Tea with Miss Marple


English Arts & Crafts Walnut Tea Tray Lined with Rose Tiles (LEO Design)

During these chilly Winter days, we are featuring a selection of trays now in-stock at LEO Design.  We look-forward to the time (the sooner, the better) when we can use these trays to serve family, friends and other loved ones.

Victorian England was absolutely encrusted in ceramic tiling.  Pubs, kitchens, churches, shops and train stations: nearly every new British building in the second half of the Nineteenth Century could find multiple uses for lots and lots of glazed ceramic tile.  And although British tilework was hardly novel in the 1850's, the Industrial Age was new—and modern, high-volume production methods allowed British factories to turn-out enormous quantities of beautiful, heavy, high-quality tile (and other glazed ceramic or terra-cotta architectural components).  

One method of decorating ceramics is a process called "transfer printing." First, a copper printing plate is engraved with the desired pattern or image.  Then, the plate is inked and the pattern is printed upon paper.  Finally, the wet ink (the printed image from the paper) is "transferred" onto the blank ceramic piece (be it a tile, plate, teacup or bowl).  Such "transferware" was first developed in the 1700's in Stafordshire, England. It was developed as a way to impart detailed decoration upon ceramics without the expense of hand-painting. It was first used to imitate Chinese blue and white ceramics, then the rage in England (and throughout the West). When Victorian Industrial Age production exploded, transfer printing was the perfect way to decorate vast quantities of high-quality ceramics (including tiles) while minimizing costly labor expenses.

The tray above, made in the late Nineteenth Century, is composed of four ceramic tiles, decorated with transfer-printed roses.  It is surrounded with a walnut frame and brass handles.  Imagine Miss Marple setting-out the tea on such a tray, while you discuss with her the latest misdeed in some quaint English village.

Please click on the photo above to learn more about this tray.

More selections from our expansive tray collection tomorrow and in the days to come.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com)

We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248