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One of the most important elements of of Southern Design is having a collection – whether that collection is Blue and White China or Staffordshire Pottery.  To be “Fabulously Southern” is all about how you display your collection in your home and incorporate your pieces into the flow of the design.  For example, you definitely do not have to limit your collection to just one place!  Finding a place in several rooms for your favorite pieces keeps that feeling of tradition, which is so important in a southern home, weaving throughout.

Porcelain asparagus boxes by Herend (large) and Limoges (small)

As I mentioned Blue and White China and Staffordshire Pottery above, I have blogged several times about both of these as I am a passionate collector of each.  Something quite new (and old!) has caught my eye and I am wondering if a new obsession is about to begin.  I would love to know what you think about… collecting vegetables!

Oh So Pretty Asparagus by Katherine Houston

Collecting porcelain vegetables is certainly not new.  Porcelain was actually invented in the 18th Century. Table decorations and services of the rich and aristocratic were often decorated with pieces of porcelain that mimicked actual foods. Among these were tureens modelled as cabbages, tureens with lemons as finials, and plates formed as leaves with stems for handles. Porcelain vegetables such as bundles of asparagus or a melon were modelled as small tureens, saucières, or simply as decorative accents.

Didier Gardillou collection photographed by Eric Sander

Ever since the 18th century, these delightful objets have been prized by connoisseurs and collectors alike. Famous collectors of these porcelain vegetables are designers Mario Buatta and Sister Parish, Andy Warhol It Girl, Brigid Berlin, designer-socialite Lady Mendel (Elsie de Wolfe), the Duchess of Windsor at her country mill house, and celebrity health guru/ nutritionist Gaylord Hauser.

Duchess of Windsor’s porcelain vegetable collection in their country house. Photo from The Windsor Style by Suzy Menkes

Not only are ceramic vegetables appealingly decorative, they are a visible reminder of the natural world and how important it is to us. As we all move further away from meat based diets, ceramic vegetables seem that much more of a reflection of our lives. And in the last three generations, we’ve moved from agricultural, rural lifestyles, to crowded and polluted cities. Who doesn’t want to look at more refreshing green? Ceramic vegetables are wonderful! And they don’t need to be refrigerated.

Large Endive Box by Limoges

Like I mentioned above, the key to collections when in comes to Southern Design in incorporating them into your everyday living so that they become a part of the legacy you are creating.  Before I decide to change anything about the design of my home or bring a new piece of art, furniture or start a new collection, I always ask myself how this will add to the “livability” of my home.  When it comes to these wonderful porcelain vegetables, I can see them being a part of my table scape in my kitchen and even in my formal dining room.  I searched for an image of how these gems could be displayed as a part of a table scape and came up with nil!  I guess that means I better start collecting so I can share one with you! However, I did find this lovely image of a porcelain vegetable collection at Vieuxtemp in Charleston.

Vieuxtemp in Charleston, South Carolina

These may not be eaten for dinner, but they are indeed a feast for the eyes!

I would love to know what you think about my new collection crush!  Should I or shouldn’t I?

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