Originally I was going to pair the plates with a tartan of some sort, a riding hat and whip but then I changed my mind as I started putting it together. I thought brown and black, warm and rustic, romantic and rugged, Fall turning to Winter (pinecones and pheasant feathers meet pine needles and holly...I did this table at the end of November) mostly masculine but a touch of feminism (lace napkins do that trick). So, what you see is what I came up with.
Each plate rests on a placemat made of real pheasant feathers.
These vintage, solid black glasses, have the neatest horn shape. They remind me a little of stirrup cups that hunting men, gathered on horseback, would have a welcome drink from to start their day. The custom is essentially English and tied to the hunting of fox. Anyway, they are unique and beautiful and seemed to go with the theme. I'm into themes in case you haven't noticed. I also used them in a French-ey toile tablescape HERE
I was going to use some black flatware by Hampton but realized I had only four settings (I think this is when I decided to punt the tartan actually) and so went with my Spode Woodland.
I found the napkin rings on clearance at Wally World (Walmart) for like $1 for a set of four. Wish I'd bought every one they had but I settled for two sets. They look like tooled leather but they're plastic, or shall I say plastique? The feminine part to this table...lace trimmed napkins over basic black dinner napkins. Those lace napkins were my Moms. I remember her using them at dinner parties she hosted. You've seen 'em here before and you'll see 'em here again.
My favorite part of this table was the centerpiece. I have a small collection of Italian decanters encased in leather. I placed them on an antique wicker serving tray with tealight candles all around.
On either side of the tray I placed some mixed Winter greens and Fall foliage of pine needles, holly, evergreens, pinecones and pheasant feathers along with shed antlers. Extending the arrangement so that it ran the length of the table I added grapevine balls and amber colored pinecone candles to the mix.
Cool candles, aren't they?
I didn't get many good photos of this tablescape and having the top of my bird cage table sitting in here (see it over there on the right?) didn't help but...since I'm describing my centerpiece I wanted to also say that in order to balance out the height of the decanters at the center I placed brown taper candles at each end of the arrangement which also helped extend it as I wanted to.
I'm going to let you all look over a few more pics of the table and then for those of you who like the historical tidbits I like to share then read on because the story about J F Herring (the artist whose drawings are featured on these plates) is really amazing. Nearer the bottom of this post you'll be able to see some of the variations in this pattern as well. The black plates you see here are unusual and not the most commonly seen or found. I have six of them, each with a different scene, and they are available for purchase in my online shop.
It can be found in sepia and color versions as well as with several border and shape variations. Below are some examples of these.
I have always liked this acorn and oak leaf border which is found on some other patterns by Spode, including the Ruins series.
Here, a beautiful floral border frames the hunt.
Some have a solid green or burgundy border