Sunday, August 9, 2009

Blue Willow Monday

Welcome to my Blue Willow Monday

It's Blue Monday over at Smiling Sally's, and I'm thrilled! Our home is filled with blue!

We have several rooms with blue walls,

Wingback chairs in blue leather,

blue upholstered French bergere chairs,

Dinner plates in Spode's Blue Room series, . . .

The list could go on and on.

Blue is one of those magical colors that compliments other colors. Think of the fresh feeling that combinations of blue and yellow provide.

Or the patriotic spirit of red, white, and blue.

Homes with collections of Blue Willow in blue and white always catch my attention and imagination. Though I don't personally have a collection of these age old charming ceramics, I can visit some mighty fine collections in homes of friends. The fresh, crisp feeling of blue and white never fails to fill my senses with joy.

What I do have is a very limited, but extremely sentimental grouping of a child's set in the Blue Willow pattern.

When my parents married in 1939, as a new bride, my mother dreamed of having her very own set of Blue Willow for her dining table. Placesettings of this fine china were far too expensive for the young couple's household budget, yet Mother must have longingly admired sets and continued to wish for a set of her own. As a surprise one day, my sweet and clever father brought home a set in miniature. It wasn't the table setting Mother desired, but she loved and appreciated the little set all the same. During our youth, my sister and I, along with our friends, hosted many a tea party with the treasured little set of Blue Willow. Unfortunately all that remains of Mother's set is this small group.

The Blue Willow pattern was first designed in the late 1700s by Thomas Minton. Over the years it has been produced by many different manufactures, and all these years later this classic pattern is beloved by many a collector.

The classic pattern portrays a Chinese legend of two young lovers. The elements within the design all have significance from the legend. The border of a zig-zag fence represents the father's efforts to separate the young lovers.

Weeping willow trees,

various fruit trees,

three figures on a bridge,

a boat,

and pagodas,

all have significance in the story of the young couple.

There are many variations of the legend, but all end with the young star crossed lovers being transformed into immortal love birds.

My Parents in 1939

Today, the few remaining pieces of this cherished child's set have a place of honor in the living room of our home. Not only do they bring me memories of happy childhood tea parties, but they also speak of the romantic days my parents shared as newlyweds. Years ago I offered to purchase a set of Blue Willow for my mother. She simply smiled and said, "I'm happy with the set your father gave me." I treasure these little dishes as heirlooms.

Who knows, perhaps this little chard of a long ago broken plate will become the topic of a future Metamorphosis Monday right here at Hyacinths For The Soul.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope to see you again real soon.

The summer we married, my husband was in graduate school, and I was employed as a teacher. We took a portion of our savings that summer and purchased a sailboat. We christened our Catalina 22, “Hyacinths For The Soul” after Saadi’s poem. Our "Hyacinths" provided years of pleasure.


  1. Sarah,
    I love blue & white china and have several pieces with different designs, in fact the reason that I bought my first two items of Quimper faience was just because they were blue & white. The rest is history

  2. Oh what a sweet and wonderful thing for your father to do to give your mom such a precious treasure. I know you will always cherish such wonderful memories. Thanks for sharing. Hugs, Marty

  3. Sarah, I loved hearing the story of Blue Willow. We had Blue Willow plates at one point growing up, and I love them. I had no idea that the plates told a story. That is fascinating. I appreciate them all the more now.

    And I love all the rest of your blue as well. I could sink into one of those blue leather chairs. Blue just makes me feel good! Speaking of which...

    Happy Blue Monday to you!


    Sheila :-)

  4. Lovely blues, love the linens, and Blue willow. Have a great Blue Monday.

  5. Your blue home is lovely. Thanks for sharing. Happy 1st Blue Monday.

  6. Hi Sarah! You really do have a lot of fabulous blue in your house. How great to have some of your mother's blue willow!! Enjoy...

  7. Howdy
    Happy Blue Monday to you .
    Thank you for sharing this beautiful post .
    The tea set is truly a priceless heirloom so many happy memories you have.
    I am so thrilled you shared with us today.
    Your home is so inviting .
    Have a blessed week.
    Happy Trails

  8. Hi Sarah! Your mom's Blue Willow teaset is adorable and how sweet of you dad to buy it for her. What a precious heirloom for you! I love your blue chairs and your napkins! Great idea about blogging in the gazebo. I have the chairs and table there now. I do have wireless in the house. I hope it reaches all the way there...Christine

  9. Sarah, I am glad you came by. What a beautiful blue post, especially the Blue Willow tea set.

    Please come again soon. Sorry I am so late, I was gone all day and then received the news about Amy and I just don't have much energy now to visit blogs.

    See you again

  10. Hi Sarah, all your blues are lovely....just charming.

    Thank you for joining the Rooster Party and displaying the is so appreciated.

    Hope you are looking forward to the party.

    Hugs, Barb :-)

  11. Hello happy Blue Monday, beautiful post, I love that check wallpaper!
    Have a great week!
    Bless you, Shirl
    Shirls Rose Cottage

  12. I like the blue and yellow combo - such happy colors :-)

    I also enjoy hearing of your Mom and her tea set story. Your Father is so sweet to do that. Although you Mom dreamed of something different but I am so sure she'll have no other else when your Father brought home those china set.


  13. Hi Sarah! I love your blues, and especially your provencal napkins! Your story of your mom's Blue Willow is so sweet! I know you must treasure those pieces! I enjoyed this post! Enjoy your week!...Debbie


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