It’s the grand finale of our celebration marking four decades of Replacements, Ltd. Flower magazine style editor Amanda Smith Fowler once again set to work shopping the Replacements website for beloved china patterns and heirloom silver pieces—this time to set the table for a virtual tea party to live up to the magic of our childhood memories. Click the arrows, or swipe if on a mobile device, to see her selections.
A variety of cups and saucers allows guests to select a pattern they love. Pictured, from top to bottom: Royal Limoges Olivier Gold cup, Bernardaud Grace teacup, Wedgwood Anthemion Blue teacup, and Anna Weatherley Spring in Budapest cup and saucer, available from Replacements, Ltd. Photo by David Hillegas
“Mixing china patterns can be like creating a great floral arrangement. Choose your palette, and then vary the shapes and textures to produce an unexpected but lively table.”
– Amanda Smith Fowler
An abundant afternoon tea menu of freshly bakes scones, savory cheese wafers, and biscuits (or cookies, depending on which side of the Atlantic you’re on) calls for pretty serving pieces to show them off. Pictured, clockwise from left:
- Fruit basket (Flora Danica by Royal Copenhagen)—in production since the 1700s, each hand-painted piece of this most treasured pattern is a work of art. Fill the fruit bowl with scones; when they’re gone, guests can admire the botanical painting at the bottom.
- Biscuit Barrel (Rothschild Bird by Herend)—openings in the lid and sides of this barrel hint at the treats inside. Photo by David Hillegas.
- Pierced Silver Bon Bon Bowl (by Whiting Manufacturing Co.)—what a delightful shape with layers of pattern and detail. Fill it with cheese wafers, candies, nuts, or mints.
Each of these artful serving tools is a conversation starter in its own right. Pictured, clockwise from top left:
- Tea Caddy Spoon (Hyperion by Whiting Manufacturing Co., 1888)—ideal for loose tea as well as candies or nuts.
- Wafer/Cracker Spoon (New Art by Durgin, 1899)—perfectly sized to scoop up a nice portion of cheese wafers from your favorite local bakery. The gold wash on the silver adds a soft glow.
- Preserve/Jam Spoon (George W Shiebler, 1890)—the medallion on the handle was a signature of Shiebler’s; the hammered bowl also adds interest.
- Butter Pick (Chrysanthemum by Tiffany & Co. Silver, 1880)—designed to spear curls of butter for scones; on another occasion, use it to serve stuffed olives, cocktail onions, or citrus wedges.
- Sugar Tongs (Strawberry by Tiffany & Co. Silver)—one lump or two? The workhorse of any silver chest, this piece can serve sugar, ice, or anything in between.
In 1840, Anna, England’s seventh Duchess of Bedford, introduced “afternoon tea” to the social scene. Late dinners were in vogue at the time, and an afternoon menu of tea served with sweet and savory goodies kept hunger at bay. Fun to plan and fun to host, this is one tradition we hope stays around for a few more centuries. For more tea traditions, read tastemaker India Hicks’ essay “Tea Is Served,” and try her recipe for Chocolate Brownies with Fresh Raspberries.
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