THE TREASURES OF CHINA PLATE COLLECTING

By: John Hogan

Whatever ones reasoning behind collecting china plates, it usually begins with a pretty sentimental treasure found in grandma's house.

GEORGE JONES SPANISH FESTIVITIES

MALING WARE, BLUE & WHITE TRANSFER WARE PLATE, C. 1940-50

MALING WARE TRANSFERWARE PLATE

At first it probably results as a liking for color, shape and subject. Some people like florals, others like pastoral or romantic scenes; yet others like buildings e.g. churches, hospitals, schools and colleges.

Many years ago it was fashionable to have a plate rail in the dining room that was about two feet from the ceiling all the way around the room. It gave way for conversation, added charm and warmth to the complete dining experience. It was a way to decorate that gave a special experience to those who entered the room. Depending on the stature of the home owner, the plate rail was a reflection of the taste and wealth of the residents. Many times it was a theme of great Early Blue & White China or a mixture of different color Transferware which was always associated with the aristocratic and more affluent of the times. Sometimes it may have been Historical China; other times it may have been Flow Blue China, Gaudy Dutch, Gaudy Welsh or Spongeware. On other occasions it may have been very fine examples of Early Hand Painted Porcelains from England or France. In the early days of plate collecting, the plate rail was generally a reflection of the more learned or well traveled person who wished to display proudly their prized china acquisitions through the course of their travels.

As a decorative feature, the plate rail eventually evolved into having a mixture of plates that did not necessarily have a theme. It was more naive and was not truly representative of the wealth of the family rather a mixture of grandma's china that was displayed for its sentimental value.


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