Thursday, June 12, 2014

Greenbrier Resort China Tablescape

(Thank you, Cindy, at Dwellings, for featuring this post!)

Today's tablescape post is directly related to the post I wrote earlier this week on The Historical WV Greenbrier - America's Resort.  It is a table set almost entirely with china and serving utensils collected either directly from the Greenbrier, or inspired by the designs of Dorothy Draper for the Greenbrier, in White Sulphur Springs, WV.  It makes for a bright and whimsical table setting.
Greenbrier china tablescape
When the famed resort was redecorated after World War II, Dorothy Draper stamped her bold colors and oversized florals on almost every surface at the Greenbrier.  The rhododendron, West Virginia's state flower, took center stage on everything from fabrics to china.  The restaurant ware china most notably known as the Greenbrier's - white with green rim and rhododendron transfer on the plate's center as one example - was commissioned into production and made by several companies as part of the branding strategy.  The companies which have made the Greenbrier hotel china include the Homer Laughlin China (HLC) company of Newell, West Virginia, as well as Syracuse (NY), Mayer, and Shenango China companies (both PA).
Homer Laughlin China "Greenbrier" pattern 
More collectible Greenbrier china pieces would include those marked with "Made for the Greenbrier, Styled by Dorothy Draper Inc, New York", most of which I have seen being made by Syracuse. However, I have a regional interest in owning the HLC company china, being that it was produced here in my home state, so the higher pedigree remains elusive to me.  All pieces in this tablescape have been collected from local estate sales, auctions, and antique stores.  A few pieces were scoured from eBay.  Most date from the early 1960's.

There are many variations in the Greenbrier china over the years since 1947 when it was first introduced: some have gold edging on the plates, some do not; some have rhododendron transfers within the cups vs. the saucer centers; some plates are green rimmed, some are pink.  The overall design can also vary, wherein the rhododendron was not as prominent, rather it was entwined within a ribbon design on the rim.
Greenbrier pink rim dinner plate
My tablescape is set with the classic pink and green rimmed plates, without gold edging.  The HLC cup and saucer have the rhododendron on the center of the saucer.  There are two serving plates on the table, including a relish and platter.  Other vintage, collected pieces rounding out the tablescape include a jadeite bud vase, silverplate bird salt and peppers, Depression-era stemware, and a pink linen, hemstitched table topper with napkins (layered over a vintage damask tablecloth).

The silverplate flatware on my tablescape is vintage Oneida, made specifically for the Greenbrier, stamped on the back with the hotel's logo and maker's names.
"Oneida, LTD. - The Greenbrier
The front side of the flatware is engraved with the letter "G", in Greenbrier logo, script style.
Service for eight flatware was obtained at a special auction held in 2011, whereby much of the original, post-WWII Greenbrier furnishings were being auctioned off to make way for the hotel's renewed excellence and 5-star status.  Once native West Virginian Jim Justice successfully purchased the Greenbrier outright in 2009, he was committed to updating all furnishings that were past their prime and glory.  The auction was huge, held at the local county fairgrounds, and had three, concurrent rings going, simultaneously.  Auctioneers from at least two states conducted the business, and being in attendance for the event was history in the making - very exciting!  I was also able to purchase a few other metals, including a hotel silver(plate) coffee pot, and a few engraved mint julep cups.  The stacks of china, glassware, uniforms, recreational equipment, rugs, fabric bolts, bunker chairs - even an Electrolux Molteni commercial stove and numerous limousines - were among the furnishings that day!

Collecting hotel silver and china can sometimes be the sole objective for some vintage junkers, dealers, thrifters (whatever label you choose).  For me, they're cross collectibles - I love china (especially the durable, restaurant ware and ironstone kinds), and old metals (practically indestructible!) - and being hotel affiliated, especially with the local history, make them that much more attractive to me.  Plus, if you know me at all, you know I love linens, so this just gives me another reason to dress the table and create.  Do you collect hotel items?  I'd love to hear your regional locales', or even distant, stories, if you do.

There's plenty more history on the Greenbrier and its change of ownership  over the last 230+ years in the link to my last post, furnished both here and at the beginning of this post.  You can also go directly to:  the Greenbrier.com website for even more information.

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