Majolica - Lettuce & Cabbage Ware

I've been trying to ignore the pull of Majolica, specifically Lettuce and Cabbage ware for a few years, because I have a somewhat obsessive personality (but you've probably already figured that out if you're a regular reader!), and I'll only become obsessed with collecting it.

Lettuce Ware - French For Pineapple Jug
Images: OKA
Old and new, I love it all. It's the fact that is practical, beautiful and FUN! It totally draws me in, and yes, I have failed. When my father-in-law asked me what I wanted for my birthday back in July, I immediately sent him a link to this fabulous Cabbage Jug from OKA, which I am now in possession of (I chose the white one), and I can feel a collection starting. Uh-oh. They also have some gorgeous Cabbage Plates that are really reasonably priced.

From Victorian Stoke-on-Trent, to 20th century Portugal via 1960's Palm Beach, it would seem that at some point, everyone was producing a version of lettuce or cabbage ware. It's come full circle now, with Bordallo Pinheiro still producing pieces some hundred years later, and Tory Burch collaborating with Dodi Thayer to release a stunning collection including cups and saucers and a tureen, which was quite the status symbol if you were hanging out in Palm Beach circa 1960.

Lettuce Ware - French For Pineapple Jug
Image: Tory Burch
I'm not going to go into the somewhat convoluted history here, because you know, I'm more about the pretty pictures and I'd only be regurgitating other peoples more informed articles. Here's an interesting blog to check out if you want to delve into the history and collecting of Majolica and Lettuce Ware, including what has ultimately led to the frankly divine Dodie Thayer for Tory Burch collection that I've been swooning over for a while.

The Bordallo Pinheiro collection, has a load of fun pieces too, also including tureens and serving platters. I don't even know what a tureen is, but I still want one!

Lettuce Ware - French For Pineapple Jug
Image: Bordallo Pinheiro at Liberty
For original pieces you can try ebay, but I have my heart set on some of the pieces from Tory Burch because I'm particularly fond of that shade of green, and of course I'm rather taken with the 1960's Balm Beach back story!

So what do you think? Are you a fan or avid collector, or is it just too kitsch for your liking? Me? I'm putting some pieces on my christmas list pronto.

Fika at The Harcourt with Melody Rose

Last week I went to a beautiful event to celebrate the launch of the Melody Rose Mini Teapot collection at The Harcourt restaurant, in Marylebone (central London).

Skull With Crown Mini Teapot - French For Pineapple Blog

The lovely Melanie Roseveare founded Melody Rose in 2011, and her fine bone china tableware is produced right here in the UK, with a third generation pottery in Stoke-on-Trent.

I've long been a fan of Melody Rose - it's just my cup of tea (Ha! Okay, sorry), with The Models, Skull and Howling Wolf designs being my firm favourites. Once a goth, always a goth I guess. Her work is instantly recognisable and covetable, not to mention collectible. In fact a collection of her pieces would look great on the open shelves (that still don't exist yet) in my kitchen.

The Harcourt is a beautiful restaurant housed in a grade II listed building and I instantly fell head over heels with the architecture and interiors. I mean, will you just look at these rooms?! Those light fittings took my breath away...

The Harcourt and Melody Rose Ceramics - French For Pineapple Blog
Clockwise from top left: The Black Room (Image: The Harcourt), The Models & Trapeze Mini Teapots (Images: Melody Rose),
The White Room (Image: The Harcourt), Howling Wolf Plates & Skull Dinner Plates (Images: Melody Rose)

I'm desperate to get back there with a small group of friends so we can book The Black Room - I love the idea of chatting around the table, enjoying Fika and sipping tea and cocktails. Yes, that's right, tea AND cocktails, which is basically what we did in the White Room at Melanie's event! Then again, the Garden Room looks pretty amazing too (not shown, but have a nosey on their website), so perhaps lunch in the Garden Room soon, and then dinner in The Black Room in the winter. Yes, sounds like a plan...

The Models Mini Teapot Melody Rose Ceramics - French For Pineapple Blog

Fika, which is best described as Swedish Afternoon Tea, is served in and on the Melody Rose collection - a match made in heaven, with Melanie's slightly dark, dramatic, and sometimes romantic designs sitting beautifully in the gorgeous surroundings of The Harcourt. The beautiful china really does elevate the dining experience.

Fika isn't the only offering at The Harcourt, there's a full menu with a Nordic influence, an intriguing tea selection, and the cocktails are great. You know cocktails are my favourite, so I don't say that lightly.

The new Melody Rose Mini Teapot collection, which holds two cups, are replicas of the original six cup versions. They're super cute, and it's such a good idea offering a smaller size. I have a big silver antique Claridges teapot that I absolutely adore, but the fact that it's so big means it rarely gets used (it sure does look good though!). A teapot that fits just two cups is perfect for lone tea drinking, because let's face it, one cup is never enough, and two is juuuuust right.

Skull In Crown Teacup and Saucer Melody Rose - French For Pineapple Blog

You can check out the Melody Rose collection online, and of course you could always try before you buy, by having Fika at The Harcourt first. I highly recommend you do, and maybe you could invite me too?

Fika at The Harcourt and Melody Rose Ceramics- French For Pineapple Blog

The Wonderful World Of Wedgwood

World Of Wedgwood - French For PIneapple Blog
Statue of Josiah Wedgwood at the entrance to World Of Wedgwood

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have spotted a couple of images from my trip to Stoke-on-Trent last week with Amara, to spend the day exploring the World Of Wedgwood with a group of other bloggers. And what a great day it was...

World Of Wedgwood - French For PIneapple Blog
Bisqueware (unglazed ceramic pieces) on the factory floor

World Of Wedgwood - French For PIneapple Blog
Bisqueware with glaze awaiting it's next firing. The factory fires around 6,000 pieces a day.
We were whisked straight off for a factory tour on arrival, and were lucky that some particularly prestigious pieces were being worked on that day, including a Dynasty plate, and a section of a Jasperware Borghese Vase.

World Of Wedgwood - French For PIneapple Blog
Specialist decorator Bruce, applying Raising Paste to a Dynasty plate

The Borghese Vase was adapted from an antique vase dating back to around 1790, and takes eight craftsmen over 200 hours to create. No wonder then that it has quite the hefty price tag!

World Of Wedgwood - French For PIneapple Blog
Another specialist decorator gilding a section of a Borghese Vase. The brown will turn to gold as the oils burn off once fired.

In contrast to Bone China, Jasperware remains matt after firing, and is 'ornamented' rather than 'decorated'. The process is highly specialised and completely fascinating.

World Of Wedgwood - French For PIneapple Blog
A finished Dynasty plate and Borghese Vase (Images - Wedgwood)

Next we had a tour of the Wedgwood Museum, which really is a treasure-trove of ceramic delights. Set out in chronological order, it's captivating to see how the techniques and trends evolved over the years. The story of Josiah Wedgwood, the history of his company, tireless passion for ceramics and developing ceramic techniques and technology is awe inspiring.

World Of Wedgwood - French For PIneapple Blog
Caneware Teapot

My favourite pieces in the museum date back to 1780 (the Caneware Teapot above) and 1879 (the Shell and Coral Majolica below). I'd give my firstborn for that teapot and milk jug. Okay, not really (sorry Edie), but I do love it. A lot.

World Of Wedgwood - French For PIneapple Blog
Shell and Coral Majolica Teapot and Milk Jug

World Of Wedgwood - French For PIneapple Blog
China Tiger (a.k.a Foo Dog) Teacup and Saucer c.1813 (oh I do love a bit of Chinoiserie!)
After our museum tour, we were taken into the stunning Tea Room (via the equally gorgeous Tea Emporium) for a proper afternoon tea including finger sandwiches, scones and cakes, accompanied by Wedgwood tea of choice. I had the Earl Grey (no, not very adventurous, but it's what I like, and a good loose-leaf Earl Grey is hard to beat!).

World Of Wedgwood - French For PIneapple Blog
Wedding display in the Tea Emporium

World Of Wedgwood - French For PIneapple Blog
Decorative Brass Doors leading into the Tea Room

As great as the food was (and it really was lovely!), the interior of the Tea Room was even better. Modern yet timeless with stunning wallpaper adapted from the Wedgwood Hibiscus pattern (seen here on a teapot), brass details and blue velvet banquettes - it was heavenly.

World Of Wedgwood - French For PIneapple Blog
The Wedgwood Hibiscus Pattern

World Of Wedgwood - French For PIneapple Blog
Hibiscus Pattern Wallpaper in the Tea Room

World Of Wedgwood - French For PIneapple Blog
Those Blue Velvet Banquettes!

World Of Wedgwood - French For PIneapple Blog
Brass Framed Mirrors and Grey Moulded Walls (say hi to some of my fellow bloggers Alina and Yasmin!)

And these wall lights against the dark grey moulded walls are hard to beat. I want them. The moulding has pretty much cemented the idea to add some into my next room makeover project at home.

World Of Wedgwood - French For PIneapple Blog
Brass Wall Light on Grey Moulded Wall. Hmmm YES PLEASE!

After all the tea and cake I could quite happily have curled up on one of those banquettes for a little snooze, alas it was time to move on and try our hand at either a bit of pot throwing on the wheel or plate decorating before heading back home, exhausted, but thoroughly inspired.

I totally recommend doing a day trip to Stoke-On-Trent to visit the World Of Wedgwood, and I want to go back soon myself with the kids - Edie in particular would really enjoy seeing the process that goes into making ceramics and having a go herself. I know she'd also love the Tea Emporium and Tea Room just as much as me. Baxter on the other hand, would be a bit like, well... a bull in a china shop! Sorry.

World Of Wedgwood - French For PIneapple Blog
Wedding Display in the Tea Emporium
Oh and did I mention there's also a factory outlet shop? Culture, shopping and bargains. What's not to like?!

Thanks so much for having me Amara and Wedgwood!