Aqua and deep orange is not a colour combination that first comes to mind when designing a tablescape.
But it works, by gum!
I’d been mentally toying with what flowers to use with these Bideford Aqua plates. Deep orange dahlias? Chrysanthemums? Daylilies?… though those are very tricky as they close up at end of day. Happily, Trader Joe’s had a few bunches of ranunculus in just the right vibrant shade.
At first, I thought I’d add more flowers to the mix; the table looked pretty skimpy.
But I really liked how the shape of the flowers with their spindly, curving stems echoed the sparse depiction in the centre of the plate (though I think those flowers are tree peonies). Purple or vibrant green would be another choice.
Even the name is appealing. Ranunculus. It reminds me of runcible, the nonsense word from The Owl and the Pussycat: “They dined on mince and slices of quince, which they ate with a runcible spoon.”
I’m unclear on the history of Bideford Aqua. It’s by Wedgwood, and to my mind, much more appealing than the white version, known simply as Bideford. In any event, it’s discontinued. I found it during a web-crawl on Replacements. They had no stock, but I loved the pattern so much I requested they find it for me. They came up trumps a couple of years ago with eight plates and I’ve been dying to set a table with them ever since.
I paired the plates with antique aqua needle-etched and Venetian goblets from Elise Abrams Antiques.
The aqua-edged napkins with a faint grey stripe are from HomeGoods. The bakelite handled flatware is part of a canteen set I got many years ago from now-defunct Country Dining Room Antiques.
The napkin rings are from Amazon. They provide a lot of bang for very little buck.
The open salts are from Etsy, lo these many years ago.
Votive candles sit happily in chicken-wire-clad jars are from Harvest of Barnstable. Though they’re a rustic element, the delicacy of the bronze wire works well on the table.
The Gold Lustre Rim Chargers are from Pier 1 a few years ago. Enormously versatile, they take up surprisingly little space; they’re not awfully thick, though quite heavy. They’re still available.
One more look at the ranunculus. Happy sigh. Hmmm – where else can I deploy their charms?
It’s shaping up to be an unsettled weather day here on the Cape. We are hoping to get lobster rolls from the takeout place at the local harbour this evening and enjoy a picnic dinner on the beach at low tide. Fingers crossed that it works out. One of my favourite summer rituals is enjoying a glass of wine on the beach late in the day, lingering until the returning tide chases us off the flats. There is slight swelling on the tide flats I call “Gilligan’s Island”, where we often sit. Engrossed in a book, it’s easy to get marooned on the “island” as the incoming tide creeps in behind and catches us unawares, Realization dawns with wet feet and sinking beach chair.
Enjoy your respective days, dear readers!
I’m sharing this post with Between Naps on the Porch.
How elegant! I love the combination of ranunculus and vintage aqua plates and delicate goblets.
My other favorite flower nasturtium might have worked as well. I’m always looking for new ways to display them.
I have nasturtium envy when I see them cascading over the Gardner Museum courtyard.
Enjoyed your runcible spoon reference !
Oh, Kathleen, you’re so right about nasturtium! They would have been perfect. I’ll keep it in mind for Bideford’s next outing.
Hope all is well with you and Ron. Thinking about doing a Murder on the Orient Express dinner 🙂
Beautiful table. I love the color combination. Lots of pretty elements in this tablescape. The plates are lovely and the glasses compliment them perfectly. I like how you have coordinating glasses in two different patterns.
Thanks, Lorri! The coordinating glasses were a nice surprise for us when we first started purchasing things for the Cape House. I knew I was going with a more relaxed decor and had settled on aqua, sand and rusty reds as the colours. The glasses were a real bonus!
There is a lot to be admired on this table. The Bideford Aqua would be my choice also . over the plainer version and it looks so beautiful with the crystal you selected. Your little open salts are so versatile as is your canteen flatware. And seeing your amazing barley twist dining chairs is always a treat, For such sturdy furniture they play very well with a more formal table setting.
The color combination of brilliant orange and pale teal/aqua is unexpected but is one that was used for many years with great success by the Howard Johnson’s roadside restaurant chain, though their aqua matched the intensity of the orange color. Your brilliant orange ranunculus add such a lively touch and to my mind their color is a better choice than purple or green.
Ms. Garner’s suggestion for nasturtium is wonderful. plus you could sprinkle additional blossoms on a salad to serve on these plates. As an aside, Replacement’s currently has available a dozen square salad plates in Bideford Aqua. I love a square salad. if your previous postings hadn’t already convinced me that I need to find and purchase so many other china patterns you would have to race me for them.
As a child I had a ginger cat named Runcible – your Owl and the Pussycat reference brought back a good many happy memories. As did your mention of lobster rolls -which wouldn’t look too shabby on the Bideford. Lovely coral morsels of lobster would be gorgeous – no?
Well. you can see how this post has set my heart nd mind to dreaming. Thanks for a very pleasant morning.
P.S. Would you be up to answering some styling questions? I’ve acquired some dishes that are giving me fits over what crystal and flatware to use with it.
I hadn’t made the Howard Johnson connection, but you’re quite right! And yes, nasturtiums are an edible flower that would look just lovely as a garnish for food.
I noticed the square salad plates this morning when I went to get the link to the Replacements site. Like you, I love square salad plates and am actively restraining myself. They weren’t in their inventory when I purchased my dinner plates; I notice they’ve restocked on those, too. It would be fascinating to have a conversation with all their pieces about their former lives. Where did you live? Did you have many outings? Who did you play with?
Ginger cats are the very best; they’re like no other feline and Runcible is a perfect name for a marmalade cat. If I ever get another one, he will be named Dundee. I’ve had Tiggers and Marmalades in succession since I was a small child, with a Cookie and Archie (brother to Veronica, or Ronnie, our current calico cat).
I would be delighted to offer suggestions on styling. How marvellous to get to play with someone else’s collection, even if only virtually! Fire away, please. You can email me directly if you wish at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your setting is a lovely interpretation of orange and aqua. With those two colors I’m usually transported back to the early 60’s and the explosion of colors. Nice to see them used so elegantly. Wedgwood Bideford has a twin — Wedgwood Kutani Crane. I had to retrieve my plates to make sure. The only differences I can see are that Kutani Crane is edged in brown, not gold, and has a different combination of flowers on the rim. And a white background, not aqua.
Thanks, Sandra. The similarities between the two patterns are uncanny. Bideford (the white one) has a green rim from what I can see on Replacements. And yes, the flowers are a little bit different. But amazingly close. Do you enjoy using Crane? How do you usually style it? So much fun!
Your plates are absolutely beautiful! Worth the wait. You certainly have beautiful China and glasses! I always enjoy reading your posts on tablescapes.
Thanks, Maureen. I always appreciate it when readers take the time to comment. Glad you’re enjoying the site. 🙂
Here in Wisconsin it’s common for snow to be around 6 months of the year minimum. Therefore these summery settings are extra inspirational to me. Setting a Thanksgiving or wintry holiday table easier. You’re a terrific teacher, Helen. I feel like I am learning many things from your blog.
Just in case the “runcible spoon” confused readers, it is basically an old fashioned version of a ” spork”, curved fork/ spoon combo and a real utensil, Owl & Pussycat.
So now we know that a runcible spoon isn’t just a fantasy name! Fabulous!