Fine China

01/02/2008

Matt is constantly reminding me that I have too much “stuff” in my life. He means that both figuratively and literally. While I may have to agree with him about the earlier, I love surrounding myself with seemingly pointless physical “stuff” just because I think it’s pretty. Undoubtedly, my affection for gaudy collectable china falls into this category.

In the ethnic neighborhoods of Queens that reared me, religiously themed ceramic figurines are a dining room breakfront staple. While I certainly get a warm fuzzy feeling for porcelain renditions of The Last Supper, my taste for great old lady ceramics has evolved quite a bit. My absolute favorites are the the Hungarian China house of Herend, and Spain’s famous figurine export, Lladro.

Founded in 1832, Herend is one of the world’s most renowned porcelain makers. From its beginnings in the 18th century, where it catered to the world’s aristocracy Herend has remained, for me, the best old-world porcelain brand. Their signature “fishnet” pattern is as classical as you can get, yet refreshingly modern and striking. I adore their little patterned animals with gold feet. They’re like delicious little ceramic confections out of a children’s fairy tale. I’m currently craving their little gold and black snail, but any of the ones below will do (note to Matt.)

On the closer-to-home tip is Lladro. I have so many childhood memories of this 1950’s-born brand and love their over-the-top Madonna with Child interpretations as much as the next Catholic. But their recent “Recyclos Magical” collection, designed by artist Bodo Sperlein (who has done collaborations with entities as diverse as lingerie tour-de-force Agent Provocateur and British leather goods firm Mulberry) brilliantly reinterprets remnant Lladro pieces into magnificently etherial all-white chandeliers, rings, necklaces, cufflinks, and tiaras (of course.) Apparently, these are also wholly appropriate as Valentine’s Day gifts for long-haired brunettes with lots of stuff. Ahem…

Herend
Lladro

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