Love in pure white, this is what some of my clients who collect antique ironstone call it.

One the longest lists of “look for this” I took with me on our recent antique buying trip to Europe was for white ironstone from the 19th century.



Not only do these antique pieces have history, personality and charm, white ironstone can be used with any decorating style and any color scheme. In this post I’ll share how you can display and use your collection.



{this is one of the most exciting pieces of antique ironstone I’ve found! A drip coffee maker}



Created in the 1800’s as a less expensive alternative to costly Chinese porcelains, ironstone was born in England, but it was extremely popular in “the colonies” as the US was called by the British.


Typically, the ironstone sold in England, France and other European countries had transfer designs, but those pieces sent to the Americas were plain, white, and versatile.



Embossed patterns featuring flowers, leaves, branches and grains embellish ironstone pieces from the mid 1800’s.




Ironstone is so simple in design, but so avidly collected now, and considered a chic antique,


The most avid collectors I know, long for the ironstone and porcelain “drainers” ….inserts made long ago for placing on platters for meat, game and fish.  Most often broken, these are extremely rare to find in great condition. They look amazing in a hutch, or hung on a wall in the kitchen or dining room. I’ve had my French dealer friends looking for these for over a year! {And brought all the ones I loved home to FrenchGardenHouse, of course.}





You can of course use the ironstone for its intended purpose, but when not in use for setting your most  beautiful tables,  you can also use it for decorating!






Ironstone pitchers, tureens and compotes can do double duty as floral containers.


For our Harvest Table setting, some antique white ironstone pitchers looked so charming with the last of the limelight green hydrangeas from the garden.




Not just for the fall season,  I use ironstone as floral vases year round. This really rare cake pedestal from Europe is wonderful to display a few soft pink roses.


I sometimes use water “picks” {floral supply} but often just layer some clipped flowers on top, like a decadent, romantic dessert.



Small and large ironstone tureen are perfect for flowers at the table as a centerpiece.



Or to use to hold your favorite plants.








I will be honest, the word “vignettes” makes me cringe a little bit inside, sorry. But it is the word that everyone knows means creating a little display of decorative items at home {or anywhere else} in a beautiful way.


This corner is a wonderful place to put just a few pieces of my collection of antique ironstone in the spotlight, and I do so often.  Ironstone, all of it – French, English or American – plays so well with the French Country style we love here at FrenchGardenHouse.







In any French Country style home, all white ironstone agains a back drop of an antique French cabinet or shelving unit is unsurpassed for its warm, welcoming  and luxurious look.


Ironstone really becomes a statement when displayed en masse.



I know you’ve seen my collection of ironstone pieces in our French armoire in the family room.  Depending on my mood, I’ll re-arrange the pieces to suit the seasons.


At times, I remove some of the ironstone and add in toleware to add some more color.





Designer Sue Humphreys used some beautiful ironstone pieces to highlight a display in her client’s kitchen, whose home we were able to tour here >



Dressed up or countrified, ironstone compliments every decor style, and every home!




I know, it’s what it was intended for. And really? It’s where ironstone shines.


It mixes. It matches. It makes every single table setting you create for your family and guests spectacular.



You can repurpose the antique molds to hold fruit or nuts.





Is there anything more beautiful than a stack of old, old English Ironstone plates?





White ironstone mixes beautifully with antique, traditional, farmhouse, French country or contemporary interiors.


Ironstone pieces are survivors, their resilience tells their story, minor discoloration only seems to add to their patina and beauty.  And we haven’t even begun to talk about their sisters, white ironstone decorated with colored transfer ware patterns!


So all white? Or with colored designs? Which ironstone is your favorite?



à bientôt


If you want to romance your Home and Garden with antique and vintage treasures to make you smile each time you come home, visit our shop FrenchGardenHouse.