I’m not sure when my love affair with white ironstone started, but I do know that when I remodeled my kitchen four years ago, I had already started collecting and putting it aside for the new room. For those of you not familiar with ironstone, it is antique pottery originally made in the United Kingdom. It was developed in the 19th century by potters in Staffordshire, England as a cheaper, mass-produced alternative to porcelain. Originally made in transferware patterns, beginning in the 1840s, British potteries created white ironstone for the American market where undecorated tableware was popular.
What I love about it is that simplicity. It was (and is) utilitarian. Plain, sometimes with relief patterns, but often not, it was made to be used. I love collecting something that I don’t have to put away because it’s “too good” to be used. It is meant to be used, and I do! Not only do I love displaying it, but I use it to serve from as well.
It looks amazing in white kitchens, mixed with transferware (love that too!), or displayed. And it works with many, many decorating styles and is easy to find. White ironstone is usually available in antique stores but it’s also on Etsy and Ebay for very affordable prices. Also, it is easy to mix in contemporary white dishes or the ironstone reproductions. Some of my pitchers are repros from Home Goods and I love those as well. Originally I started with just pitchers, but since have added tureens to the collection. I just go for what I love and is reasonable!
Some of the prettier ways to display it is by hanging the platters or plates on the wall or using a plate rack – adore this look!
And, of course, it’s right at home in the kitchen!
The tureens are especially cute when used as planters around the house.
Personally, I hardly ever use vases anymore as I like to put my flowers in the pitchers (so charming!)
Massing it together makes for an especially dramatic display!
Here the pitchers pop against the dark painted cabinets
One of the first places I ever saw a display of white ironstone was in the movie Something’s Gotta Give. The dining room has plates displayed in the built-ins and it looks amazing! And I love that they mixed the different whites, too.
And one of my favorite designers, Dan Carithers, had a display of pitchers in his kitchen (I think I had this photo clipped from Traditional Home magazine like 10 years ago!) That just proves how timeless it is!
Simple, but stunning.
Have a great weekend!