Plate Display: A Beginner's Guide

on Tuesday, December 26, 2023 12:06:13 PM

Plates are something we see everywhere regularly and represent an easily overlooked facet of our daily lives. The very concept of a ‘plate’ is so simple that it’s often used to describe a wide range of things from geological formations to metal strips on automobiles.

We are, of course, talking about the dinner plate, which Oxford Dictionary defines as “a flat dish, typically circular and made of china, from which food is eaten or served.” They are also frequently used decoratively, with anything from simple geometric patterns to vivid illustrations or commemorative scenes.

Context and purpose with plates is everything. It’s the difference between a melamine dinnerplate and a Bing & Grøndahl display. Some plates are meant only for display, while others only for eating and serving food, while still others serve both purposes. There are many types of plates based on their shapes, functions, or looks, but overall, they all can lend significant aesthetic weight to a room when used and displayed properly.

History of Decorative and Collectible Plates

Decorative plates have existed in various forms for thousands of years, appearing as far afield as ancient Egypt, Greece, Persia, and China. As long as there have existed decorative plates, so too have there been collections. The popularity of decorative plates gradually popped up and spread all over the world to places like Arabia, the Americas, and Northern Europe, to materials such as porcelain and earthenware, and to styles such as faience and delftware.

Collectable commemorative plates began to become popular in the 1800’s thanks to the work of Patrick Palmer-Thomas, who began painting ornamental plates to celebrate picturesque locations and commemorate events. The advent of limited-edition commemorative plates was thanks to Bing & Grøndahl’s 1895 ‘Behind the Frozen Window’ Christmas plate. From there, popularity of limited-edition collector’s plates exploded in the early 20th century, and although perhaps not as widespread today, they’re still going strong.

How to Display Plates

For aspiring plate collectors, there’s many reasons to begin collecting plates, ranging from preservation of a small piece of history, to enhancement of a room’s presentation. Perhaps you found some delft blue plates in a flea market, or perhaps you’re displaying Grandma’s favorite Christmas plate. The same basic ideas of how best to display them apply to all. Decorative plates are by their very nature meant to be an aesthetic enhancement to where they’re displayed; they are designed to look nice. For the plate collector or interior designer, this is great news!

Art Display Essentials carries a wide variety of all of mount types, which can be found within the Plate and Bowl Stands category on this website. When displaying decorative plates and selecting the proper mounts, there’s several decisions to be made that govern what is used. Firstly, where to display the plates. In the most general of terms, this equates to a decision between wall mounting and table mounting. For wall mounting, options include spring-loaded hangers and several styles of adjustable-bodied mounts. For table mounting, there are a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and styles available, catering to individual plates, platters, full dinnerware sets, and similar objects such as bowls, cups, and spoons.

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