As an antique dealer with 30+ years in the business, and a specialty in English items I get asked often the question "What is this?" So I decided to do a weekly feature on that. I did a feature on antique carpet balls recently, and another on antique clay pipe bowls. Today it is cheese dishes or cheese wedges. Have you every seen these wedge shaped dishes and wondered what they were used for?
A cheese wedgw with a scene from Charles Dicken's Oliver Twist "Oliver Asks For More" made in the 1930s by Lancaster & Sandland
A Goss, England Victorian miniature cheese dish in a style called Crested China dating to the 1880s, a souvenir of Blackpool, England
A heart shaped cheese dish by Royal Winton, England in the hand decorated and rarely seen Georgia pattern made between 1942-1951
I guess I call this "Cheese dishes I have known and loved" as all are either currently at Time Was Antiques or have been sold through that site.
Cheese has always been an important part of the English diet. Knowing that fact helps one to understand one of the reasons the Brits have resisted entry into the European Common Market. As part of the EU regulatory statutes, unless you receive protection for the use of a certain name/recipe of a foodstuff, you have to change the product to conform to EU guidelines to be easily sold throught the common market. So...without protection being granted, Double Gloucester cheddar would have to be made differently to/and be sold as EU cheddar, no more Wensleydale (poor Wallace & Gromit) and the other varying and not to say peculiar types of cheese, would have to be dumbed down. And an Englishman's castle has always had cheese dish...albeit it's probably nowadays from Tuppweware, or some such from ASDA, the English version of Walmart. A cheese course is traditionally part of an English meal and is often a part of "pudding" which means dessert, or in addition to it.
England is known for it's cheese. I recently reported on the Cheshire Cheese Rolling Festival. Where else but England???
This is an antique Carlton Ware, England cheese dish I added to the shop recently:
The numbers at the bottom of the mark are called the British Registry Date marks and can give a pretty good idea of the date the design was registered. This is number 21352 which dates by the registry system to 1893. Cool! For more info on the Carlton Ware Cheese Wedge at Time Was Antiques, click on the photos.
Cheese dishes were not all wedges, and here are 2 examples of other shapes from my archives
So the next time you see an odd wedge shaped china dish with a plate...you'll know what it is! Click on the photos for more info if. If they are ins stock, you will go to the listing at Time Was Antiques.
And I'll see you soon with another What Is That That Thing? post.
Cheers! Have a cuppa with a friend!