How to decorate with blue and white china

Blue and white is a pairing that looks are fresh today as the first export wares did in the 17th century. Mix old and new for a home that radiates personality.

A dresser and table full of blue and white detailed platters, cups and saucers

Create height and visual interest on chests of drawers and shelves with an eclectic mix of blue and white ceramics. Place two statement pieces either end of a mantelpiece to produce pleasing symmetry.

Stunning white and blue ceramics on a mantelpiece
Agatha armchair in Opulence Royal, £399, SofaSofa. Goa Medallion cushion, £35, John Lewis. Oriental cabinet, location’s own (find similar at Nook Deco). On cabinet (left to right): small plant pot with succulent, stylist’s own; Chinese vase, £16, Homesense; hand-painted Blue Sea Water with Five Dragons on Clouds vase, £175, Nook Deco; Delft jug, £65, Rachel’s & Michael’s Antiques; square ginger jar, £20, Homesense; James Kent, Nanking bird vase 1920s, £48, Lovers of Blue & White; Keeling Cavendish vase 1920s, £160, Lovers of Blue & White; small plant pot with succulent, stylist’s own; Tea Tree vase lamp base, £99, India Jane. Bobbin leg jardinière, £200, Dig Haüshizzle. On jardinière: Chinese vase, £16.99, Homesense; blue and white bowl (used as plant pot), £19.99, Homesense. On mantelpiece (left to right): King Kangxi hand-painted blue and white vase, £275, Nook Deco; Wedgwood Ferrara vase with cover c1916, £115, Lovers of Blue & White; blue and white vase with leaf detail, £150, Focus on the Past; ginger jar, £120, Focus on the Past; 19th-century blue and white jug, £65, Focus on the Past; Burleigh Arden jug, £23.95, Lovers of Blue & White; blue and white Chinese ceramic jar, £98, Nook Deco. Grimwades Carro chamber pot c1900, £65, Lovers of Blue & White. Throws (in foreground): Tiles throw, £35, John Lewis; Elsie Tassel throw, £39.50, Marks & Spencer.

Striped Cornish Blue, oriental-style patterned platters and delicately detailed cups and saucers work in harmony on this magnificent dresser, ensuring the working kitchen is a practical as well as an inviting space.

A dresser and table full of blue and white detailed platters, cups and saucers
On dresser (top shelf, left to right): enamel flour bin, £15, Focus on the Past; enamel sugar dredger, £12, Focus on the Past; De Porceleyne Fles Delft bowl, £45, Rachel’s & Michael’s Antiques; blue and white jug, £70, Focus on the Past; blue and white plant pot with succulent, stylist’s own; blue enamel saucepan, £12, Focus on the Past; white enamel serving tray, £22, Falcon. On hooks (left to right): enamel funnel, £12, Focus on the Past; enamel coffee pot, £8.50, Focus on the Past; Cornish Blue measuring jug, £33, Focus on the Past; gravy boat, £5, The Giant Shepton Flea Market; cream jug, stylist’s own. Middle shelf (left to right): French storage jars (includes flour jar on table), £90, Focus on the Past; blue bowl, £40, Focus on the Past; enamel blue bowl with cut-out pattern, £20, Etsy; enamel white saucepan with blue design, £25, Etsy; large continental blue and white animal scene tile c1880 with a frame, £225, Richard Hoppé Antiques; white milk jug, £7, Rachel’s and Michael’s Antiques; enamel camping mug, £3, The Giant Shepton Flea Market; yellow jug, location’s own. Bottom shelf (left to right): capers jar, £50, Focus on the Past; Willow Pattern serving platter, £30, Focus on the Past; Furnivals Denmark teapot, £70, Lovers of Blue & White; Churchill Finlandia teacup and saucer, £8, Etsy; blue and white oriental enamel jug, £4, The Giant Shepton Flea Market; copper French pan (part of a set), £80, Focus on the Past; blue vintage enamel bread bin, £40, Focus on the Past. On table: flour jar (part of a set), £90, Focus on the Past; Cornishware sugar and flour dredgers, £38 each, Focus on the Past; Greens mixing bowl, £25, Focus on the Past; Madeleine baking tins, £8 each, Malvern Flea & Collectors Fair; Prestige retro blue whisk, £11, Focus on the Past; blue and white floral cake tin, £5.99, Homesense. Ercol Windsor chair, stylist’s own.

Varying sizes of blue and white look elegant grouped together. Fill a selection with loose arrangements of foliage and flowers to accentuate the blue with additional colour.

White and blue ceramic flower pots
Chinese vase, £16, Homesense. Delft jug, £65, Rachel’s & Michael’s Antiques. James Kent, Nanking bird vase 1920s, £48, Lovers of Blue & White. Wedgwood Ferrara vase with cover c1916, £115, Lovers of Blue & White. Ginger jar, £120, Focus on the Past.

Vintage and modern china sits beautifully side by side, thanks to its unifying blue and white palette.

A collection of vintage and modern China
(Clockwise from top left): French white plate with blue flower/leaf detail, £30, Focus on the Past; Pacific dinner plate, £12, Royal Doulton; Blue Arden plate, £16, Burleigh; plate with pale border, stylist’s own; French plate depicting fishermen, £15, Focus on the Past; floral plate (just seen), stylist’s own; Pacific Splash dinner plate, £12, Royal Doulton; plate with heron motif, stylist’s own; Johnson Bros Jamestown plate (in centre), £8, Malvern Flea & Collectors Fair; pale blue floral plate with scalloped edge, stylist’s own; Wedgwood Harmony side plate (just seen), £10, Focus on the Past; English Ironstone plate, £10, Etsy; temple scene plate, £25, Focus on the Past.

Any room in your home is a suitable candidate for a small collection of blue and white ceramics. Add a richly coloured blue glass bottle or vase to anchor the theme.

A white dress with a blue pattern on it hangs by a mantelpiece with a number of blue and white ceramics on it
On mantelpiece (left to right): Spanish blue studded glass decanter (part of a set), £60, Rag & Bone; two Delft bottles, £11 each, Focus on the Past; 19th-century Belgian memento mori oil on board, £360, Rag & Bone; Pearl Pottery Sandringham vase c1920s, £90, Lovers of Blue & White. Wardrobe, location’s own (find similar at The French Bedroom Company).On wardrobe: vintage wooden hanger, £5, The Giant Shepton Flea Market; 1950s dress with blue stitched flower details, £65, Rachel’s & Michael’s Antiques. Burleigh Calico ewer and bowl, £160, Lovers of Blue & White.

With their delicate detailing, English Delft tiles are ideal adornments for a bathroom, where they can be used to create an eye-catching splashback behind the basin.

A basin on a mantelpiece
Three c1900 English blue and white transfer-printed tiles in a frame, £165, Richard Hoppé Antiques. English Delft tiles, £19.96 each, Fired Earth; Mayer Canova c1830 ewer and bowl, £260, Lovers of Blue & White. Two blue medicine bottles, £5 each, The Giant Shepton Flea Market. Enamel white soap dish, £14, No.56. Hand towels, £9.50 each, Marks & Spencer. Blue and white beads, £12, Focus on the Past. Enamel toothbrush holder, £8, No.56. Blue and white plant pot, £45, Dig Haüshizzle.

Yellow accents create a fresh and surprising contrast to the classic combination of blue and white.

A table with a collection of blue and white ceramics on it
Still life by William Packer, location’s own (from Piers Feetham Gallery). Table, chairs, cabinet and rug, all location’s own. On window seat: Fusion Ikat cushion in Indigo, £15, John Lewis. On table (left to right): Denby Studio Blue coupe plates, £40 for four, John Lewis; Delft side plate, £15, Focus on the Past; Denby Studio Blue rice bowls, £35 for four, John Lewis; Spanish studded blue glassware, £60, Rag & Bone; Chateau glass tumbler, £6, John Lewis; Denby Studio noodle bowl, £18, John Lewis; Denby Studio Blue Ridged bowl, £18, John Lewis; Pacific mugs, £55 for six, Royal Doulton; Denby Studio Blue Ridged mugs, £28 for two, John Lewis; Harbour striped bowl, £6, John Lewis; Pacific bowls, £48 for six, Royal Doulton; large blue and white paisley design vase, £29.99, Homesense; Denby Studio Blue dinner coupes, £50 for four, John Lewis; gold 16-piece cutlery set, £25, Dunelm; Pacific mug, as before; Denby Studio Blue coupe plates, as before; Denby Studio noodle bowls, as before; Denby Studio Blue shallow bowls, from £9 each, John Lewis; Denby Studio Blue Chalk/Flint ramekins, £9 each, John Lewis. Victorian glass pendant, £150, Rag & Bone. On cabinet: serving plate, £28, Focus on the Past. Top shelf: Lucca tumbler in Cobalt, £9, The Conran Shop; Tumbler Blue, £18, The Conran Shop; Blue Arden plate, £12, Burleigh; Fusion Hammered tumbler, £5, John Lewis; Tumbler Blue glasses, £18 each, The Conran Shop; handled vase, £72, Bristol Blue Glass; large bauble, £45, Bristol Blue Glass. Middle shelf: Lucca tumbler in Cobalt, £9, The Conran Shop; Asiatic Pheasants plate, £16, Burleigh; tumblers, £32 each, Bristol Blue Glass; Lucca tumblers, £9 each, The Conran Shop; Fusion Hammered Highball glass, £7, John Lewis; De Porceleyne Fles Delft bowl, £45, Rachel’s & Michael’s Antiques. Bottom shelf: jugs, from £76 each, Bristol Blue Glass; goblets, £38 each, Bristol Blue Glass; Blue Arden plate, £16, Burleigh.

The full feature on decorating with vintage wall charts appeared in the May 2018 issue of Homes & Antiques.

Advertisement

Photographs: Philip Sowels

Advertisement

Styling: Ali Attenborough