My dear readers…you know how I love story telling and today is no exception.
You see, this story has romance…..
…………and young love. sigh!
The story of young love begins on a simple dinner plate, which I have also used in my tablescape today.
The plate is a distinctive and elaborate chinoiserie pattern of brilliant blue and white.
Is that a good clue? Do you know what the plate pattern is called?
If you do not know…let me set the stage for this story:
On this plate you will see a beautiful garden with an arched bridge over the water. There is also a tall pagoda type pavilion which has 3 large pillars with arched windows. The roof and gable are duplicated by a smaller building just to the left. The buildings are very ornate with curling finials at the gables and at the eaves. The buildings are surrounded by trees with varied fruits and foliage. In particular, a very large tree is seen behind the large building. There are clusters of oranges on this tree. There is also a path that leads to an arched bridge.
Legend has it…a wealthy Mandarin, had a beautiful daughter. Her name was Koong-se and she was in love with her father’s accounting assistant who was of a lowly social class.
Her father was furious because he had made plans for his daughter to wed a very wealthy Duke, who at this very minute was in a boat on his way to claim his bride, bringing gifts of jewels.
The planned marriage was to take place on the day an orange blossom fell from the tree.
However, Koong-se and the accountant assistant had another plan. Koong-se’s lover disguised himself as a servant and slipped into the palace on the eve of Koong-se’s wedding to the Duke.
The young lovers also decided to take the wedding gift of jewels the Duke had brought from his homeland. So they ran as fast as they could out of the palace, down the path and over the bridge to the Duke’s ship and sailed to a secluded island.
When the father saw what they had done…he gave chase with whips and soldiers, but the two lovers had gotten safely away.
Years later, Koong-se’s father was told of the island where the blissfully happy lovers had gone. He had not forgotten the embarrassment of what had happened years earlier and he sent his soldiers to capture the young lovers and put them to death.
However, a beautiful thing happened as the two lover’s died arm in arm. They immediately transformed themselves into a pair of doves and flew away.
You can see them flying over their former homeland at the top of the Blue Willow Plate.
I have another confession to make. I have always loved this Blue Willow pattern made by Johnson Brothers in England. 27 years ago, I had to special order this dinnerware from England and I used this 12 place setting for my everyday dishes up and until a few years ago.
I originally saw this pattern at the Brookville Hotel Restaurant in Kansas where my family and I shared many of the home cooked fried chicken dinners. You can see the story of the Brookville Hotel Restaurant here along with several of their recipes….here. Yum-my good.
I have set up this tablescape using the Blue Willow Dinnerware. I love it now as much as the first day I sat a table with it… all those years ago.
I used blue handled flatware and blue stemmed glasses along with coffee/tea cups. I kept it simple with white napkins and white chargers.
And because it is Fall…I added a few little orange pumpkins…blue, white and orange! Love that combination.
You can see I also have the tea pot, creamer and sugar, platter and other serving pieces. Believe me when I tell you that this dinnerware has been heavily used.
Note the little white bird….I couldn’t resist adding a bird because of the story. Granted it is not a dove…I still think it represents the lovers.
Imagine my delight when I drove by a garage sale several months ago and caught a glimpse of a soup tureen sitting all by itself on a table.
“Stop!” I said to the Captain. “I think that is a blue willow soup tureen”. As I examined it, I noticed that it was not made by Johnson Brothers, but Royal Traditions…but I didn’t care. I also noted that the oranges were positioned differently on my soup tureen, but the doves were there…and on the ladle too!
For a couple dollars, I had added a soup tureen with soup ladle to my collection and I was as happy as those two doves who fly over the homeland.
How about a bit of trivia regarding this wonderful blue and white dinnerware?
Did you know movie makers liked to evoke a 19th-century atmosphere in several American western movies (as well as western television shows so Blue Willow dinnerware can be seen on those western rustic tables.
And the comedy, The Munsters used Blue Willow china as well as the Movie Sleepy Hollow.
Also, two of my favorite television programs featured Blue Willow plates…. The Andy Griffith Show and Murder She Wrote! Most likely to suggest a time when life was simpler.
Are you familiar with this dinnerware and do you love the pattern and story as much as I do?
Leave a comment, I would love to hear from you.
Have a great day and a wonderful beginning to the new week.
Please comment, I'd love to hear from you.