Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My Cabinet of Curiosities: PIGS

P1010205 The Cabinet of Curiosities

I started collecting pig figurines (using that word makes me feel like a little old lady or Miss Havisham), banks, boxes, planters and so on over 20 years ago.  I am not sure why pigs became the focus of a collection for me.  I do find pigs visually appealing in terms of their usually gigantic stature and pink, brown or black skin.  They are also extremely intelligent and even taste good especially a nice pork chop.

Perhaps, it was my reading of Charlotte’s Web in elementary school and seeing the subsequent animated film that sparked my interest.  Or maybe it was reading Animal Farm in junior high school in which pigs took over the farm and controlled the other animals with their intelligence and ruthlessness.  Both of these novels could be the origin of my gnawing pig desire that finally emerged in me, causing a grown man to have a display cabinet filled with these creatures- some valuable, some quite inexpensive in varying shapes, sizes, colors, materials and narratives.

But here I must insert a word of WARNING.  If you collect something as general as pigs (or owls or cats) and not something more specific like 19th century American silver aesthetic flatware, people around you feel quite happy and obligated to buy you any pig sh*t that they can find.  Keep it a secret if you can.  For each pig I own now, there are about 3 others languishing in a thrift shop somewhere or in a landfill.

This state of affairs got so bad that I had to announce a pig moratorium.  No more pigs please!  Only my dear friend H____ can now buy me pigs because she always finds unusual and fun ones.  None have wound up in a landfill.  She is my official pig buyer.  And in actuality I rarely buy pigs for myself anymore.

So, here are a bunch of pigs that reside in my cabinet of curiosities.

Figurines

P1010193 Wild Boar by Herend

P1010195 Imari Pig by Royal Crown Derby

P1010194 Nodding Head Pig, German, circa 1930’s

P1010191 Pig in a Hot Air Balloon?, German, 1920’s-30’s

P1010192 Pig Buddha

P1010196 4 Miniature Glass Pigs

Banks

P1010190 The Wise Pig Bank

P1010238 Pig Bursting Through A Drum Bank

P1000194 I Love Money Pig Bank

P1010239 Pig with a Beauty Mark Bank

Other Pigs

P1010240 Pig Salt & Pepper, Japanese, 1930’s

P1010197 Japanese Pig Key Chain

P1010199 Pig Pitcher

P1010241 Pig Tin Box late 19th Century

P1010237 Pig Planter

Monday, April 26, 2010

Justin Bond is a SUPERSTAR!!!

justinbondandme Justin autographing my CD.  I was a bit speechless.

Last night I saw a brilliant performance by Justin Bond at Joe’s Pub.  I have been an ardent fan of Justin Bond since the early 1990’s when I used to see her sing rock and roll at Squeezebox! and host an East Village party called FOXY.  And for many years I enjoyed the visceral and poignant performances of her alter ego, the fictional character, Kiki DuRane, a boozy, aging, over-the-hill lounge singer who is one part of the fantastic, dynamic duo, Kiki & Herb

justinbondshow Justin Bond at Joe’s Pub 25 April 2010

Last night Justin Bond seemed a bit mellower, more in control than the extremely raw and out of control performances of Kiki who always vented anger and frustration as she covered songs from Kate Bush to Nirvana.  But this emotional venting was in a sense Kiki’s reason for being.  At Joe’s Pub Justin Bond was not a character, but just him/herself.  And while her performance was not visceral or angry, it still had the poignancy and heightened emotion of his performances as Kiki and perhaps more so.   In a set, that included covers of Yoko Ono’s What A Bastard The World Is, Roberta Flack and Donna Hathaway’s 1972 hit Where Is the Love?, Bambi Lake’s The Golden Age of  Hustlers, the English folk song John Riley and a tweaked version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, to some of Justin’s own songs like the haunting Salome, the show was magical, ethereal, beautiful, smart and filled with desire, longing, lost love, female power, laughter, tears and sighs.

Justin Bond singing Salome at Upright Caberet Feburary 2010

Within history Salome is understood as “a wicked mistress of the ages” who through her sexual power and deviancy expressed in the dance of the seven veils, forces King Herod to execute John the Baptist and present her with his decapitated head as her prize.  In the song Salome Justin Bond imagines this historical outsider as a symbol of female power who has been demonized by history for her sexuality and her desire for the head of the Baptist.  As Justin sings, “…self-righteous men have denied your power…”  Her power could be understood symbolically as the act of castration/decapitation which Salome wields as a kind of Phallic Mother.    The song is a beautiful and eerie endeavor to recoup the “wicked mistress” as a real and independent woman of desire and not as an evil, selfish seductress.   The song ends, “So, say your prayers when glamour turns at midnight cause there’s a chance you’re gonna lose your head.”

Justin Bond What A Bastard The World Is

Like Salome in the course of history, the woman in Yoko Ono’s What A Bastard The World Is is being mistreated by a man.  It chronicles the tale of a woman who is waking up in the early morning after a night spent wondering where her man is and why he is not with her.  Justin sings: 

Where were you all night if I may ask you so?
Though I don’t care at all, Id just like to know.
Right! you weren’t near the phone to call me from,
Or is it you were afraid to wake me up?
I’m sick and tired of listening to the same old crap.

And while she threatens to leave him, reminds her man of women’s liberation and calls him a pig and a bastard, she in the end cannot leave.  She apologizes and stays.  The world is a bastard not for the way men treat women, but for taking her man away from her.  It is the world’s failing not her man’s.  Justin sings the last few lines:

Female lib is nice for joan of arc,
But its a long, long way for terry and jill.
Most of us were taught not to shout our will,
Few of us are encouraged to get a job for skill.
And all of us live under the mercy of male society,
Thinking that their want is our need.

The song is on one level about frustrated desire, desire for liberation, desire for power,  desire for equality and it shows that things have not changed that much since the time of Salome.  Women live within a society created by male rules and needs.  As the song states, they are taught that male wants and desires are in actuality the needs of women.  The woman in the song cannot escape this trap.  She may despise what her man does, but she believes or has been taught to believe that without him she is nothing.

 

Justin Bond The Golden Age of Hustlers Upright Caberet Febuary 2010

The Golden Age of Hustlers is another song about the outsider, the other, the prostitute just like the woman in Yoko Ono’s What A Bastard The World Is and Justin’s Salome. Yet, despite their marginalization the hookers endure, they survive and to a degree they triumph in the their life on their terms. 

It is a song about desire, self-realization and also importantly nostalgia.  The title itself is a combination of disparate elements- golden age indicating the zenith of a particular nation or art and hustlers conjuring up negative connotations of disease, drugs, exploitation and the selling of one’s body.  But in this song and in the world there was indeed a golden age of hustlers- a moment in San Francisco in the 1970’s when a family was created, “my hustler husbands,” that allowed these sex workers to persist and for the singer of the song, one of the sex workers, to look back fondly and with desire, singing:

Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can never hurt me.  The queens and the hustlers of the red light zones never did desert me.

I saw the best bodies of my generation sold, bartered and destroyed by prostitution.

The prettiest boy I ever saw was San Jose Johnny the Libra, they don’t make’m like that anymore, baby face gentlemen outlaw.

Today, (male) prostitution operates mainly through online agencies and sites that display advertisements of individual sex workers.  While street hooking still exists, it like so much of life has been transformed by technology, hence the nostalgic aspect of the song.  The song creates a glamorous world of prostitution, yet in the end it is quite sad.  Lurking behind the endurance, survival and the camaraderie of the hustlers is violence, disease and desperation.  While the audience revels in the song’s triumph and glorified past, “names can never hurt me,” it is haunted by the ultimate reality of such a life “destroyed by prostitution” which makes the song all the more poignant.

At some point during the show at Joe’s Pub Justin related a story about meeting the one and only Jane Fonda who apparently asked him if he was transgendered.  Justin replied yes and Jane went on to talk about how transgendered man is the ultimate threat to the patriarchy because a  male is giving up literally his phallic privileges.  And Jane rightly concluded that this sacrificing of the Phallus could also be achieved whether or not the individual actually removed their penis.  It is an apt encounter for Justin Bond whose blurring of the masculine and the feminine is a subversive act.  In this regard, the songs he chooses to perform whether his own or someone else’s are all about the other, the outsider, the woman, the queer all who must struggle in the face of straight male oppression.  They are a celebration of a feminine power often denied within history.  His performance is more than entertainment, more than funny, more than poignant, it is an act of political revolution and it is for me always a moment of pure bliss.

Justin Bond Superstar Abrons Art Center 2008

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hot Monsters of Television and Film

Foto_Bela_Lugosi The original hot monster, Bela Lugosi

In my recent blog post, In Search of a Hot Monster:  The Boys of London, I discussed the results of an experiment I conducted during my visit to the United Kingdom to see how many lads of London would click my digital counter so to speak as a hot monster.  The goal of the experiment is to determine if the blokes of London are hotter monsters than the boys of New York City.  To reach this goal, I am presently conducting my research in the city until 29 April 2010, keeping a daily tally of hits and notes about those hits.  I will ultimately compare these results with my London score of 68 hot monsters.

Since I of course cannot include photographs of the hot monsters I saw in London (except the 3 soldiers at The Tower of London) or those that I am now seeing here in the States, I have decided to post pictures of 10 hot monsters from film and TV that have caused me to pause and look twice.  Now, generally, I am not a star f*cker or an obsessed and fixated fan, but these 10 men from the past and the present, living and dead, have always struck my fancy and continue to strike it today.  Posting these images will give you dear reader a sense of my own parameters for the designation and accolade of hot monster which I carefully bestow on the men of the world.

I.  Jon Hamm

jonhamm

Jon Hamm is a total dream.  I chose this photograph of him because his look here with tussled hair, facial scruff and wide eyes looking up is in such contrast to his character Don Draper’s appearance on Mad Men.  That look too is hot, hot,  hot.  The slim fitting suit with the dark skinny tie and the Brill creamed hair is incredibly sexy- a sexiness which is only heightened by his smoking and the clinking of the glass of rye whiskey on the rocks he often holds in his hand.  A good tumble would mess up that slicked hair nicely and its residue would be all over the bed.

II.  Gil Gerard

buck01

Gil Gerard occupied the fantasies of my adolescence when he appeared in TV’s Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, a show of mediocre quality and limited and perhaps only nostalgic scifi appeal.  Yet, Gil in his skin tight 2 piece white bodysuit that accentuated everything more than made up for the poor storylines and continually rehashed special effects.  From what I remember, Gil had a massive hairy chest which he often displayed on the show in I guess an attempt for ratings from overtired moms and queer teen boys like myself.  I think he would be classified as a “bear” in today’s parlance.

III.  Chris O’Donnell

gap_codonnell

Chris O’Donnell first came to my attention wearing a skintight suit as Robin in one of the piss poor Batman sequels.  There was an attempt at the time to position him as a teen idol for teenage girls (and boys), but he never had enough fluff to pull that subject position off.  He has returned recently on the CBS show NCIS: Los Angeles where his suedehead haircut, facial scruff and icy blue eyes are extremely seductive.  He is an individual who has gotten hotter as he has gotten older.

IV.  Chuck Heston

charlton-heston

Chuck Heston always conjures up wonderful memories for  me.  The first time I saw him on film was in 1974 when my family lived in Brooklyn and I watched Planet of the Apes  for the first time at a movie revival house.  I was not only struck by the film’s narrative, but also by the site of Chuck’s naked body.  I was hooked on Heston from that moment.  Not only was he a ruggedly handsome man, but a wonderful actor.  See Touch of Evil especially or even Ben-Hur.  I even love him in his other scifi adventures such as Soylent Green and my all time favorite The Omega Man.  His gun comments late in life were unfortunate and divisive at the time, but  I choose to remember him naked diving into that lagoon on a future Earth.

V.  Brad Davis

braddavis

Brad Davis died too young, but he left us with two wonderful movies:  Midnight Express in 1978 and the masterful Querelle directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder.  That film  is like a hallucinatory dream in its almost Technicolor brilliance and surreal sets and Brad Davis is scorching as the sailor Georges Querelle who exudes desire as both object and subject throughout the film.

VI.  Peter Facinelli

damages_facinelli

Peter Facinelli caught my attention when he appeared on the first season of Damages with Glenn Close a few years ago.  He is total eye candy and in my list of hot monsters of television and film there should be at least one gratuitous, purely visceral entrant.  And Peter is it.  Currently, he stars on Nurse Jackie with Edie Falco.

VII.  John Goodman

John_Goodman_519451

Ok, now some of you are perhaps scratching your head and those of you in the know are not.  John Goodman especially in his younger days on Roseanne is a total hot monster and a giant one at that.  There is something about his smile, his humor, his acting ability and the way he moves his big body that is dead sexy or as my friend would say dumpy sex.  Try it.

VIII.  Lee Majors

LeeMajors1

The Six Million Dollar Man is yet another crush from my queer childhood.  I was 7 when Lee Majors first ran 60 mph in his sexy red tracksuit unzipped just enough to reveal his lush hairy chest.  I had the action figure with the removable arm skin to reveal his bionic components and I even joined the Six Million Dollar Man Fan Club.  Even now the promotional shot of Lee Majors you received with your membership hangs in my bathroom.  It is strangely signed (printed really) by the character Col. Steve Austin rather than Mr. Majors.

IX.  Sean Penn

seanpenn

Sean Penn was never really on my radar until he starred in the film 21 Grams in 2003.  The film has a complex, non-linear narrative in which each character has a past, present and future storyline that are interwoven and eventually resolved at the end of the film.  He was wonderful in that film and at the age of 43 revealed his ass for the sake of the narrative (HA!)  and I was impressed and intrigued.  Like Chris O’Donnell his appeal to me is growing as he ages.

X.  Matt Dillon

mattdillon

Like Sean Penn, Matt Dillon has continued to look better and better with age.  I have always had a soft spot for Mr. Dillon which I cannot easily explain.  I have enjoyed him in films such as The Outsiders, To Die For and particularly Drugstore Cowboy and Factotum where he starred opposite the amazing Lili Taylor.  He is clearly a strong actor and there is something about his dark eyes and the shape of his head that is endlessly alluring.  Also, perhaps I like that he has survived teen stardom and endured as a successful actor.  Endurance is always appealing.

Conclusion

So, hopefully, my 10 hot monster choices of television and film will give you dear reader a sense of what I find appealing and sexy as well as  render my experiment into the hot monster competition between London and New York more elucidating.  Or you could just enjoy the photos. 

Finally, what are your hot monsters for television and film?  Who strikes your fancy?  Who were the crushes of your childhood and adolescence?  Feel free to share.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Silver Desire: Two Tête-à-Tête Table Settings

Introduction:  The Story of Sterling

Fine Sterling carries with it the same unquestioned authority as other authentic works of art…the inescapable authority of the genuine.  Reproductions may frequently be mistaken for the original…but the genuine carries an assurance that is rarely confused with its imitators.  This is true of people; of books; of paintings; of furniture; of gems; in an especial degree, it is true of silver.  And this authority of the genuine contributes to the people whose lives it touches daily a sense of permanence, of continuity that can come from no other source.  It is more than pride of possession.  It is a reflection of the quality of the thing itself.  A simple dinner served with things of permanent beauty becomes memorable.  And coffee poured from a slender shining pot of silver is a libation to the the guest under the roof-tree,  Too much importance, you say, to attach to material possessions?  But they are part of the ritual of daily life.  And to dignify them with permanence and beauty is to dignify daily life itself.- Jean Parker, The Story of Sterling published by The Sterling Silversmith Guild of America in 1937.

Ms. Jean Parker weaves a fascinating if slightly excessive argument for the use of sterling silver not just on formal occasions but in everyday life.  The Story of Sterling was published by The Sterling Silversmith Guild of America, so it must also be seen as a marketing tool for the industry in its declaration that sterling silver is a necessity for one’s table.  The slim volume details the history of silver and an explanation of styles.  The second part of the book explains proper table settings for breakfast, lunch and so on and what pieces of solid silver are necessary to achieve the right look and smooth operation of your table.

In the introduction, Ms. Parker states that sterling silver is authentic, genuine, permanent, memorable and beautiful.  It is unlike any other material used for the  production of eating implements and goes beyond mere functionality, it is connected to ritual.  Coffee poured from a silver pot is not simply a tasty drink according to the author; it is a libation- a liquid offering to the gods (0f silver?) or to your guest and demonstrates the dignity and esteem in which you hold yourself and them through your use of solid silver.  Owning sterling is not a representation of consumer excess or capitalist endeavor says Ms Parker while at the same time she urges you to own it.  Rather possession of sterling imbues its owner and his/her table with nobility and self-respect.

Generally, I agree with Ms. Parker’s intent, but I am less sympathetic to her conclusions.  Her notions of capitalism, originality and authorship are in 2010 a bit antiquated.  However, she does capture a sense of the difference of sterling silver and how its use on your table can make for a beautiful and memorable experience for you and your guest(s), transforming a simple meal or dessert into something special and rare.

She is of course correct that sterling has an intrinsic value in the metal itself beyond the design or style of the object made from it.  In this regard, she rightly implies the connection of sterling to a sense of history and permanence.  This idea resonates for me in particular and besides the aesthetics of silver is why I collect it. (For more on this concept and my relationship to it, see here and here.)  Collecting antique silver links me to a past, a past seen in the patina of the piece, in its style, in its method of making and in its function.  It conjures up the ghosts of those individuals who possibly used a particular implement in my collection.  A monogram beyond decorative or skillful, can be a haunting, cryptic inscription- a bridge to the past.

What follows are two examples of tête-à-tête table settings, one for coffee and the other for tea with the various pieces of silver I use on such a table.  The pieces employed are both sterling and silverplate.  I am sure Ms. Parker would be horrified at the use of plate and genuine silver together on the same table, but plate although it does not have the intrinsic value of sterling can also be quite beautiful.  Some 19th century plate can rival sterling in design and execution and it is often relatively more affordable than solid silver pieces.

Table Setting I: Coffee and…

P1010122

The main feature of this table set for a tête-à-tête afternoon coffee is a pair of 1902 sterling bud vases by William Comyns, London which I bought during my visit to The London Silver Vaults in P1010124 Chancery Lane at the end of March.   They are the perfect size and style with their cherubs nestled amongst late Victorian swirls for my small round dining table.  For this table, I filled them with purple alstroemeria and a greenish yellow solidaster.  The complementary colors provide a nice contrast to the gleam of the silver and the neutral white table cloth and napkins.  I always like to use a white linen cloth and napkins because it is a great backdrop for the silver and allows it to shimmer especially in candlelight.

The color of the flowers also corresponds well with the porcelain plates as well as the cups and saucers used on this table.  The dishes were made by Lenox in the 04_4A Mandarin pattern which was introduced in 1917.  These are early examples  (1917-18) as indicated by the manufacturing numbers on the pieces.  The pattern has an oriental, japonisme, chinoiserie feel with its asymmetrical and colorful floral design with a yellow butterfly on a pale creamy yellow ground border with a gold rim and a white central area.

P1000290 The table also presents an English silverplate coffeepot by Martin Hall & Co. from Sheffield, circa 1880-1890.  The pot has an overall design of individual flowers in diamond shaped partitions which give the pot a rich, quilted look. It also has a lovely  engraved griffin in the one cartouche of the pot that is perhaps part of the crest of the family who originally owned the piece.

martinhallcoffeepot4

P1010108 The Martin Hall coffeepot sits on a 3 footed salver in Old Sheffield plate.  This type of plating process predates electroplating, a method that continues to today.  Sheffield plate on the other hand is a mechanical way of fusing a thin sheet of solid silver to a thicker core of copper by means of heating and rolling.  The process was invented in the mid-eighteenth century by Thomas Boulsover and continued until 1860 by which time electroplating that had begun in 1840 had already superseded it.  Electroplating gained dominance because it was much cheaper, easier and produced similar results as Old Sheffield Plate.

P1000394

I have recently learned that the mark on this salver, an elephant head with the initials, GA, indicates the maker Robert Gainsford from Sheffield, England and dates this piece to circa 1808-1828.  It is the oldest piece of silver in my collection and is quite beautiful with its shell motif along the rim and its 3 claw and ball feet.  I use this item as an under plate for P1000387 the Martin Hall coffeepot and sometimes to display a 19th century cut crystal decanter, but it also would be lovely to use as a server for 4 glasses of champagne.

The accompanying sterling sugar and creamer are in Gorham’s Strasbourg pattern featuring simple curving embossed decoration and dates from the 1960’s.  The sterling sugar  spoon is in Durgin’s Chrysanthemum pattern which was introduced in 1893.  The wide bowl of the spoon is beautifully decorated with high relief flowers that create an undulating edge.

durginchrysanthemumsugar 

The forks used in the table setting are silverplate pastry forks with a wider outside tine for cutting through thick pastry crust.kannpastryfork They were made by the Kann Brothers Silver Company of Baltimore, Maryland.  The forks feature a monogram of Perkins ‘92 indicating an outside date of 1892 for their manufacture.  Typically aesthetic in style, the handle features an asymmetrical design of flowers, a diagonal geometric decorative band and a bird.

kannpastryfork3 

P1000309 The sterling coffee spoons are in the multi-motif Japanese pattern by Gorham. The pattern was introduced in 1871.  The handle features a closed fan with a swirling ribbon and a dragon fly.  The background is stippled, a technique reminiscent of Japanese metalwork.  The pattern is a result of  the opening of Japan in the mid 19th century and the influence of the decorative arts of Japan on many of the major silver manufacturers of the period such as Whiting, Tiffany, Wood & Hughes and not just Gorham.

The cake knife or saw used to cut the pear tart to be served is silverplate by Holmes Booth & Haydens in a pattern named Corinth that  was  launched in 1879.  The blade is engraved with stylized flowers in a swirling design.

hbhcorinthcakeknife3 

The pie server like the cake saw is also silverplate.  It was made by 1847 Rogers Bros. in a pattern called Lorne that began in 1878.  The paddle of the server is engraved with a detailed hummingbird flying amongst leaves that look like Lady Finger palm fronds.

lornepieserver4 

The cake plate for the pear tart is in silverplate and manufactured by the Meriden Silverplate Company after 1921 according to its mark.  The pattern of the 10” server is Chinese Chippendale and features around its outside edge a series of  seated Chinese figures housed in little pagodas.  The piece is also slightly pierced around and between the pagodas and decorative swirls.

The napkins rings used for this  tête-à-tête afternoon coffee are both English ring2 sterling and were purchased at The London Silver Vaults during my visit at the end of March.  The first is hallmarked Sheffield 1871.  It is decorated with an engraved vine with leaves and a beaded edge. The second ring  was made in Chester in 1902 and features an embossed vine of grapes and leaves against a hammered background.

P1010106

The table is softly lit by a  4 light candelabra in English silverplate by Horace Woodward and Company, Birmingham.  It is dated circa 1884.  It features a classic design with reeded and beaded detail.  Standing 16” tall, it casts a subtle, yet bright light over the table.  In candlelight the gleam of silver is quite striking, yet also mellow and delicate.  And of course everyone looks better in the warm glow of a candle.

P1000296

Table  Setting II:  Afternoon Tea

P1010117

The featured piece of this table setting for a tête-à-tête afternoon tea is an English sterling tea strainer made by Walker & Hall and P1010118hallmarked Sheffield 1935.  It is a stunning piece with its reticulated work and delicate beading along both its handle and pierced bowl.  The strainer was also bought at The London Silver Vaults.  It sits on a lovely creamy white, delicate porcelain cup and saucer rimmed in gold by Haviland Limoges, France with a mark used between 1894-1931.

birdbutterflyplate The dessert plates are aesthetic transferware pottery with enameled birds, flowers and a butterfly enameled in  yellow, raspberry pink, blue and green.   The main flowers appear to be chrysanthemums.  The rim of the plates are accentuated with  a nice arcade transfer in brown and a faded gold edging.  The plates  have no manufacturer’s mark, only a registry number which dates them to 1886.

P1000294 The silverplate teapot sitting on 4 scrolled feet is decorated with a medallion in an imitation of classical antiquity of a bearded soldier wearing a Roman styled  plumed helmet. The medallion is framed by elaborate engraving which includes bell flowers.  The pot was made by Reed & Barton circa 1870.

 

P1000401 

shieblerchyrsanthemumtsp3 The sterling teaspoons in this table setting are in the Chrysanthemum pattern by Shiebler.  This pattern was launched in 1885.  The motif is in the aesthetic style with its graduated chrysanthemum flowers on a basket weave background.

The sugar shell like the teapot features a medallion motif of a classical female head, a gorgeous twisted shank and a scalloped gilt bowl.  The piece was made by Wood & Hughes, a prominent 19th century New York City silver manufacturer.  The spoon dates to circa 1865.

P1000312

The pastry forks, the sugar and creamer, the cake knife, the pie server, the candelabra, the napkin rings, the cake plate and the pair of bud vases are the same items used  in Table Setting I.

Conclusion:  How will you set your table? 

Setting a lovely table is quite easy though it seems that it is done less and less in our fast-paced, technologically obsessed 21st century world.  A simple sandwich or a piece of pastry purchased at a good pâtisserie and served on a beautiful plate on a table with fresh flowers is all that is needed to create a lovely atmosphere for you and your guest.  And your guest will appreciate the (little) trouble you have gone to in order to make them feel welcome in your home and at your table.  So whether your taste is antique or modern, set a well-styled table.  I guarantee you and your friends will enjoy it.

As Ms. Parker states in The Story of Sterling,  “There is magic charm in the stateliness and sparkling beauty of a well-set table.  Snowy linen, flickering candles, graceful flowers, fine china and crystal…all have a part in the lovely picture…but nothing is quite so important as the proud resplendent Sterling, and its correct arrangement.”  I agree wholeheartedly with Ms.  Parker, but she needs to loosen up a bit.  Put together various styles and periods of silver, in both sterling and plate and arrive at an intriguing table display for you and your guests to create that magic charm.

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