Eight is Great

These were the dishes in my mother’s house while I was growing up. The plates and bowls, too, were octagonal. Even cocoa was served in these elegant cups. I can still feel that angular handle on my first two fingers. I stumbled upon them not long ago in a dusty antique mall. Ironstone International. An inexpensive pottery. I’ve seen it in yellow and white, and while I think I want it, I never commit so something must be holding me back. But it’s not the shape. The shape, I adore.

David Hicks for John Panchaud, David Hicks, Designer.
My parents got divorced when I was eight (hmmm….) When my mother moved back to her hometown, she took the opportunity to re-invent herself a bit. I recently added David Hicks: Designer to my library and I can see that her new home was greatly under his influence. And Hicks, well, he liked an octagon.

David Hicks for the Duke and Duchess of Abercorn, their home, Baronscourt, David Hicks, Designer.
Mr. Hicks sketched enthusiastically and was influenced by tiles and frescos and murals in his grand and grander tours. Geometric shapes, including the octagon, pop up frequently in his work. (Get it? Pop?)

Steven Gambrel had a vintage Hicks carpet in his apartment featured in House and Garden.

Michael Smith incorporates these octagonal, in-laid tables in a lot of his designs.

Michael Smith, Michael S. Smith, Elements of Style.
And you certainly don’t have to keep them on the down-low. Octagons work beautifully incorporated in mirrors…

Eric Cohler, featured in Inspired Styles.
and lighting.
Stephen Sills and James Huniford, a midwestern home, Dwellings, Living with Great Style.

If the vintage Hicks carpet is not in your budget, these Barbara Barry octagonal vases would glam up the sideboard in a heart beat. (What say, Valentine?)

Barbara Barry featured in, Inspired Styles.

Rose Tarlow, The Private House.

I must say, Rose Tarlow tops the heap with this table. Rose herself says this table, originally from Kew Gardens, England, “is one of the most rare and facinating pieces of furniture” she has ever discovered. And, Rose, she knows.

While I can’t commit to the dishes (do you think there is some pent-up memory of scrapping, loading and stacking?) this little Cowtan & Tout number (Beverly, Canary) never seems to make it out of my memo bag. It goes well with cocoa, too.

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10 thoughts on “Eight is Great

  1. Mrs B: I have those same plates (ie the ones in your childhood home). Only I own a big set that has dark-brown cups and octagonal plates with an overlarge basketweave pattern. They look their best in the country.

  2. octa-gone
    never gone-
    also a childhood memory as my neighbor had them in white and would serve me tea.
    hexagon, octagon
    chic shapes.

  3. Oh my gosh, I grew up with those same dishes. I bet there is still a saucer or two hanging around my mother’s house. Thanks for the memory.

  4. Hello Mrs. B — gotta be quick as the kiddo is waking up from nap time. My mom has the same plates, I think, and I have the same issue with “inheriting” them… they’re too heavy…. but I love the shape, a lot.

    Gotta run, but will get back to being completely absorbed by your wonderful content…


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