Sunday, July 3, 2011

English Afternoon Tea Vintage Tea Sets and Cake Stands

The sun is shining, the sky is blue, Andy Murray is out of Wimbledon, boo hoo!
It's summertime in the northern hemisphere and we've got our shorts on. Some of us have at any rate. What better way to make the most of this glorious weather than by taking afternoon tea alfresco? I don't mean burned sausages on the barbecue thank you. Let's recreate the refined English afternoon tea and have proper sandwiches cut into triangles and without the crusts please. I don't care if crusts make your hair curl. I had a perm in 1986 and it didn't suit me. No, I want dainty cupcakes and strawberry teas. Having twelve jars of homemade strawberry jam to get through that's a lot of scones and clotted cream too. I'm thinking tea on the lawn sipped from a bone china teacup and a slice of Victoria sponge eaten from a tea plate with a dessert fork. Pleasant conversation whispered above the gentle rush of a hand pushed lawnmower and the crack of a cricket ball on willow. Ah nostalgia! Now we have the relentless drone of electric mowers and power washers deafening the ears on a Sunday afternoon. Never mind. Life moves on a pace but traditions thankfully endure. Even the great British tea room cake stand has evolved and I hope you'll enjoy some of our latest teacup topped and quirky cake stands brought bang up to date with the charm of vintage nostalgia for a Great British afternoon tea in the sunshine.

A colourful three tier cake stand created from vintage Crown Regent china.

'Chelsea Girl' A mixed English fine bone china cake stand in pretty pink floral patterns. Pink apple blossom by New Chelsea, soft pink roses and a delicate poppy pattern teacup and saucer top from Tuscan china.

'Stardust' A soft yellow and dazzling gold tiered vintage cake stand made from beautiful fine bone china Royal Worcester dated precisely 1955. The bowl base gives it a quirky twist and is prefect for serving sweeties and anything that might otherwise roll off the plate.

'Blossom' A pastel pink and green cake stand decorated with soft feminine floral motifs.

'Alice's Tea Party'. An exclusive Cake Stand Heaven teapot topped cake stand. Inspired by Alice in Wonderland and the Mad Tea Party hosted by the Hatter.

Of course you'll need some teacups and saucers and tea plates for those dainty sandwiches and slices of cake. Above is an eclectic English bone china tea set decorated with tasteful patterns in shades of blue, green and ochre yellow, with a hint of classic red and finished with gold.

We do like to have a little of the best of everything! Why stick to one pattern when you can have a collection of the prettiest? This pink themed tea set is made from beautiful vintage English bone china decorated with divine pink floral patterns. They just don't make them this pretty anymore.

A fashionable mismatched vintage china tea set. I say mismatched but if I say so myself it takes something of an artistic eye and some skill to achieve a pleasing result. I love truly eclectic tea sets. It's the joy again of having a little of everything. Wonderful colours and patterns and shapes, and of course you can keep adding to it at leisure until it fills your entire cupboard space and your Welsh dresser and your display cabinet...

'Vintage Florals' Another beautiful eclectic tea set. Six tea trios in gorgeous patterns sadly long since out of production. The beauty being however, that it can be added to with more lovely vintage tea trios if your guest list grows.

If you want a traditional matching tea set then what about this one from the 1940s? Made by Windsor china and in beautiful condition. I think this is a very tasteful and understated set of teacups and tea plates. Hand tinted and finished in a blue trim.

The 1950s and the grim days of rationing are well and truly in the past! This fabulous retro tea set is fine quality china and was made by Queen Anne. The pattern is called Glade owing no doubt to the subtle meadow grasses decoration on the side of the teacups and tea plate centres. The real wow factor however has to be that fabulous shade of sunshine yellow. This has surely got to cheer you up when you pour a cup of tea on a grey day!

The 1960s and here we have the famous Coalport Cabbage Leaf design. A tea set inspired by natural form and texture. There's something very special about the tactile feel of these teacups too. The exquisite quality of the china has an almost 'soap-like' feel to it. This design is one that will endure because it is so versatile and timeless.

Next time I might bring you something antique and take you right back to high tea with the Edwardians and Victorians. This means of course you are not allowed to throw a couple of teabags into the teapot and you absolutely must remove the rind from your cucumber to make the perfect turn of the century sandwiches.

I wonder what the Edwardians would have said about mismatching their best china?

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