I am a member of a wonderful, small Haviland Group. Our entire mission statement is to meet at least quarterly and share a nice luncheon served on Haviland China...no rules...no dues...no required attendance...my kind of club! One of our number is a knowledgeable Haviland dealer, and she always brings information to share with us about this lovely porcelain. Did you know that although Haviland was designed and manufactured in the Limoges area of France, it was always marketed for and sold to the American market? It amazed me to learn that there are more than 30,000 to 60,000 patterns of Haviland China. Who knew? We decided to explore the question, "How would Marie Antoinette set a table for an autumn luncheon?" Yes, we understand that Marie Antoinette was long gone before Haviland was ever produced. In order to address that somewhat whimsical question, we volunteered to create a tablescape for The Theta Flaming Festival, an annual philanthropic fundraiser.
I think that Marie would have chosen to host her luncheon at her "Hamlet", located on the grounds in back of Versailles. The "Hamlet" is where she retired with her court favorites to pretend that she was a simple country maid, living an idyllic pastoral life.
I made both the tablecloths, and I think that Marie would have appreciated the blue furls on chocolate moire. I love the way that the cording, stitched on the grain instead of on the bias, causes the cloths to fall in the gently scalloped folds.
For our centerpiece, we elevated Nana's Haviland Chocolate Pot, and my Haviland Ranson Creamer and Sugar on a Ranson Chop plate. We chose to fill them with Sam's Club roses in the corals and golds often associated with autumn, and we mixed them with luscious blue Hydrangeas. When I think of Marie Antoinette, I always think of the multitude of hues and shades of glorious blues found at Versailles. Hypericum berries added the finishing touch. The Val St. Lambert crystal candlesticks danced in the glow of candlelight from the mini-hurricanes. (The Flaming Festival does not allow open flames during the event.)
The floral theme was extended onto the table with miniature arrangements at each place setting. They were constructed in Haviland Ranson ramekins on matching underplates. The Waterford Simply Blue goblets were paired with our precious Nana's antique French crystal wine goblets (Maker unknown). The sterling silver flatware is Reed & Barton, "Grande Renaissance," my wedding silver.
Nana's white linen napkins with light blue embroidered cutwork and a lace edge added a soft texture to the design. A shimmering silver beaded charger plate anchored a Castleton "Blue Empire" dinner plate. Next came a Haviland "Ranson" dinner plate, soft and feminine with its double ruffled edge. The luncheon plate is Theodore Haviland "Rani", with it's intricate pattern and cartouches featuring exotic birds. The final layer is a Charles Field Haviland dessert plate, featuring more exotic birds, holding an individual dessert cloche from Tuesday Morning. The place cards were made from miniature gold frames attached to the cloches with pale blue picot ribbon. I'm fairly certain that Marie Antoinette's favorite feature would have been the Ebony & Ivory' cupcake from Cuppies & Joe. www.cuppiesandjoe.com
The doors of the Flaming Festival were about to open. Ours was but one of many beautiful tablescapes intended to inspire you the next time that you create a design for family or friends. If you happen to be in our area in early November, try to join us for Theta Flaming Festival, 2010. It's always a marvelous experience!
Thank you, yet again, to Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for hosting her magical meme, "Tablescape Thursday. I'll be linking my post to "Tablescape Thursday. Click on the button below to hop on over and check out the myriad of marvelous tablescape designs, after 9:00 pm on Wednesdays. You'll be glad that you made the trip...it's a wonderful adventure.