Currier and Ives
From the 1950's to the 70's, the Royal China company in Ohio created a pattern of dishes, based on the printwork of Currier and Ives, famous lithographers of the nineteenth century.
This is a detail from the "The Old Grist Mill", the scene on the dinner plate.
The service featured a different pattern for each piece, with the theme of Winter in the Countryside, although not all scenes are winter ones.
It appears that the makers were trying for a cross-section of early American culture. The Rocky Mountains serving dish features an oxen-drawn wagon train passing through the mountains, with a couple of natives on horseback thrown in for good measure. The saucers feature a Mississippi steamboat. In other words, very nostalgic scenes of typical nineteenth century "Americana".
Why am I collecting this pattern? I've always liked the blue and white pottery. The primitive-looking flow-blue is nice, but those can be expensive.
A friend of mine had an incomplete set of Currier and Ives dishes, which I acquired after one of his occasional rounds of "cleaning house". The dishes then sat for over three years in storage before I had cupboard space.
I've rounded out my collection on trips to the States. Many antique malls will have at least one piece of Currier and Ives. You don't have to search too hard to find a teacup and saucer. Even the dinner plates can be fairly common. I bought the salt and pepper shakers on eBay, but not all sellers ship outside of the US.
The pattern was produced in different colours as well, but blue is the most common. For instance, I also have a pie baker in black instead of blue.
You can find a lot of information from collectors and clubs on the Internet. Some include detailed descriptions, pictures, and help for identifying variations.
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