Sunday, June 7, 2009

Onion Pattern

The Onion pattern is one of the ten most popular china patterns with a proven track record. It was first designed in the eighteenth century at the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory in Saxony, fashioned after an ancient Chinese design of pomegranates, lemons, and peaches which were mistaken for onions. The Meissen factory is still producing porcelain in this pattern after 270 years. The Meissen cup and saucer pictured was made circa 1900.

Other porcelain factories all over Europe copied the pattern using it, and variations thereof, on their own porcelain. The exquisite Onion pattern on fine porcelain is elegant when used as formal dinnerware. Paradoxically, it also looks quite comfortable at the family table. Plates in the Onion pattern displayed on plate-stands look stunning as blue and white accent pieces in a room. Above is an old reticulated Royal Berlin plate made in the Onion pattern by the Royal Berlin Porcelain Manufactory.

The Onion pattern is so versatile it looks at home in a grand rococo setting, or in restrained colonial surroundings. It is also appreciated in modern decor as a blue accent to complement the yellows and oranges currently in vogue. Pictured is an affordable and practical Meakin J & G, Blue Nordic gravy boat with saucer in the Blue Nordic pattern, a variation of the old Onion pattern. The Onion pattern is timeless and will last forever.

Reference: Tim Forrest, Paul Atterbury/Little, Brown and Company, The Bulfinch Anatomy of Antique China & Silver (London, Bulfinch Press, Marshall Editions 1998)

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