The Charleston Silver Lady
Sumptuous dinner plates make for a special meal with southern influence,
These 4 dinner plates were made of fine, white English porcelain by Royal Doulton. They are an unknown pattern that was likely made as a custom order.
On the under side a mark lists Royal Doulton as the maker. The mark includes the name of the retailer and its location, often done as advertising. This retail location would have been one of a few in California to offer Royal Doulton porcelain during the Victorian period. When you consider that California is one of our youngest states, we are compelled to think of how unlikely it was for these plates to be commissioned.
A decorator painted colored details. Another painted linear details and yet another painted the gold overlay. Porcelain was complex and patterns were emerging so artistic expression was favored.
These plates such are true dinner plates. They went on the table without a charger underneath. Their undulating border would have been beautifully highlighted by the wood or decorative cloth underneath.
I have shown these plates many times in museums and at lectures. They are as sought after today as they were over 100 years ago. The details I shared with you above are what set them apart from porcelain that just ‘looks like them’. Turn your plates over and you are sure to learn more about their place in history.
These plates were used at a dinner party for a past US President of the United States years ago on Kiawah Island. I provided the tablescape and was the speaker.
The menu was an elegant lowcountry feast. The recipe I will share with you is one from this evening. This was placed on the plate along side the entree’. This is the Old Charleston version. It serves 6 as a side dish, 2 or 3 as an entrée.
2 cups Carolina Gold Rice - please use it for this as the taste is more authentic
2 cups of finely chopped yellow onion
2 chopped scallions. Chop green tops, too
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp salt
2 tbs salted butter
2 cups of cooked, shredded chicken breast
Sweat the onions in the pot you intend to make the rice in using the 2 tbs butter.
Once they are soft and lightly browned, add all remaining ingredients using the package directions to know the proper amount of water when cooking 2 cups of rice. Bring to a boil and continue on as the package directs for cooking the rice.
Before serving, garnish with some snipped scallions and a few deveined, shelled, cooked and chopped shrimp. You can leave out the shrimp and it is just as good. Do not leave out the scallions at the end as they make it so much better.
Living in Lexington about 15 years, I know many Chicken Bog and ‘Chicken and Rice recipes closely mirror this one. Famous for this are ladies named Emily and Rose who come quickly to mind.
Cooler weather is coming and with it the opportunity to enjoy a simple meal that generations of South Carolinians and even a visiting US President enjoyed.
Pull out your own family plates or go to our area antique malls to gather a collection using this information to guide you to make memories for those you love.