These Classic China Patterns Are Still Collectible Today
Know the worth of your family's favorite heirlooms—Royal Copenhagen, Lenox, Spode, and more iconic makers.
It may be seen as a formality of the past, but a dinner table meticulously set with fine china is the height of elegance even today. The beauty and uniqueness of classic patterns are some of the reasons why people still want to collect them. "Today's tableware is reflective of past designs—however, designs today tend to reinvent the past through shifts in scale, more contemporary and unexpected color combinations and shapes," explains Molly Hatch, ceramic artist and tableware designer. "Overall, we use tableware different today than we did even 50 to 100 years ago. We are far less formal, yet we appreciate an exciting tablescape."
Whether it's a plates, bowls, tea cups, or soup tureens, you can still incorporate these beautiful patterns into your dinner party tablescapes or showcase them in display cabinets to brighten a room. And the popularity of classic china patterns has not waned since their introduction. "Porcelain became popular in Western Europe soon after its first introduction in the 16th century," says Davina Ogilvie, the founder of Wovn Home. "While the original patterns from China featured dragons, floral, scrolls, waves and other auspicious Chinese and Buddhist emblems, designs produced in Europe evolved to reflect motifs familiar to the Western market like Dutch windmills or the ancient Roman scenes recognized in early Wedgwood china patterns."
From historic makers like Royal Copenhagen, Spode, and Lenox, what makes these classic patterns so timeless is the way in which they tell a story. Why not add some of these coveted designs to your home today?
Royal Copenhagen Blue Fluted Lace
"Royal Copenhagen Blue Fluted Lace is a timeless favorite and will never go out of style," says Hatch. "I always go to Replacements Ltd to find replacement pieces." Delicate blue lace crawls gracefully over the china for a delicate and beautiful effect. The design reminds one of an old-fashioned tea party, possibly with someone notable and royal.
Shop Now: Royal Copenhagen Blue Fluted Half Lace Rimmed Soup Bowl, $160, bloomingdales.com.
Wedgwood Royal Albert Old Country Roses
This classic china pattern made its debut in 1962 and inspires the emotion of a royal tea party in delicate shades of pink. Royal Albert Old Country Roses resemble an old English country garden at the height of spring bloom. These dishes are adorned with beautiful roses in red, pink and yellow with a gold-trim accent.
Shop Now: Royal Albert Old Country Roses Teacup and Saucer, $35, macys.com.
"I think that Chelsea Porcelain is highly collectible and gorgeous—the physical garden, hand-painted imagery of butterflies, botanicals and insects are absolutely stunning," Hatch says. The porcelain china was made in the mid-to-late 1700s in England and was known for its elaborate detail of fantasy gardens and woodland animals.
Shop Now: Chelsea Porcelain Scalloped Plate, $55, royalcollectionsshop.co.uk.
Holiday by Lenox features a holly and berry motif that is rimmed in 24K gold for a stunning classic Christmas display. This dinnerware collection rose to popularity in 1974, and you can find pieces on the Lenox website and in various fine department stores across the country.
Shop Now: Lenox Holiday Sleigh Candy Dish, $19.99, macys.com.
Wedgwood Classic Jasperware
"Wedgwood's classic Jasperware, first developed in the late 18th century, is very recognizable today with its characteristic matte base layer, often in pale blue, adorned with raised patterns depicting scenes from Ancient Greece and Rome in a contrasting white," says Ogilvie. "These early Wedgwood patterns are some of my favorites as the rich blue and white combinations bring a touch of timeless elegance to any setting, while the matte finish enables it to easily integrate with more contemporary ceramics in the home as well."
Shop Now: Wedgwood Magnolia Bud Jasperware Vase, $85, selfdridges.com.
Spode Blue Italian
The Blue Italian pattern from Spode originally launched in 1816. The Italian countryside adorns the tableware in a rich blue shade that will look beautiful on your table. Its beauty is classic and timeless—as evidenced by its popularity for over 200 years.
Shop Now: Spode Blue Italian Medium Oval Platter, $74, amazon.com.
Meissen Ming Dragon Red
Hand-painted by the German manufacturer Meissen, a stunning red dragon adorns the tableware. Pieces from the collection range in price from $349 to $5,238, but the pattern is both delicate and striking.
Shop Now: Meissen Ming Dragon Red Salad Plate, $686, gearys.com.
Portmeirion Botanic Garden
British artist and designer Susan Williams-Ellis created the Botanic Garden design in 1972. Its mix and match between different floral motifs give it a slight eclecticism that brings the natural beauty of a garden to your table.
Shop Now: Portmeirion Botanic Garden Bella Jug, $52.69, macys.com.
Nymphenburg's china is historic, but, as Hatch says, "they have done a fabulous job of being traditional yet adding contemporary designs [that keeps] them at the forefront of fine china. Collaborations with designers like Hella Jongerius and others have made Nymphenburg exciting and new." The company has collaborated with French manufacturer Bernardaud to make artist editions, which has made their china highly collectible to this day.
Shop Now: Nymphenburg Hella Jongerius "Winter" Candleholder, price upon request, nymphenburg.com.
Royal Copenhagen Flora Danica
This year marks the 230th year anniversary of this gorgeous pattern. Royal Copenhagen Flora Danica debuted in the 1700s and continues to be made in the same way today. Every piece is hand-painted in the likeness of images from the Flora Danica botanical encyclopedia published in the 18th century, and only made to order, meaning that no two dishes, bowls, or platters are ever the same.
Shop Now: Royal Copenhagen Flora Danica Platter, inquire for pricing, floradanica.royalcopenhagen.com.