Simple Elegance


What a treat to dine at a table where the setting appears as effortless beauty.

I was enamored with the china and couldn’t resist looking at the back for markings that would identify it.  As the hostess caught me peeking, she told me there was quite a story behind it.

The plates, some with differing patterns, are dated 1932 and bear the name Harmony Hall which was the the name of her grandfather’s farm.

The entire set of china had been a gift to her grandfather from his friend John Roebling, famous for his wire rope suspension bridge designs, in particular the Brooklyn Bridge.  He commissioned two sets, one for himself and one for his friend, and then the mold was destroyed making these dishes a very limited edition.

While they have the appearance of fine china, the dishes are actually quite sturdy.  They were made by a company called Scammell which, at the time, made tableware for train dining cars, fine hotels and restaurants.  It appears that such pieces are now highly collectible.

Knowing this story made me appreciate the table setting even more.

The china was accented with touches of simplicity in the napkins and fruit filled bread board and elegance in the crystal and antique silver.  All were lovely on a simple farm table with a beautiful patina.

Noticing the design was all about hunting and horses made me wonder if it had been a deliberate choice because it represented a shared interest between the two men.  Next time I see the hostess, I’ll ask.  In the meantime, what do you think about the choice of pattern?

Shiring this lovely table at

Let’s Dish

Centerpiece Wednesday

Tablescape Thursday

Thursday Favorite Things

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20 thoughts on “Simple Elegance

  1. This is gorgeous, and such a great story!

    1. Don’t you love it when things have a story!

  2. I love your table, and the dishes are beautiful. I’m your newest follower from the BNOP party. 🙂

    1. Thank you. I’m so glad you stopped by and hope you will come again.

  3. Hmmmmm….I wonder? I’ll bet this was a shared interest! How cool is that that he would make just the 2 sets and then break the mold?!!?? In 1932, people still made grand gestures like that and appreciated uniqueness in fine things. Very cool!

    1. A very special gift indeed. Wouldn’t you like to have such a friend?

  4. This is a wonderful story about these beautiful plates. How special to been a guest at this table.

    1. Indeed, it was a treat. Everything was so simply beautiful.

  5. shirley@housepitalitydesigns July 19, 2012 — 10:28 pm

    That china is magnificent…Loved the story behind it…I am so glad that I am not the only one who turns the plate over to see who made it!!…You are right…such a simple elegant table…and such a wonderful gift for that gentleman to have received…a unique one of a kind treasure….Well, I guess it really is “two of a kind”….Have a wonderful weekend!

    1. I had never seen any dishes with quite this pattern and couldn’t resist the temptation to find out the pattern. I expected it to be English and was surprised when it wasn’t.

  6. Stunning dishes!! I love the the wooden bowl with the fruit as a simple centerpiece…beautiful! Thanks for linking up to centerpiece Wednesday.
    Karin

  7. Promenade Claire July 20, 2012 — 5:51 am

    what a wonderful story. I imagine they are very precious in terms of sentimental value

    1. What a surprise to learn the story and what a magnificent gift!

  8. Such great story and the dishes are gorgeous!! What a fabulous gift, wow! I love your entire tablescape.Love the wooden bowl as a centerpiece too, you just gave me an idea I should use mine this way too, I’ve forgotten about it lately! I’m late for Destination, Let’s Dish. I had no Internet for almost 3 days, but here I am.
    FABBY

  9. Your not alone on turning the dishes over to see the manufactor or style name. Love the dishe and the story behind them.

    Cathy <;)

  10. Those are such fun antique dishes! and I LOVE your rustic table! I want one like that 🙂

    ~Lisha

  11. What wonderful history behind this handsome china!

  12. Beautiful china, I think everyone is enjoying it along with the history.

  13. The designs on your plates are wonderful! What a fun story!

  14. I’m always trying to discretely look at the manufacturer on plates. What a wonderful set of dishes and the story makes them all the more special.

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