The bouquet of icy white parrot tulips had exploded into a mass of crinoline-like blooms, tossing their elegant heads like a woman emerging from a high-end hair salon.
There was no ignoring them. They craved attention. They demanded attention.
Something had to be done.
The solution was clearly to surround them with other lovely objects. A table had to be set. Immediately! To heck with Valentine’s Day and its requisite pink and red roses.
The tulips were not going to be upstaged; their companions had to be equally confident, prepared to stand on their own merits without shouting “look at me”. Strong colours, then. And some subtle pattern. What tableware was up to the task?
Some vintage soup plates tickled the back of my memory. Where were they? Ah yes, I remember now. There were six of them.
Not very valuable, really rather a poor example of transferware that was almost flow-blue, but somehow, they were just the thing to stand up to those verging-on-overbearing tulips.
The soup plates were vintage Sevres semi-porcelain; their manufacturer had made a bold attempt to capitalize on the famous name of far-superior wares.
Perhaps this unsubtly false claim to fame is from whence they derived their confidence?
Or was it their appearance? I had not been fooled by the name. But I liked their style.
The colours of the flowers were a curious combination – orange, lilac and yellow – adding some subtle oomph without being too bold. And the diamond pattern provided visual texture.
The soup plates glided onto modest dinner plates – Oxford Gold by Royal Doulton; there was already enough ego on this table.
Napkins from Williams Sonoma a few years ago echoed the diamond pattern of the soup plates in happy harmony.
They got along well together – no snubs were issued, no umbrage taken.
Red Wine and Water Glasses in the Belle Epoque pattern by Nachtmann struck up a conversation with an etched glass covered butter dish and vintage gold-rimmed open salts.
Harmony all round.
I left all the players to their own devices and got busy with the camera, immortalizing this clash of the Titans in their one-act tableware play.
Time to take your final bow, everyone.
We finish back where we started, with the stunning beauty of the full-blown parrot tulip.
She’s ready for her close-up, Mr DeMille.
I’m sharing this post with Between Naps on the Porch.
Subtle elegance. Perfection in every detail. Kudos!
Thanks so much, Brenda. It was one of those tables that just about set itself. The tulips were very vocal about their requirements!
Take a bow! I love this tablescape. Definitely a favorite!
Thanks, Bev! It was a fun one.
Helen, your tablescape is a triumph! Thank you for showcasing the amazing white parrot tulips with the beautifully written commentary. The gorgeous soup bowls defy any humbleness. Together your table is bold and beautiful and a special treat for the eyes. Your design reflects your genuine art and skill. I enjoy all your tablescapes, although this one rises to the top!
You’re too kind, Anita. The tulips did most of the heavy lifting. :). I’ve had those soup bowls for more than 20 years. They were among my first forays into vintage china. They’re quite large for their era – perfect for pasta. The very deep blue was so appealing.
Love this. The descriptions had me smiling and imagining the dialogue in that Clash of the Dinnerware Titans. The dinner plates win points for cheek but those tulips are the hands down winners for wit. Now I need to find some of those beauties for myself. Cheers!
Nice to hear from you, Linda! If you’re tempted to welcome the Mae West of flowers into your home, you’ll find them at Fortino’s! Glenn brought two bunches home a week ago and they’ve been going strong ever since. They start out tightly furled and crumpled up, then the petals open so they look more like a tree peony. Enjoy!
With luck there will be some left when we get home at the end of the month! Cheers
What a wonderful way to start off my morning. After reading this amusing narrative and looking at the beautiful setting, I’m prepared to face what the day may bring. I love this table! Thank you for providing a splendid start to the day.
I’m so glad it gave you a lift, Michael. I’m always delighted when others can enjoy tableware as much as I do. I hope your day went as well as its start. Happy Valentine’s Day.
I love the colors in the soup bowls! Beautiful table, and fun commentary!
Thanks for sharing!
Thanks, Melissa. Those soup bowls just caught my interest right from the get go. I think it’s the deep, deep blue and the almost geometric pattern. Have a great day.
Beautiful table! Those tulips are stunning, and I love the blue with them. There’s just enough color in the flowers on those soup plates, and those napkins are perfect with them. A lovely table all around. Happy Valentine’s Day!
The colours are a fun touch, aren’t they? And not the standard fare, either – rather odd combination, but it works somehow. Happy Valentine’s Day to you, also! Have a wonderful day.
In looking at the tulips, can’t you hear the Dowager Countess saying, “Nothing succeeds like excess”. This table looks like a very elegant luncheon at Downton! Personally, I love over-the-top tablescapes and don’t find this excessive at all, but a delightful abundance of color and florals. Just lovely.
A luncheon with watercress soup, perhaps! So Downtown.
Glad you like the table, Cheryl, and you’re giving the Diva-tulips a graceful out.
As I have no Valentine table this year, and I wouldn’t use red if I did, this is refreshing. I like the balloon shape of the Nachtmanns, and the echo of the diamond pattern on plate and serviette. (Who knocked that knife?) The “Sèvres” are a lovely blue; so nice the purple/orange/yellow flowers fade away if you emphasize that strong blue. However, I must take umbrage at the characterization of the parrots. They aren’t divas; they are workhorses. I planted more than 100 wildly wonderful varieties in September and hope to adorn the table with them in May. They last forever and bloom after all the narcissus and lilac have faded and before the iris are full, and they make any table look like a million. I can’t wait for spring in the Alps, after record snowfall!
Let’s blame Dundee for the crooked knife, shall we? Even if he is not the culprit in this isolated case, he’s plenty guilty on many occasions.
Your tulips may be workhorses, Beatrice, but this particular bunch of Divas is of the bonbon eating faction, take my word for it. When your varietiesbloom in May, please share pics! Would love to see them. Mine don’t last more than a season – too many hungry squirrels with whom to go a-roving.
How to do that? Surely you protect yourself from being inundated with readers’ random pix?
Just email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. If we need higher resolution pictures we can set up a shared DropBox.
I LOVE the soup/pasta bowls! Those napkins and bowls are a perfect match. Poor, Dundee, he is so innocent!
Thank you! The bowls are such a deep, inky blue. Much more navy than most blue transfer ware.
Dundee is FAR from innocent, though he has perfected the “who, me?” expression. lol.
This table, the flowers, the narrative…just perfect. Fine art! Fun reading. The lovely swirls on the gorgeous glassware were the perfect balance to the diamond patterns elsewhere and gave the tulips admirable competition – no easy feat. Love it all! Also, I have it on good authority from a friend of Dundee’s that he is innocent and Clementine is to blame.
Dundee would be happy to go with your authority’s input. I fear, however, that if Clementine were the culprit a lot more disruption than the odd piece of cutlery would be evident. Those thumping great paws are quite something!
So glad you liked the table. It practically set itself! The tulips were very directive :).
Red roses aren’t everything. This Valentine’s table is beautiful. BEAUTIFUL!!