I am going to blame it on the Blue Italian. No, wait, I think it was Pomona’s fault. Actually, it may have begun with the Wedgwood Blue Jasper. There is a good beginning to any story and ours begins with dishes.
We were a typical family in the 1990s–mom, dad and three small children. Dishes started creeping into our lives very quietly with a flea market lid-less Deco teapot here and a wedding-gift hand-painted Portuguese bowl there, with an inherited Spode Castle lamp thrown in for good measure. Normal, right?
Life changed when my husband Bruce asked if I wanted to move to England. Well, duh. YES! We rented a small (by American standards) house in a tiny (by anyone’s standards) village outside of the historic spa town of Harrogate, North Yorkshire. We had a garden with ancient roses and, surprise!, a country auction almost next door. The weekly auction added several wonderful and some not-so-wonderful treasures to our home. We explored nearby towns and historic sites. We frequented London several times and made it to Portobello Road (humming the same-named song from the movie Bedknobs and Broomsticks, of course).
We discovered the translucent beauty of Wedgwood’s traditional blue jasper ceramic made into a delicate candleholder. We were enchanted by Portmeirion’s Pomona pattern with its rich fruits. We were stunned the first time we saw a Welsh dresser displayed full of Spode’s Blue Italian, blue and white bounty at its most jaw-dropping. And we were honored to purchase blue and white transferware from the early 1800s. The love of dishes was becoming deep and abiding.
Fast forward several years. We have moved to northern Virginia. The kids have adjusted to the United States and all traces of British accents have disappeared. We are using the Denby Reflex dinnerware that we purchased at an English department store. But we miss England and we miss Europe in the way that you ache for an absent friend.
Bruce proposed that we sell dishes. And from me, it was another “Well, duh. YES!” It didn’t take long before we both were working at this new business, European Tableware, full-time. You should know that Bruce is also the one that will unpack a new serving bowl, run his finger around the rim and give it a tap so that it rings, saying, “Isn’t this beautiful?” I always concur.
We began by gathering the brands that we knew and still love today. We still both work full-time with occasional part-time help and even help from the kids, now teenagers. We own many of the brands you see on our website. We do warehouse much of the product that we sell. And we get excited about new companies that we find and new introductions from our ever-evolving European partners.
Like many people, we look back on our life thus far and say, “Who knew that this would happen?!” We certainly didn’t but what a lovely dish-filled journey it’s been thus far!