Prestigious Dining

Ornate silver soup tureen embellished with petal shapes, scrolls, and floral fittings, photographed on an angle

When it comes to design sensibilities today, I think many would describe this tureen as somewhat gaudy – particularly because any extravagant covered dish for serving soup would be a strange addition to modern dinner tables. However, this style of decorative art was once considered the height of refinement. Emerging from the salons of early […]

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Fortunate Babies

Slightly oxidised, silver cup with a small circle handle

This little silver mug, with its matching porringer bowl, might have been presented to the parents of a fortunate baby in the early 1900s. Baby-sized sets of silver tableware have been popular christening gifts since they were first introduced in Stuart England. Given by godparents, they were a kind of good-luck charm, invoking prosperity and […]

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Table Heirlooms

These napkin rings belonged to the Wilson family of Berry.  James C Wilson (1834-1901) emigrated to Australia in 1857 and found work on the Berry Estate, before co-founding Wilson and Co. Store, establishing other business interests that included coal mining, and becoming Berry’s first Mayor.  Around 1880, with wife Robina nee Tait (1849-1918), the Wilsons […]

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What Rhymes with Porringer?

Slightly oxidised, silver bowl with small circle handles

If someone were to politely offer you ‘a little silver porringer of hot terrapin’ would you eagerly accept, respectfully decline, or ask for more information? While such an offer might bewilder contemporary diners, an 1880s gourmet would lick their lips in anticipation of tucking into some creamy turtle soup served in a small silver bowl. […]

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In the Soup

Simple soup tureen made of silver

Soup was an important part of nineteenth century dining. In her 1863 book of household management, Mrs Beeton devotes fifty pages to soup, ranging from the cheap and cheerful ‘Hodge-podge’ to turtle soup – ‘the most expensive brought to table’. Soup was always the first course at any meal, and in wealthier households was brought […]

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Handsome Gifts

A dinner set has long been one of the most useful wedding gifts a couple can receive. Historically, porcelain and bone china tablewares were both highly valuable and fragile, so many recipients only dined on them on special occasions. But this cream earthenware set, probably given to Lurlie (Lurline) (née Bailey) and Arthur Jakins, as […]

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Crockery Craze

On arriving back to home to Coniston in the 1940s, Doris Grace Hall (née Garrad) (1909-2001) likely took this fine bone china sugar bowl and creamer jug from her suitcase, carefully shifted other pieces around in her china cabinet, and proudly placed them on the shelf. Perhaps they always remained there, never to be filled […]

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