If this is your first encounter with Lettuce Ware, we'll give you a moment to digest.
Crisp, lifelike leaves curl and glisten in a variety of ceramic forms; tea cups, saucers, bowls, platters, pitchers, napkin rings, etc. (yes, you can seemingly drink chamomile, twirl linguine or pour lemonade out of a head of lettuce) all molded and perfected by the steady hand of artist, Dodie Thayer. Ms. Thayers designs, first started sprouting up in the 1960s at elite luncheons and garden parties in Palm Beach, Fla. Distinguished hosts such as; Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Bunny Mellon and C.Z. Guest were not only setting fashion trends, they were planting seeds for the exclusive, value that would grow with the desire to own these luxurious leaves.
In their heyday, collecting Dodie Thayers ceramics took time and money, their production was slow moving and their demand high. Although, Tory Burch recently launched a new line of Lettuce Ware in collaboration with Dodie Thayer in 2015, finding vintage designs can be quite rare. Luckily, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers will be offering 21 lots of Dodie Thayers Lettuce Ware in their Palm Beach March Auction on March 10th. We've pulled a few of these imaginative, rarities from the catalog and invite you to enjoy the greenery.
The realism of each individually placed leaf is strikingly clear in compositions like this platter, where overlapping ends rest and fan in a clean and professionally placed row. The vibrant, green glaze and meticulously detailed veins act as an automatic bed of beauty for whatever adorns its center. Entrées with contrasting colors like grilled salmon, caprese salad or glazed carrots would be a dramatic and visually stimulating choice.
What kind of soup would you slurp from these boisterous bowls? We think that a chilled gazpacho would be a favorable choice! Due to their bold, obvious motif, a playful picture comes to mind when picturing socialites like Jackie O. and C.Z. Guest happily laying these out on their tables. The aesthetic of Lettuce Ware is like bringing a garden inside. It wedges itself somewhere between a high society version of an adult tea party and an illustration out of the pages of a Alice in Wonderland.
Lined with a wavy edge and boxy shape, the host using this large bowl would have to pair a dish just right for its unique shape. Wither it be a pile of buttery, mashed potatoes or an overflowing fruit salad, the wide, folded side leaves would elevate any delight of your choosing.
Can you think of a more delightful way to pass the salt? Didn't think so. These open salts with matching spoons would add the final touches to a fully decked out, Lettuce Ware, ensemble. Picture these petite containers scattered amongst their larger counterparts of platters, dishes and bowls like small, salty sidekicks.
Finally, a fishy finale! Complete with a small eye, scales and three perfectly placed fins! The obsessive details here exemplify Dodie Thayers impressive ceramic techniques - where a facial expression is created by the interaction between a small indent on the base of the leaf and a thick centered stem. Nearly a dozen, evenly placed pieces form the body of the platter like guides for slices of lemon to be placed down, or a checkerboard of cheese and crackers.
Whatever your decorative preferences are, it is undeniable that Lettuce Ware has a certain degree of charm. It takes on its own definition of "taste" and we can confidently say that the more you discover the more it grows on you.