Hunting for China
On October 1, the board of the 1900 theater is having their meeting at the Cross House, and dinner will be served.
Last November, I had my first (and only) dinner in the house, my Day-After-Thanksgiving gala.
We used paper plates and plastic cup and plastic forks. And I was surprised at how, ah, grim this was. Because the dining room looks like a bomb has gone off in it with massive holes in the walls and ceiling, and with wires dangling, I had not thought that paper and plastic would matter. It did. I had underestimated the innate elegance of the dining room, its condition notwithstanding. It is a room which requires china. And crystal glassware.
So, back to October 1.
I have been frantically searching for a set of good china. For four decades I have walked by countless sets of china in antique stores and flea markets with nary a moment of consideration given. Why would I ever want or need a china set for twelve for?
Yet, here I am. Lusting after a china set for twelve.
First, I began a search for Haviland china, because my grandmother owned a complete set so this is hardwired in my memory. I went to eBay and the pieces which looked sorta kinda like what my grandmother owned (very elaborate and almost certainly from the Victorian-era) were scary expensive even for a single piece.
While the above plate was marked HAVILAND on the back, it had no pattern name. This would make it nearly impossible to ever find a complete set (assuming I won the lottery).
So, fond memories aside, I immediately gave up on finding Grandma’s china.
The set was for twelve and nearly complete. But it was $500. And I sooooooooooo was not willing to spend $500, even though I understand this is a good price for a set of fine china. I just could not get out of my head the sets that I spent four decades passing up for like $80!
However, Bancroft pieces were readily available on eBay and Replacements so I would not worry about a piece breaking. And I could easily find the pieces missing from the set.
The set was but $20 a 7-piece place setting ($240 total for a set of twelve) but the shipping was $180, or $420 total! Yikes! And, me being me, I would never be happy without the matching salt/pepper and gravy boat with plate and serving bowls and a tea set. Could I ever even find these pieces? And for how much?
Plus, I didn’t love the set.
And don’t love matter?
Then…then…I remembered that I already had a set of china. Sorta.
The rich purple color would work in the dining room as that is the color the walls will be.
Excited, I began The Hunt For More.
An absurd amount of hours later, I was able to acquire more than I had initially thought possible, and all quite cheaply.
I now have:
- Dinner plates: 12
- Salad plates: 6
- Bread butter plates: 12
- Fruit bowls: 12
- Soup bowls: 12
- Large serving bowl: 3
- Cake plate: 1
- creamer/suger: 1
- Tea cups: 8
- Tea cup saucers: 12
- Gravy boat & plate: 0
- Salt/pepper: 0
- Round covered votable bowl: 0
So, not complete but complete enough for October 1!
If somebody had told me not long ago that I would one day care about having a fine china set for twelve I would have laughed and laughed.
But this, apparently, is what great old houses do to people.
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