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on January 28, 2007
The title of this book ("Laying the elegant table: china...etc") is deceptive, since the book is not really about "LAYING THE ELEGANT TABLE" as stated right at the top of this very expensive book.
Rather, this book is like a history book about china & serving pieces with detailed line drawings showing some rare serving pieces. Historical.

Now, I have no problem with history books about china pieces & patterns, but the problem is that the title of this book would make a reader believe that this book is filled with page after page of table settings, layed out for special occasions, or for everyday occasions, etc. (eg: similar to the Carolyne Roheme books on setting a table, since Carolyne uses lots of Majolica,Faience,tureens and elaborate silver pieces throughout her books).

In this book being reviewed, there are indeed some pretty colored photos. The colored photos that are included in this book are very lovely indeed as others stated, but most of the accessories and china pieces are line drawings. Once again, I have to say that the title of this book is along the lines of "setting the elegant table", NOT "a guide book to china patterns". So this is why I've stated that the TITLE of this book is deceptive, NOT the information.
(Information = good; Title = deceptive)

As most people looking at this book on Amazon will notice, there is not a "click/tab" feature allowing the potential readers to browse through this book (known as: "LOOK INSIDE"). Thus, if you are like me, you must first of all buy this very expensive book ...sight unseen, before realizing,once the book has arrived, that this book is NOT about "laying a table setting", but instead, this book is actually a "guide" to china patterns & pieces . In other words, this is not a "how to book", as the title might make a person believe.

Once again, the colored photos in this book are nice, and the descriptions to all the black and white line drawings seem to be accurate . No complaint there.

Therefore, if a person is looking for a "guide" to some rare and interesting china patterns and pieces, then this book will be of interest, (if you don't mind paying the price, since I could not find this book in any Libraries). Please note though that not ALL china patterns are in this book, or this book would have to be a 10 volume encyclopedia! Instead, the author chose to show a variety of china pieces (eg: special patterns, such as, some French Faience styles, some Majolicas , etc).......Heavy on the French Faience.

The average person will not probably ever personally come across many china patterns in this book, as they are hundreds of years old and extinct. A Museum might be the only place where the rarest antique china patterns and pieces (from this book) would ever be seen. Once again, from an historical perspective, this book is like a history book about old china patterns and china pieces, illustrated mostly in B&W line drawings (the B&W line drawings being very detailed). But if the reader is looking for a book on how to set a table or how to display china pieces on a modern table, then there are other books issued on that theme.
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on January 8, 2007
Perhaps it was those years in college of using mayonaise, jelly, and cheese bottles for glasses that has left me with an appreciation for good tableware, particularly for glassware.

So the first thing I turned to was the section on Gassware and Stemware. First the pictures in this section are beautiful (and clear glassware is very difficult to photograph). The descriptions, and the detail that she then covers in relatively few words is quite impressive.

Surprisingly the author suggests that the well set table of today need not have all matching sets of anything to be elegant. I really liked this idea because the stemware that I've purchased down through the years have followed a somewhat eclectic path. They've come to me through flea markets, thrift shops, antique stores, where ever I've found something I like. As she says, 'exhibiting a mixture of styles and epochs, and as such is playful and easy to manage.' Besides, you don't cry if you break a glass, and I happen to like each piece.

This is a very, very enjoyable, entertaining and educational book.
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on January 17, 2007
I had really hoped to view some well put together settings using a variety of exquisite items. The focus is definitely French and English leaving out much of the truly beautiful German, Austrian and,yes, even American contributions to a beautiful table. The photography is minimal with sketches predominating.

It is a start however and should inspire further research on the part of a discerning reader. There also many helpful hints and explanations for the new collector or enthusiast.
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on May 15, 2007
If you are an avid collector of all things for the fancy dining table, this is an excellent guide to take you back to the 10 course meals popular in Victorian days when a lady had a piece of silver for every purpose. Like tabletop trivia? This book will not disappoint. Inherit an odd piece of silver from Grandma that looks like an torture device from the Dark Ages and you have no idea what it could possibly have been used for? This lovely book reveals the purpose of the obscure and the antique. Beautiful illustrations and readable prose make this book a pleasure to read. The chapter on porcelain left a bit to be desired for the china lover but overall this is an excellent addition to the antique tableware enthusiast's library.
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on December 11, 2009
I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. This is a fabulous book on the history of tableware; everything from plates and crystal glass to salt cellars and centerpieces. It has a lot of nice imagery accompanied by some interesting text. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who makes functional tableware.
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on September 20, 2013
The book is more than just table landscaping. There is a wealth of information, with regards to the original usage, style, reason for the design
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on March 15, 2015
this book gives great ideas - pictures are beautiful. We use it as a reference for design.
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on May 9, 2015
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on December 23, 2009
I was amazed at the PRICE as well as the QUICKNESS of the service provided. Beautiful book - exactly what I needed. Absolutely first class service - thanks!
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