It was this post on Monica's blog which gave me the idea for today's post: I'll show you some of the china in my family, and tell you a bit of its history.
Ludwigsburg used to have a porcelain manufactury from 1758 (as by decree of Wuerttemberg's Duke Carl Eugen) until the end of last year. After ups and downs in its more than 250 year history (during which the manufactury was founded anew in 1948 and sold to a Russian investor in 2009), its insolvency and following closure was officially announced in October 2015.
My Mum loves Ludwigsburg china and has a nice collection, displayed in a glass cabinet in my parents' living room. She has kindly taken these pictures for me and given me some detail as to how the various pieces came to her:
Let's begin with the roses: My Mum received the first one as a gift in the 1960s. Back then, the price for one rose at the manufactury was 25 Deutsche Mark, which would be around 12,50 € today. Meanwhile, the price for one rose has increased more than tenfold - when the manufactury still operated, it was at 140 €, and who knows how the price could develop now that they are not being made anymore.
Also, the newer ones aren't quite as pretty as the old ones; they are smaller and have less petals. Actually, they are made of leftovers from bigger pieces of china. A nice way of using scraps!
Some years ago, my Mum found two more roses at an antiques fair in Ludwigsburg. It was raining heavily that day, and the traders were glad to sell anything at all. The person offering the roses had no idea of their actual value, and my Mum was able to get two for only 30 € - a real bargain.
The pieces in the upper picture are traditional Ludwigsburg shapes and patterns. My Mum received them as gifts from her mother, one by one over many years. The coffeepot, milk and sugar dishes were painted according to my Mum's wishes, to match her Meissen china, shown in the next photo:
Can you see which flowers on the cups match the coffeepot, milk and sugar dishes?
The collecting of Meissen pieces started around 50 years ago when my Dad's grandmother in northern Germany started to give away her own collection, cup by cup, as gifts for any occasion such as Christmas, my parents' engagement and wedding, and birthdays, until she died.
Meissen and Ludwigsburg are not the only makers of china represented in my Mum's collection. She also has this pretty set of Herend (Hungarian) porcellain:
The blue-white dishes on the festive table in the above picture are Rosenthal, another fvourite of my Mum's. This particular design is called "Romanze in Blau" ("Blue Romance") and was a wedding gift for my parents in 1965.
When my Mum celebrated her "Golden Confirmation", she offered food and decorated the table all in the style of the 1950s, when she was 14 years old at her first confirmation.
Now to my own china, which I am using every day:
This ivory or cream coloured set with gold rims was quite the thing in the 1940s and 50s! My grandparents bought it, as you did back then with such important purchases, on installments. They were very proud of it, and it was not taken out for everyday use, just on Sundays and special occasions.
Also only on Sundays, silver cutlery and a proper table cloth were used. The rest of the week, it was a waxed cloth on the table, and cutlery with brownish bone handles.
When my grandmother (Mum's Mum) died in 2001, the house had to be sold and emptied of its contents - accumulated over a lifetime and from many different people who had lived with the core family over the years; lodgers, in-laws and so on.
The beautiful dishes, simple and elegant, as well as the silver cutlery came to me, along with the 1960s coffee table, 1930s sideboards and 1950s armchair I have in my living room.
Of the dishes, I have only 5 large plates and 6 soup plates left, but a large number of cake/dessert plates, coffee cups and other items. Every day when I eat from these dishes, the meal feels like something special. I know there are many modern and stylish sets of dishes and cutlery around, but I am very happy with my old-fashioned "Grandma"-stuff.