and ready for Easter . . . it’s spring, so we have to celebrate!

  25. Lindsay says:

    What a beautiful collection! We’re going to be having a tea party Birthday with our Rose Chintz collection. I LOVE your pink tumbler glasses. Do you know the manufacturer?!

    Thank you!!! xo

  26. Dottie Bauer says:

    Hi Susan…have been a fan of yours for years, and enjoyed meeting you in Prescott, AZ last year at your garden tea paraty. I have had a set of english bone china from my Swedish grandmother sitting around for over 50 years….however, since I am now in my mid-seventies, I am feeling I should find somewhere to sell this set….But I have no idea where or how to go about it. Any suggestions from you or your readers?

  27. Paula Campbell says:

    “Old China” by Charles Lamb is wonderful. He expresses his love for china in a way I can identify.

  28. Deborah Louise Brownlie says:

    Hello Susan,

    Just finished reading your lovely book, “A Fine Romance”, your journey throughout the English countryside. It was so sad that I had to return this wonderful read (book) to the library, here in Rock port, where I live (Cape Ann, MA). I will have to buy it, simple as that. I love your “rose chintz” everyday china, I have the same dishes! – I have seen this pattern in many magazines, and onetime in a movie. There is a lavender floral pattern that I find endearing, however this pattern, I believe, has been discontinued ( by Johnson Brothers) – sometimes I see some pieces on E bay. I can resonate with so many of your stories and experiences. I lived in VA/W,DC area for so many years, but found myself returning to Mass (home state) and enjoying the peace, solitude and privacy, that I was craving. No doubt Cape Ann, has been a refuge for me, the sea (shore) alone holds many healing properties. I am looking forward to reading your other books, returning to Europe and visiting England. Thank you for your wonderful gifts. Warm regards, dlb

  29. Jennifer Begovic says:

    The Mintons pink pattern with the strange
    bird is called Cockatrice. It comes in a few different colors.

  30. Robin Ann says:

    I am so crazy for old China. I’m going to need a bigger house. I just was browsing in Replacements and discovered “Woodland” from Spode that has all sorts of wild creatures andvwoukd be perfect for autumn. Pheasants, quail, partridges, fish…such cool pieces. I love Williamsburg Potpourri and Bianca, old Syracuse and Buffalo china and I’m a fool for transferware. Thanks for sharing your love of sweet old things.

  31. Keren Baldwin-Snyder Wheeler says:

    Delightful! I too love old china….there is nothing as thrilling as finding a neglected treasure of china sitting on a back shelf in a thrift shop for holding the pencils at the garage sale! Thank you for sharing!

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