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La vie en rose

March 30, 2014

I have always had a weakness for old-fashioned pink roses., 30.3.14-1


Whether in the garden or in the kitchen;, 30.3.14-2


whether in full bloom…, 30.3.14-5


or in bud on vintage wallpaper,, 30.3.14-4


old-fashioned roses never fail to make the world seem a cheerier place., 30.3.14-3


So you can imagine how excited I was when I spotted these cups in the window of a local vintage shop on Friday., 30.3.14-6


Cabbage roses on a bone china cup is a match made in heaven as far as I’m concerned. (Vintage teacups are another weakness of mine.) These two little unmarked coffee cups and a Copeland Spode teacup and saucer are all rather the worse for wear with cracks in several of the pieces, so I was able to ‘rescue’ the lot for a few pounds. Looking at the gilded design in the centre of the saucers, I’d guess that both designs date from the late 19th Century – perhaps the 1880s/90s? – although I’d welcome further information., 30.3.14-7


It seems delightful serendipity that I found them just in time for this weekend. Today is Mothering Sunday in the UK, when Mum is traditionally brought a nice cup of tea by her family; and what mother would not like tea in such a pretty cup? I am sure my tea tasted extra good this afternoon., 30.3.14-8


Not only that, but it is Laetare Sunday in the Church’s calendar, also known as Rose Sunday.* All in all, pink roses could not be more appropriate for my Mothers’ Day tea. So here’s a cup raised to all our mothers – and I hope that all these roses have helped to make your world, too, a little bit cheerier today!, 30.3.14-9


*You can read my introduction to Rose Sunday in this post.

25 Comments leave one →
  1. March 31, 2014 12:01 am

    Beautiful photos! Especially cheery as a dreary wet day ends here in the US!
    Happy Mothers Day to you!

  2. March 31, 2014 12:09 am

    Cabbage roses are my favorite, and what a beautiful post. Those roses, as I recall, are very fragrant.

    • April 1, 2014 11:35 pm

      Cabbage roses are just delicious, aren’t they? These darker pink ones have a heavenly scent. Thanks for your kind words.

  3. boyd hussey, (Douglas Ontario Canada) permalink
    March 31, 2014 4:37 am

    the first photo is almost real enough to musn’t forget Rose Milk

    • April 1, 2014 11:36 pm

      I’ve often wished for scratch n’sniff blogs – one for April Fools’ Day, perhaps! 🙂

  4. March 31, 2014 10:30 am

    Gorgeous roses! I just want to sniff them! 🙂 I love your china – what a find. Tea always tastes better in that kind of cup!

    • April 1, 2014 11:37 pm

      Tea becomes an Occasion when you drink it from a pretty cup. One of those small, harmless pleasures which we should perhaps allow ourselves more often.

  5. March 31, 2014 3:06 pm

    I love the way you weave a range of imagery into this post – from the roses themselves, to the china, to Rose Sunday (which I’d never heard of, so the previous post you linked to was very enlightening).

    • April 1, 2014 11:38 pm

      Thank you. I was well into adulthood myself before I discovered Rose Sunday. I love learning new things like this.

  6. April 1, 2014 12:37 am

    Can almost smell the roses – spring and summer on the way! The cups are quite a find. Tea definitely more elegant in these.
    Happy Mother’s Day and Rose Sunday!

  7. Karin Van den Bergh permalink
    April 1, 2014 1:13 am

    Aahh romantic old-fashioned favorite!!! I can almost smell their sensual intoxicating parfume from your gorgeous pictures!
    I had never heard about nor seen of ‘pink priests’. Interesting post about Rose Sunday.
    Happy Mother’s Day!

    • April 1, 2014 11:40 pm

      Well, I think we have a consensus forming. Old fashioned, scented roses make everyone happier! Hope you had a happy Sunday too.

  8. Mary K. in Rockport permalink
    April 1, 2014 11:08 pm

    SO pretty!

  9. April 2, 2014 7:48 am

    What a great find. And your roses in bloom give us a look ahead to summer, which seems very far away on these days of haar.
    In my cramped suburban surroundings I only have one old rose, of which I have shamefully forgotten the name. I planted it during the brain fog that was full-time-work-with-very-small-children. I do also have an Albertine rose, which I love for the Proustian association, and the fact that the three houses I lived in as a child all had an Albertine. Have you carried along any roses from your childhood?

    • April 2, 2014 10:27 am

      Alas no, I brought no roses with me when I came here. There were beds of old roses planted here by previous chatelaines: many have gone now but we still have some, and I am slowly beginning to track down their probable names. Cardinal Richelieu, Charles de Mills, Gloire de Dijon…all lovely, though the first two have only the briefest flowering window in our climate. My parents always had an Albertine, though, and my Granny grew Constance Spry and (the rather Barbara Cartland-ish) Zephyrine Drouhin. It would be nice to bring these to the garden. Scent and memory are so strongly connected, after all – as Proust knew!

      • April 5, 2014 9:12 am

        Just remembered – I also have Madame Hardy. I know why I forgot her – did a hard pruning ‘in the back end’, so she’s not too visible just now.

  10. April 2, 2014 10:15 pm

    Hello! Thanks so much for your comment and thus helping me find my way here. I ADORE roses, and especially the old-fashioned ones. I’ve planted 8 David Austin roses in my new garden, including a Constance Spry. I had a Cardinal Richelieu in my last garden, but it was never a big producer. I think it needed more sun. There was also an Albertine there.

    I also found your post about Rose Sunday fascinating. I’d never heard of that before. I knew that roses were associated with Mary, but hadn’t realised there was an association with Christ as well.

    • April 10, 2014 12:05 am

      Welcome, Christine! I, too, came late to the (very appealing) idea of Rose Sunday and the association of the flower with Christ. I have an infinite amount to learn about garden roses, too. Isn’t it wonderful: always more to learn. 🙂

  11. April 6, 2014 2:04 pm

    Glorious old-fashioned (and scented!) roses and I love your new china acquisitions. I’d guess late Victorian or early Edwardian, certainly no later.

    • April 10, 2014 12:08 am

      Glad you like them all! On consideration, I am guessing that the teacup is older than the smaller coffee cups and saucers, which as you say are probably fin-de-siècle. I just adore them!

  12. hmunro permalink
    April 7, 2014 11:37 pm

    What a beautiful post! You have indeed made my world a bit cheerier — halfway across the world. Here’s a belated Mum’s Day toast to you, and to rosy-faced mums everywhere. xx

    • April 10, 2014 12:10 am

      ‘Rosy-faced mums’ – wonderful! Thank you for the toast, and I am very glad to have brightened your chilly city days with my romantic pink roses. 🙂

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