I have a passion for blue and white, a color combination that brings excitement to any room. I especially love blue and white china. My grandmother Norton had a beautiful oval Blue Willow vegetable dish that was present at every meal; she always served her prized peas and beans in it.
I was the lucky one in the family to inherit her treasured bowl, and today it is displayed in my kitchen where I love seeing the tiny cracks that indicate it was worn from serving endless food to our family. The bowl represents happy times around the table. It was the first blue and white piece I owned and it inspired me to start my own collection.
Every spring, our staff puts the finishing touches on Victoria magazine’s blue and white issue. As I look through the countless photos of collections around the world, I realize there are many women out there who share my passion.
One of my favorite patterns is Blue Calico by Staffordshire. I was in college when I found this delightful pattern at a local antique store. Although the pieces were new, imported from England, I knew I had to have them. The proprietor was kind enough to allow me to make installment payments until I had paid for eight place settings. I was the happiest girl in the world when I brought my treasures home. I carefully packed the set to keep until I had my own home.
I am still thrilled to set my table with the Blue Calico. I have several other blue and white patterns in my cabinet, (which shocks no one who loves blue and white), and use them individually or mixed. I mix in antique patterns as well.
If you are thinking about collecting blue and white, consider starting with a beautiful old platter. Find one that you dearly love and display it on an easel or use it as a serving piece. Little by little, you will find wonderful pieces to add to your collection. Then before long, your china cabinet will be overflowing and you will have a handsome collection.
I just stumbled upon your blog. I received a blue willow tea set (Wedgewood) for a wedding present from my Grandmother in 1968. I has been treasured by us for all
this time. I was so devastated last year when one of the glass shelves in my China cabinet broke and everything came tumbling/smashing to the floor. Guess what was
on that shelf…..correct the blue willow….almost all of it was gone. I also have a collection of calico blue that I love which I have purchased myself piece by piece.
My mother too loved the blue and white and brought a really old set that was MY grandmothers wedding present. I have that too. Doesn’t take much to make me happy…….a blue and white china shop usually does it……..Love your blog. just subscribed. Thank you
pHYLLIS NOW i KNOW WHY WE HAVE THE BLUE AND WHITE VICTOIA ISSUE EACH YEAR. i DO HOPE YOU WILL ALSO DO A SOUTHERN ISSUE OF VICTORIA EVERY YEAR AND MAYBE ASK US OLD TIMERS WHO NO LONGER LIVE IN THE SOUTH WHY WE MISS THE SOUTH BUT TAKE IT WITH US WHEREEVER WE GO. BLUE HAS ALWAYS BEEN MY FAVOITE COLOUR AND MY BROTHES-IN-LAW GAVE US A BLUE CRUCIFIX FOR OUR WEDDING. KNOWING OF MY LOVE FOR ALL THINGS BLUE THEY TOLD ME THAT SOON THEIR BROTHER WOULD ALSO BE ‘BLUE’. SMILE*
MY FIRST SET OF GOOD CHINA WAS BLUE AND WHITE AND I HAD ENOUGH PIECES TO GIFT TO THREE FAMILY MEMBERS. THANK YOU FOR THIS POST.
My 89 year old mother has a beautiful blue willow set in her sideboard that comes out for special occasions. Reading your letter reminds me of those special moments our family has spent with her.
I’ve always loved blue and white things, they just feel so elegant! Whittard of Chelsea in the UK has a beautiful china line called Blue Chintz and I absolutely adore it! Here’s a link for it if anyone hasn’t seen it before: http://www.whittard.co.uk/tableware/by-style/china-by-design/chintz
I also found the Blue Calico in a “country store” (decor) around the corner in the mall from the bookstore where I worked right after college. Fortunately, the settings for 8 came boxed in one big carton, and I somehow found a way to buy them, since I wasn’t able to find them available for purchase this way, after that time. I’ve never tired of the pattern, and subsequently purchased a teapot, as well as a cream pitcher and sugar bowl on a mini-tray. They come out for Easter dinner with the family every year, and make such a great background for the pink ham, golden au gratin potatoes, spring-green asparagus, and hot cross buns! They’ve also been toted to church more than once as I “hosted” a table for the ladies’ tea. And they happen to blend beautifully with my vast collection (ask my hubby!) of assorted daffodil-patterned teacups. Thank you for sharing your love of blue and white in the special Victoria issue each year!
Blue and white indicates spring at our house. Our Spode Blue Geranium comes out to replace the winter china and even if the temperature is cold out (and this year it’s still cold in April) the hope of warm spring days is there. This is a lovely blog! How lovely that I stumbled on it.
That is a great idea and another reason I should get another set of dishes! May have to use eBay . That’s ok by me ,thx for the inspiration . Send me your blog
Blue and White is also my favorite color combination. Being of Swedish heritage, of course, the blue and yellow combination is also fun to have around. I was going up on an escalator in Oslo, Norway many years ago and on the 2nd floor was a fabulous display with a long circular blue and white cloth covered table, it instantly caught my eye….20 years I still remember that moment. I love Victoria magazine and have every issue ever printed. Keep up the wonderful work.
I am also a blue and white enthusiast. There is some degree of blue and white in almost every room in our house. I collect Polish and Italian pottery serving pieces also. Love, love, love Victoria. I look forward to receiving every issue.
From one southern woman who eats on Blue Willow everyday,collects tea cups,does cross stitch,makes quilts to another,great job and looking forward to the future. Carol
Love blue and white combinations. A senior moment ……the blue water bottle brand name. Help! Thanks!
I also love Blue and White and look forward to that issue of Victoria. I fell in love with Shelly’s Dainty Blue when I was very young as my mother worked in a china shop, so when I started work I also brought my China on the installment plan. I have a Blue Willow pattern for every day use, with cobalt blue glasses, I also have “chinese” dishes and a lovely bowl from Russia. I have had a blue and white kitchen for over 40 years and that has been in at least 15 different places. Nice to know we are not alone in our passion for Blue and white.
I too am inspired by blue and white – dishes, fabric, paint. I am sure my home will always have some blue and white somewhere.
Blue & white is also one of my passions! You are an incredible stylist!
What a beautiful site! Thank you for sharing! I truly love your “Tea In A Rose Garden” – one of my favorite joys is having high tea with my daughter on her birthday.
Love all your magazines
I’m from Canada so love anything and everything about tea and still look forward to the tea when I go hometwice a year
Keep up the good work!
Sharon Galloway Columbia South Carolina
I Have Several A.Stoddard Books, And Have Found Them Enjoyable, And Helpful.One Suggestion I Would Pass On To Her Is A Personal One, And That Is, it’S Time For A New Hairdo Since She Is In The publi’S Eye So Much. Just A Suggestion Given Her Age etc.
Oops, I want to subscribe to the magazine, not a blog
Phyllis, We are kindred spirits! Love your blog and LOVE blue and white. Is the pattern in the first photo the calico pattern? I bought a small plate in this pattern which resides on an easel in my dining room (Amid many other blue and white pieces). You should see my blue and white bedroom………..
One of my favorite Victoria issues is the annual “Blue & White” issue. It is a color scheme I use, and find great peace in being surrounded by. Blue and white china is a particular favorite. There’s just something so elegant and traditional about sipping a delicious brew in such a beautiful vessel.
Growing up our every day dishes were a mix of patterns, but one dish was a Blue Willow pattern. I think that is when I started loving blue and white patterns, my mother told us the beautiful but sad story of Blue Willow. I now collect Havilands Blue Garland. With the thrill of the hunt I have found enough to serve tea for four,but no serving bowls or tea pot. It is so exciting looking for my blue and white dishes. That color combination is so pleasing and I know my Blue Garland tea pot is just waiting to be found.Ruth Staley
Dear Phyllis, I love Victoria magazine! And have bought it over the magazine stand or threw subscription since it been published. I love your column! And the beautiful photographs you have in every issue! And besides I love the Victorian era! Thank you for this beautiful magazine!
I remember reading about your love of blue and white china in your book “Gracious Tables”. I highly recommend this book to anyone, so if you find a copy please purchase it for your library! I, too, admire blue and white china and my favorite is “Blue Garland” by Haviland. Wedgwood blue is my favorite color, so this set really appealed to me.
This is gorgeous! I wasn’t fortunate enough to get china from any family member but I have been checking the antique stores for treasures. Thank you for sharing!
The inspiration you share of a favorite blue and white theme is so very welcome, a fresh, clean and crisp duo!
My mom taught me to love blue and white too! Love you Phyllis!