RSS Feed

The Habsburgs Knew How to Set a Table

The Habsburgs Knew How to Set a Table

Last Thursday was some Austria holiday. Don’t ask me what the holiday was. At any rate, I had the day off from German class, so I went with a friend to explore Vienna. We ended up at the Sisi Apartments, which is a lovely museum that shows the fine trappings of living at the seat of the Holy Roman Empire for 400 or so years.

The Imperial Palace

The Sisi Apartments are full of brass and porcelain and silver and other wonderful things. Makes me want to set a table. Not just put out plates and utensils, but, you know, actually have three or four plates, use a dessert fork, etc.  I have been dying to start collecting a set of mismatched vintage China. All the different patterns make my heart go pitter-patter. Something like this:

Yum. (I didn’t take this picture, but cannot figure out the original source).

Or like this:

Double yum. Isn’t it enticing? (Another picture that I didn’t take but cannot find the original source.)

And the Sisi Museum is full of the most AMAZING porcelain collections. The flea markets are also full of incredible vintage porcelain sets. I would start collecting now, but it would break when I take it back to the States, and I am moving probably 2 times in the upcoming year. So it’s not logical and stuff. Le sigh. Or I guess in German it would be: Die Sigh. Or Das Sigh. I am not good with the gendered pronouns.

In the royal family, it was important that all young men have a hobby. One of the Habsburgs (don’t ask me which one) was lacking in a hobby for a time, until he became interested in gardening and horticulture. Of course, he had lush, well-stocked gardens. And to go along with his interest, he had multiple sets of gorgeous porcelain dishes, each with a different hand painted bloom delicately gracing the smooth surface. Just incredible.

Unfortunately, the China was all behind glass so it was difficult to photograph these lovelies.

A center piece. Yeah. I know. FABULOUS!

Vintage silver. Another thing I want to start collecting.

Another center piece thingy.

I died. Hand painted birds and a lobster?!!?!

The set above was used for royal hunting parties. I think it was my favorite set. Seriously, lobster serving platter? What does one have to do to become a Habsburg to get access to this china? Oh, wait… I think there was a 30 Rock about that:

So maybe marrying the last Habsburg heir is out of the question, but a girl can dream… I mean, a girl can dream about china. Not the last Habsburg heir. (If you haven’t seen this episode, you definitely need to. It’s amazing.)

And one final picture of incredible porcelain for the road:

Little butterflies. On the plates and in my tummy when I think about setting a table with this divine stuff.

I am off to enjoy a lovely day sunning myself along the lush banks of the Danube.

Mit Liebe,


3 responses »

  1. Hi Rachel,
    Funny you should say you want to start a collection of mismatched china plates. My grandmother started a collection of china cups and saucers. I inherited them when she passed away and when I travel, I always buy one from wherever I am. Bermuda, Greece, Bahamas, San Francisco’s ChinaTown, etc. When I serve, I use them when serving dessert. What a wonderful conversation we have when I use them. Wonderful. I suggest you do the same with your plates. You can also find mismatched plates in antique stores in New Hope, Lambertville and places around here. When you return, I will tell you where to go..

    Love reading your blog and think of you often..


    • Thanks, Mindy! You are too sweet. I love the idea of having one from a bunch of different locations. That makes me think that I should throw caution to the wind and just get a lovely plate or two here, just to start off with.

  2. Um, yeah, the fauna-themed settings are phenomenal. Royal sets of china are of the best things about European museums. So happy you’re enjoying all of it. xox Emily


I love getting your comments. They make me happier than really good carrot cake!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: