She has collected her blue and white Staffordshire, widely produced in England during the 19th century, in patterns ranging from allegorical and historical scenes to floral, fruit and vegetable still lifes. “I love pieces that can be used and enjoyed,” said Ms. Ohrbach, the author of “Antiques at Home” (Clarkson N. Potter, 1989). She even sometimes buys damaged pieces, believing wear is part of their charm. Every day, both adults and children in her house in upstate New York use the earthenware, which is repaired only if it has great market or sentimental value. She paid as little as $10 for some of the smaller items in her collection, begun in the late 1960’s with purchases from flea markets and antiques fairs. Today, simple Staffordshire patterns in antiques stores sell from about $15 for a cup to between $50 and $125 for a dinner plate.
Robert C. Woolley’s collection of Regency Spode focuses on one rare and widely sought pattern, number 967, which was inspired by Japanese Imari porcelain. Mr. Woolley, a senior vice president at Sotheby’s, has acquired museum-caliber examples of the design, which was produced in England between 1805 and 1815. His service for 12 was bought from auction houses and antiques dealers beginning in the 1970’s for a low of $250 a piece to a high of $1,000. The Spode has appreciated handsomely; Mr. Woolley recently sold a small platter for $2,000. He stores the porcelain in a breakfront, but also uses it frequently for dinner parties. He always replaces a broken piece, and had only these words on the maintenance of his collection: “I handle it very carefully.”– A.M. WHERE TO FIND REPLACEMENTS FOR VINTAGE TABLEWARE
WHEN VINTAGE TABLEWARE BREAKS, the piece — or at least the look — needn’t be hard to replace. A number of service companies specialize in tracking down current versions of old patterns, reproductions of discontinued ones or, in some cases, authentic vintage tableware.
When seeking their help, give any identifying information, such as the material, pattern name and a photocopy of the markings. Crystal patterns are discontinued frequently, and are especially difficult to replace. If the pattern is unknown, send a photograph.
For patterns still in production, many customer service departments of tableware manufacturers can direct a consumer to a dealer or department store that carries the styles. Auctions, estate sales, local antiques dealers and flea markets are also sources of replacements, as well as the following companies. Buschemeyer’s Silver Exchange (flatware) 515 South Fourth Avenue, Louisville, Ky. 40202, (800) 626-4555. Coinways Antiques Ltd. (sterling flatware) 136 Cedarhurst Avenue, Cedarhurst, N.Y. 11516, (516) 374-1970; out of state, (800) 645-2102. Jean’s Silversmiths (discontinued flatware) 16 West 45th Street, New York, N.Y. 10036, (212) 575-0723. Locaters Inc. (discontinued china, crystal and flatware) 908 Rock Street, Little Rock, Ark., 72202, (800) 367-9690. Pattern Finders (china and crystal) P.O. Box 206, Port Jefferson Station, N.Y. 11776, (516) 928-5158. Replacements Ltd. (all tableware) 302 Gallimore Dairy Road, Greensboro, N.C. 27409-9723, (919) 668-2064. Tere Hagan Flatware Matching Service (flatware) P.O. Box 25487, Tempe, Ariz. 85285, (800) 528-7425. The Walter Drake Silver/China Exchange (flatware and china) Drake Building, 4510 Edison Avenue, Colorado Springs, Colo. 80940, (800) 525-9291. — A.M.
Photos: Robert C. Woolley sets his early 19th-century Spode porcelain on a table bare of linens, typical of the period.; For 20 years, Barbara Ohrbach has been gathering and using a mix of blue and white Staffordshire earthenware. (pg. 24) TOP ROW: “La Chasse” porcelain dinner plates from Villeroy & Boch, $30 each. At Villeroy & Boch Creation, 974 Madison Avenue; Southampton, L.I.; Beverly Hills and Costa Mesa, Calif., and Washington SECOND ROW: “Chelsea Bird” porcelain dessert plates, two at left and two at right, $180.50 the set of four, and shell dish, center, $90, from Mottahedeh for Colonial Williamsburg. From the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, (800) 446-9240.; “Charleston Feather” porcelain candlesticks from Mottahedeh for Historic Charleston Reproductions, $250 a pair. From The Historic Charleston Foundation, (803) 723-8292. Also to order at Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Gump’s; Shell-pattern sterling- silver ladle, based on an English design circa 1760, $229. From the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
THIRD ROW: Tobacco-leaf cup and saucer, left, $115, salad plate, $100, and dinner plate, far right, $135, from Mottahedeh for The Metropolitan Museum of Art. At Barneys New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Shop; Sterling-silver salt and pepper shakers from Empire, $49.95 a set. From Ross-Simons, (800) 556-7376; Crystal and silver salt and pepper shakers, $85 a set, and miniature silver coasters, $85 the set of four, from Christofle. At Barneys New York; Canton serving dish, center, from Mottahedeh for Historic Charleston Reproductions, $165. At Macy’s Herald Square; “Cincinnatti leaf” dish, second from right, areproduction of a Chinese-export porcelain design, $75. From Winterthur, (800) 767-0500. Also at Bergdorf Goodman, to order
BOTTOM ROW: Silver-plate biscuit canister, about $40, and candlestick, center, about $75 a pair, both from InternationalSilversmiths. At Saks Fifth Avenue; “Orleans Blue” bone china dinner plate from Lenox China, $40. At Bloomingdale’s. Macy’s; “Du Barrie” gold-rimmed bone china dessert plate and salad plate, $275 for a four-piece place setting. At Barneys New York; Shell-pattern sterling- silver flatware, left and center, based on an English design circa 1760, $569.50 for a five-piece place setting, and matching meat fork, $229. From the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation; White ceramic pitcher, $120. At Tiffany & Company; Melon-shaped silver-plate teapot from Towle Silversmiths, $130. At Macy’s Herald Square; “Perugia” cup and saucer from Ginori, $97. At Barneys New York; Silver-plate tray with embossed center from Reed & Barton, $44.95. From Ross-Simons.
GLASSWARE: “Laurel” crystal water goblet from Lenox Crystal, $40. At Bloomingdale’s. Macy’s; “Baluster” hand-blown lead crystal wineglass, $61. From the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation; “Herringbone” champagne flute from the Ralph Lauren Home Collection, $55. At Polo/Ralph Lauren, 867 Madison Avenue; Hand-blown lead crystal wineglass, $75. From the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation; “Emma” goblet from the Ralph Lauren Home Collection, $28. At Polo/ Ralph Lauren, 867 Madison Avenue. (pg. 25) (Photographs by John Hall for The New York Times)
BY ALISON MOORE; Alison Moore is a stylist and writer who specializes in the decorative arts and fashion.