My Grandmother’s China


by Lydia Ellison

Last time we were in the South (right after we were engaged), Drew estimated that 75% of all conversations we had with his family were about china patterns. China is an important part of a family’s lineage in the South, all of the women in Drew’s family have at least three sets of china (everyday, wedding and Christmas) and maybe one or two sets they have inherited from a grandmother. I love to look at all the sets and hear the stories about the women who owned them and the time in which each pattern was popular. Just image the meals some of that china has tasted, the conversations it has absorbed over the decades.


For me the penultimate in china patterns has always been my Grandmother Mary Sullivan’s. It’s the Castleton Turquoise that she received for her wedding to my Grandfather, 55 years ago.


It’s Tiffany blue-turquoise color captured my childhood heart and has reigned supreme all these years. I always knew I would “register” for this same pattern in honor of my Grandmother and her classic good taste. Today she gave us two settings from her collection as an engagement gift. I’m so touched and honored.


She also gave us six linen cocktail and dinner napkins handmade by my great Grandmother as part of my Grandmother’s wedding trousseau. The linen color matches the china and they are embellished with silver thread to pick up the platinum edge of the china pattern.


I couldn’t help but do some mix and matching with some dishes I already own…


accent plates from Anthropologie.


And, after Gram left today and I laid out the plates to show Drew he said “I couldn’t have designed a more perfect china pattern myself, I love that blue.”

Wow! Last words I ever expected to hear him say…

Thanks again Gram. We will treasure these always.

9 Comments on My Grandmother’s China

  1. alissa
    March 9, 2010 at 6:13 pm (13 years ago)

    so special pal

  2. Jane Ellison
    March 9, 2010 at 6:49 pm (13 years ago)

    Yes, so many meals and memories with that China and linen place mats and napkins, never knew Grandma Gretchen’s made them?
    I guess china is special, isn’t it?
    Love the red accent plates, so chic

  3. Katie
    March 9, 2010 at 11:33 pm (13 years ago)

    This is so beautiful! May be my favorite china pattern as well 🙂

  4. Mary Sullivan
    March 9, 2010 at 11:48 pm (13 years ago)

    Dear Lydia,
    Thank you for this wonderful story and pictures.
    My china looks very right in your home and I am so
    happy that you love it and will use it with joy.
    Love, Gram

  5. Halie
    March 10, 2010 at 5:13 pm (13 years ago)

    Stunning!!!! I love how well it mixes with your cute Anthro plates. Maybe it’s time I dusted off the set I got from my Aunt Flo…

  6. applesandonions
    March 11, 2010 at 4:34 pm (13 years ago)

    Halie- Aunt Flo has good taste, those dresses you wore to my party were her’s right?
    Katie- so sweet, glad you like it! I know you’ve seen some pretty china in your day

  7. Sarah Hanson
    March 12, 2010 at 12:24 pm (13 years ago)

    What a nice story! The china is beautiful.

2Pingbacks & Trackbacks on My Grandmother’s China

  1. […] I got them in the Aqua glass color to feed my other addiction to the color turquoise as seen here and […]

  2. […] we gathered for Mother’s Day brunch at Grandma’s. She entertains with her wedding china, crystal and silver which makes everything feel extra […]

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