With the return of Downton Abbey on our screens in the UK, I’ve been having fun looking through our vintage tea sets picking out things that I think the Countess of Grantham would approve of! As much as I love our vintage fine bone china, something grander seems more in order for the Crawley family and I was drawn to some of our beautiful silver pieces. OK, so they’re not real silver, but many of them are good quality silver plate. Some of them are such high quality that for a novice such as myself, I could have been fooled into thinking that they were sterling silver!
Most of the silver-plated teapots and accessories we have bought are EPNS (electroplated nickel silver) with some of them also having an A1 stamp, which means they are of the highest quality silver-plating. The items have a nickel base and then a thin layer of silver is added to coat the nickel using electrochemical methods.
It was my dad who convinced me to buy our first piece of silver-plated tea ware, a cute stout milk jug. Initially, I wasn’t so sure, being wedded to my beloved fine china tea sets but then I realised that I actually like the combination of silver with floral china patterns.
We’ve bought a couple of different tea pots and coffee pots but these ones have to be the best quality silver-plated pots we’ve found so far. They’re really weighty and these are the ones that I could have been fooled into thinking were sterling silver. I’m sure the Downton household wouldn’t be fooled though!
These curious objects are knife rests. They were a treat to photograph – their pristine condition and intricate pattern made them very photogenic. Knife rests were invented around the early 1700s although this pair is from the early 1900s. I wonder if they’ve ever been used…
We’ve bought many different sets of silver-plated cutlery but these fish forks and knives are some of my favourites.
My mum took these photos below and I like the way that the silver is styled with pink flowered china tea sets.
Some of these items started out really dull and unloved and it’s amazing to see how they clean up after a bit of a polish (which is all down to my dad). Maybe one day I’ll find some sterling silver ones!