Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Okay, so this blog is mostly about English Transferware but if you've followed me from the beginning you know that
I reserve the right to be random. I'm married to a fierce Scotch-Irishman so this time of year is always festive as you can imagine! I have been preparing some posts for St. Patricks Day, including a pretty green transferware tablescape and some of our own versions of Irish recipes, like Shawn's Irish Cream and my Shepherds Pie (I found there is some controversy as to whether it's English or Irish but since I'm part English and Shawn's part Irish... it's both at our house). As I was doing a little research, I came across these extraordinary silver collectibles unique to Ireland and thought I'd share:
The Potato Ring.
So what the heck is a potato ring, you ask. And, what was a potato ring used for?
Potato rings are silver stands which were used with a wooden bowl placed on top of the ring, or fit inside, to hold hot, baked potatoes. The ring served as protection against heat damage to the dining table. Potato (or dish) rings are generally about 8" in diameter and about 4" high.
Most often, dish or potato rings were decorated with intricate farm scenes and made of sterling silver.
Source: Metroploitan Museum of Art
Highlighting the heritage of Ireland, these sterling silver potato rings were essential to the etiquette of fine Irish dining during the mid 18th century.
This one below is pierced and embossed with Stags and Hounds with scrolls and foliage. It was made in Dublin, circa 1911, by Gibson and Company. I think this is my favorite. Isn't it fantastic?
Source: Antique Silver Company
Below is a potato ring made by another Dublin silversmith John Craig. This dates to 1764.
Source: Coventry Telegraph
This black and white image below shows how the wooden bowl would look atop the silver ring.
At the beginning of the 19th Century, potato rings came with fitted glass liners which replaced the wooden bowls that were previously used.
This one with a green liner would be perfect for my St. Patricks Day tablescape...
...however, given the $1000+ price tags of these I think the only potato ring I'll be able to afford will be for my finger and not my dining table.
Please don't forget to enter my giveaway for $50 to my English Transferware shop at Common Ground! Ends soon, so hurry!
"I am not young enough to know everything"
~Oscar Wilde (had to fit something in from an Irish poet)~
Table Top Tuesday at A Stroll thru Life
Tuesday's Treasures at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
What's It Wednesday at Ivy and Elephants
Knick of Time Tuesday at Knick of Time
White Wednesday at Faded Charm
Primp Your Stuff at Primp
Share the Love Wednesday at Very Merry Vintage Style
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style