Behind the Lace Curtains-TTS #62/2020 Table Setting Challege #22, Bavarian Rose

In 1991, I moved into my first apartment. It was in an old house, had original wood doors with glass door knobs, picture rail, a gas fireplace in the living room, and an old claw food tub in the bath. It was small, but I loved it. It was on the border of the historic district, and I would often look out my living room windows and dream of owning a historic home of my own someday, as I was reading either old copies of "Early American Life" or the latest "Colonial Homes" issue I picked up off the newsstand.

To achieve my long-held dream, I needed to establish credit (and get a better paying job!). I used to get Fingerhut catalogs, full of things I really didn't need. Until one day, I saw a pretty set of china and I just had to have it! I ordered it and diligently paid on it every month until it was paid in full.

The set was called Bavarian Rose and it was a dessert set consisting of six cups, six saucers, six dessert/salad plates, a coffee server, covered sugar and creamer. The set was made by Wawel in Poland. I thought it would go well with the Golden Elegance set my mother gave me when I first moved into my apartment. The Golden Elegance set didn't have salad plates, so I thought these would be a good choice.

Shortly after I got the set, my Grandma Mayer passed away. To help my Aunts DD and Betty Jo, I moved in with them. They had been taking care of Grandma in the Mayer family home, so by paying the power bill, it was helping out greatly with the expenses they incurred while taking care of our beloved matriarch. While I was moving in, I brought the little dessert set with me. When I unpacked it, my Auntie Betty Jo said "That's something your Great-Grandma Mayer would have had." I felt proud, because Great-Grandma Mayer was known to have the finest china, silver and old-world cut crystal, as well as being a meticulous housekeeper. That she was born in Poland only made the set more special.

A few years later, I moved into a new apartment and continued to get Fingerhut catalogs. I decided to expand the Bavarian Rose set by adding a "hostess set", which consisted of a covered candy bowl, sandwich tray, and pair of candlestick holders. By this time, though, the name of the company had changed to Royal Kent, but still made in Poland.

I have used this set many times, among them to entertain my beloved late Auntie Patricia to tea the last time she visited our hometown. For a romantic setting for two, I chose the Bavarian Rose set and used antique white plates that complimented the set well, made in Austria (thrift store). The flatware is Golden Royal Plume by Wm. Rogers and Sons (antiques store in Butte, MT). Drinkware is Longchamps by Cristal D'Arques and is in a more formal setting, with the addition of the champagne and sherry stems (thrift store). At each place setting is a set of salt and pepper cellars, with a cute little butterfly between the separate dishes (thrift store). The tablecloth and matching napkin set was a wedding gift to my parents from Dad's brother, David; I put the tablecloth at an angle on top of my hemstitched white linen-look tablecloth by Mainstays from Walmart. The centerpiece is the Bavarian Rose covered candy dish flanked by the matching candlestick holders, this time with pink candles rather than white. At the end of the table is the dessert and coffee service.

Research on this set is difficult. Replacements, Ltd. does not list Bavarian Rose with Wawel, as clearly marked on the bottom of each of the dessert set pieces; rather they have it in with Walbrzych, also a Polish china maker. Under Wawel, there are several like patterns, the closest being named "Rose Garden", but not an exact pattern. There is no mention of any transfer of Wawel to Royal Kent china, but online sources mention Wawel went back to its roots and called itself "Krzystof" (Culture.pl). The plant went from private, to state controlled during Cold War, and in 1992 went back to a private company. A name change in 2010 was made due to new ownership; it is now Porcelana Krzystof. Other sources call it "Kristoff Fine Porcelain" (Tea With Grace). The site sells Rose Garden and states the pattern was first produced in 1936, so perhaps Bavarian Rose was made close to that time period. Maybe not. Yet another source says the plant fell into financial hardship in 2011 and went bankrupt in 2012 (theoldstuff.com). So, as you can see, it isn't easy to pin down much on this pattern because online searches are difficult.

The Austrian plates are also not that easy to track. It seems to be a popular pattern among dinnerware manufacturers in the late 1800s to early 1920s, taken from the popular French Haviland pattern called "Ranson". I have this pattern in a Haviland piece, the two Austrian plates, and a lot of dinnerware made by, I think, Knowles, Taylor and Knowles, made from 1890 to 1929. It's hard to say with no markings on the bottom of the pieces! Apparently, the KTK pieces were made for the hotel trades, but could also be found in other restaurants and in church kitchens.

This little Bavarian Rose set has served me well. For, due to making payments on time, this helped me purchase not one, but two historic homes in my beloved historic district. So, dreams do come true with hard work and perseverance!

On the menu:

Summer salad with seared sea scallops;
Filet of Beef;
Roasted Garlic and Cheese Mashed Potatoes;
Steamed broccoli
Strawberry Shortcake (yes, shortcakes store bought!)

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