Chinese dragon ironstone plate, c1880, £365, Belgravia Lane.
0333 344 1915; 1stdibs.com
Christian Lacroix ‘Sol y Sombra’ dinner plate, £44, Amara.
0800 587 7645; amara.com
‘Hire Wire’ bone china dinner plate, £45, Melody Rose.
07984 166227; melodyrose.co.uk
1960s Fornasetti ‘Themes & Variations’ plate, £450, Holly Johnson.
01260 253110; hollyjohnsonantiques.com
‘Linen’ serving platter, £100, Adventino.
0845 120 3224; adventino.co.uk
Minton hand-decorated porcelain plate, c1870, £138, The Old Cinema.
020 8995 4166; theoldcinema.co.uk
‘Lily Pond’ dinner plate, £16, Anthropologie.
00800 0026 8476; anthropologie.com
Delftware earthenware charger, c1765, £575, John Howard.
01993 812580; 1stdibs.com
Staffordshire Pottery ‘Queen Caroline’ plate, c1821, £270, Andrew Dando.
01225 865444; andrewdando.co.uk
Whether you hang them in clusters on a wall, arrange them beautifully on a dresser or eat your dinner from them, a collection of plates is an everyday treasure (and something to be continually added to).
These generally circular flat dishes evolved from simple carved wooden or clay bowls and trenchers – flat, round pieces of hard bread or wood used in the medieval period. By the 1650s, huge quantities of pewter plates were made as households across the social spectrum replaced their trenchers, although the acid from tomatoes leached the lead in the pewter and caused poisonings, leading to a major fear of the fruit.
Then along came the European ceramics industry, with the likes of Josiah Wedgwood opening potteries in the mid 18th century, making porcelain and bone china plates available to the masses. Something about their hygiene and the ability to decorate ceramic plates has meant they endure to this day.
Take a look through this gallery to get a taste of the pretty patterns you’ll be able to find, whether old or new.