Monday, 16 April 2012

A bit of history on plates

Our Shire, Shropshire, is not too far from the famous potteries of Stoke on Trent in the Midlands.

Stoke on Trent was for centuries, synonomous with the famous names of pottery - Royal Doulton, Wedgwood etc and we fortunately still have some production from there, even though much of it has gone.

Royal Doulton

It harks back to the days when dinner sets were a 'must' item for any household; they were often given as full sets to be cherished & added to; to be brought out on high days & holidays ....

I freely admit to a great love of the beauty of pottery & china patterns - so many are just so lovely that they deserve to be enjoyed just for their own sake.

A few months ago I saw two interesting charger plates in a local charity shop - cobalt blue trim with a crest on each & I just loved them so they came home with me.

Avignon Freres DC plates

I noticed the backstamp & so I did some research & it appears they were made by Royal Doulton for the caterers & bakers - Avignone Frères; the Adams Morgan caterers that dazzled Kennedy inauguration guests and they supplied treats to guests during the Watergate saga …

and then I found further information via another Flickr photo
Watergate Complex from TR Bridge

The Italian Count di Carpegna was a project architect on SGI's staff, and the Countess de Rochefort was a sales representative for the Watergate East apartment cooperative. (The countess once commissioned Avignon Frères, the now-defunct French bakery in Adams Morgan, to make a 50-pound cake with 13 layers in the likeness of the 13-story building.)

I have no idea if my pair of immaculate plates ever left their Midlands home. Perhaps they were kept back in the potteries as examples of the set or maybe they were used in DC and came back again.

The connection is very interesting as it shows how widely our goods travelled & how sought after they were and still are.

I have had several offers to purchase them but for now I just enjoy their story; I hope you have enjoyed it too.

Dee ♥


  1. How fascinating Dee! These are amazingly lovely and you now have a wonderful story to tell about their history. I hope you have a wonderful week,

    1. Thank you for your comment Kathy - it is always interesting to find out more about items & these must have been used for their finer catering events ... Have a great week too!

  2. Dear Dee, my name is lenny greenberg and I have recently purchased the old Avignon Freres property aka Payless shoes. I ate lunch there 30 years ago everyday and it holds wonderful memories for me. I would be grateful to purchase one or more pieces of china from you. best regards, lenny greenberg . we took title to this property in the name of adamsmorgan retail llc. additionally my email address is thank you again. lg

    1. Hi Lenny, Avignon Freres was owned by my husbands Grandfather and Grandmother, and in later days was run by my father-in-law.

  3. Dee, Avignon Freres was owned by my husbands Grandfather and Grandmother. I am glad that you found these wonderful pieces of China. If you happen to run across any others, please post more pictures. We do not have a single piece of this part of our families history. All we have is a simple ashtray.

  4. Dee, I am the grand-daughter of Pietro Orcino, daughter of Giovanni Orcino, owners of Avignon Freres. This post made me smile ear to ear today. So neat to see a piece of our history across the globe. Feel free to contact me offline if you would like to know more.

    Gina Orcino

  5. Dee,
    Do you have any more information about the Countess de Rochefort? The Count was originally married to an American named Danna, then remarried to Sabina. Would you know which is which? Thanks very much,



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