Orange Tree Design – The Love Of My Life

Orange Tree tea cup & saucer stack

Readers, if you’ve been reading this blog and my sewing blog you’ll be aware that I love to collect sewing related vintage things and kitchenalia. I love old china and use it when we entertain friends outdoors; none of it matches – it’s just a higgle-dey-piggle-dey  group of pretty old wares. There is one collection that I’m very serious about; it’s my Crown Ducal, Orange Tree design china.

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 Orange Tree was produced under the Crown Ducal name by A.J. Richardson and designed by Norman Keates in 1925 – it comes in round, square and octagonal shapes. It’s a stunning Art Deco pattern and I was captivated by it on first glance. I first came across OT on a cooking blog that i was reading; the blogger had used a bowl to style her photograph. I left a comment asking her about the bowl: she had picked it up in an op shop and knew nothing about it. So off I went on an internet search to find out the maker and design of the pattern; if there’s one thing I do well, it’s a cyber search – my education degree wasn’t useless; I learned how to find stuff  😆 It didn’t take me long to find out that the china I had fallen in love with was Crown Ducal Orange tree.

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The day I found my first OT pieces was quite an odd one. My girlfriend Noleen and I were visiting one of my favourite antiques and collectable stores here in Adelaide and just before we entered I had said to Noleen that I was still trying to find a piece of this elusive china pattern I had seen. In one of the back rooms there was six tea cup quads (tea cup, saucer and side plate). I nearly had heart failure readers…I couldn’t contain my excitement. I put it on layby immediately. Since that day, about 4 years ago, I have picked up more.  These days I can host my own Downton Abbey style tea party  😀 I line a tray with a vintage tray cloth and everything haha

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The fun thing about collecting OT is that no one actually knows how many pieces were released so collectors are always on the hunt for a ‘new’ piece. The best part of being a relatively new OT collector is that just about everything I come across is something I haven’t got and the worst part of that is not having infinite funds to feed my addiction.

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 Sadly, I recently noticed a chip on the lip of the teeny milk jug – so I’ll be on the hunt for another one.

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 I love the tea cups. The one on the left is the breakfast tea cup, the middle is the octagonal tea cup and the one on the right is the regular tea cup. I have full trios in all of them.

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 When i’m having my “Downton Abbey” breakfasts I use the toast rack and the small round bowl for cereal.  The long sandwich platter and the three octagonal sandwich plate (front) are new to my collection and I have yet to use them. I may have to invite my stitching friend Kate over for afternoon tea and serve lovely sandwiches.  If you’re reading this Kate, I’m not going to cut the crusts off; a bit of hair on your chest never hurt anyone hahaha

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Readers, I have more in my Orange Tree collection; mostly small plates and the like, so I haven’t photographed them.  But rest assured when a new piece of OT arrives I shall share immediately. I’m currently awaiting the arrival of a set of 9″ plates and a trio of the round demitasse coffee cup (as opposed to the coffee can which can been seen up the third photograph). I’m also bidding on an egg setting which consists of four non-stemmed egg cups and a platter that they sit upon. The platter has four indents; one for each egg cup.

Friends, I think i’ve sent myself into an Orange Tree frenzy – I’m feeling a little giddy! Do you collect fine bone china?  Are you crazy in love with a specific pattern or two or three? Or are you like me – a monogamous china pattern girl/boy?

Talk to me people – purge yourself of your china collecting sins – I swear I won’t tell anyone your dirty secrets; my lips are sealed.

8 thoughts on “Orange Tree Design – The Love Of My Life

  1. Hi Suzi,
    Thanks for sharing. I was just in an op shop and saw four little coffee cups and a sugar bowl which I fell in love with and immediately bought. Coming home I did the usual internet search and found that they are orange tree and then I found your blog.
    They are such lovely things, and such a pleasure to own.

  2. Hi Suzi, I have a whole lot of Orange Tree, my Mom brought it from England with her to Canada, there are large platters, tureens, plates, jugs, fruit bowl with strainer, cups, saucers, all sorts of stuff! Just wondering if you would be interested in purchasing them?

  3. Hi Scott,

    the tureens aren’t rare pieces of Orange Tree and i’d be hesitant to put a value on them; basically, they’re value is very much related to how much someone is willing to pay for them. I’ve passed up pieces that I don’t have because sellers have banged on about how rare Orange Tree is and then hiked the asking price up. Orange Tree as a pattern, while collectable, isn’t rare; that said, there are some very rare pieces. If Orange Tree was so rare, as one local vintage seller here in Adelaide claims, I wouldn’t have a cabinet full of it. My best advice is to advertise it on eBay and if it doesn’t sell, then reduce the price and try again. I’d be interested in purchasing it in a private sale, but I wouldn’t pay any more than $110.

  4. Hi Suzie,
    I found your site when researching a piece I have.
    It Is an ‘Orange Tree’ Octagonal Vegetable Tureen with lid, 324mm long.
    Could you tell me its collector value please?
    Thankyou, Scott

  5. I think i’d have heart failure if i came across Orange Tree in a chest of drawers LOL I’ve had some nice additions to my collection of late so i’ll have to get the camera out and get started on another OT post.

  6. Loved the blog post Suzie. I’ve been collecting Orange Tree since I was a student & bid on an Art Deco chest of drawers for my digs. When it arrived home the drawers were packed with orange tree plates. I moved to the north of England & there used to be a florist in Chester which sold Art Deco china. I bought a piece every time I visited. Like you I just love the design and variety. l like to have pieces that sit out in the kitchen for everyday use. My favourite is a Crown Ducal poppy egg plate used as a spoon rest. I look forward to reading about your future discoveries.

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