January 10, 2017

Collecting Antique French Ironstone and Using It

You've seen these plates before in my table settings and they are a special way to weave some French country vibe into my home. Not only that, but I have had a long standing love for BLUE and WHITE, so why not mix some of that into my tablescapes.
 French terre de fer blue and white plates


These plates are collectibles that I'll likely never part with. My love goes deep and they are treasured and cherished more than regular old ironstone plates might be. French ironstone such as these plates are from the 19th century, and are known as terre de fer or literally translated "iron earth".

french ironstone backstamp

Even the back stamps are incredible and will tell you where they came from in France and the factory's name. In this backstamp close-up shot you can see that there is glaze crazing. I have seen it written that you shouldn't use antique ironstone to eat from in modern times, as they lead in the clay composition that that may have seeped in over time and wear. Probably true...I was a potter in a former life and feel comfortable in believing so.

tablesetting with french ironstone

That being said, I don't use them to eat from in our daily lives and will remove and use the lead free modern underplate.

french faience blue and white dinner plate

Unlike the earlier English ironstone that was developed in the mid 19th century by the Staffordshire potters in England, French ironstone is generally decorated in a pattern...such as flowers or birds. The English ironstone was developed as a less expensive and every day alternative to porcelain and generally left as white.

I would buy these in a heartbeat if I didn't have my blue and white French dishes. They are reproduction, but I think fabulous!

Find them at my affiliate for under $50 a set HERE

I am always on the lookout for French terre de fer and it's not inexpensive...since these pieces are true antiques. I've been doing some on-line shopping and have a few affiliate links for your convenience here. They are all sellers in France but they ship worldwide.




french country cottage tablesetting with flowers

I have another special set of TERRE DE FER (or faïance) in a lavender color that is even more rare than the blue and bring these out to use quite often in the spring. These plates are all circa 1880-1920.

beautiful french limoges tablesetting

I'd much prefer vintage and antique than new, but love the look of mixing old IRONSTONE plates with those that are new. The juxtaposition of fine French Limoges patterns with delicate roses alongside my everyday dishes from (aff link>) POTTERY BARN (just $59 for twelve) and exquisite stemware make me happy. And there always have to be beautiful flowers on my table, even when there's nothing special planned any time soon:-)

antique purple dinner plates

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