Monday, August 17, 2015

Breakfast Tray Chic


Thank you to the Scully & Scully catalogue for reminding me that the world hasn't completely gone to hell in hand basket. Its numerous pages filled with photos of folding bridge tables, hardboard place mats, wooden breakfast bed trays (similar to the one above), and other traditional niceties always bring me comfort, for they make me realize that some people in this world continue to appreciate such things.

Speaking of breakfast bed trays, there was a time when the morning meal often required its own set of dining accoutrements, including china and linen made especially for use on a breakfast tray or a small breakfast table.  If you read any of the 1930s and 1940s-era design magazines, you'll find numerous articles written for the bride, advising her of the household inventory she would need to run her home efficiently and entertain properly.  Along with luncheon china and luncheon linen, dinner china and dinner linen, and tea sets and tea linen, breakfast china, referred to as "luxuries" in a 1936 House & Garden article, was often recommended for one's "breakfast repertory".  Needless to say, brides were encouraged to own a lot of china and linen.  (Don't even get me started on the recommendations for bed and bath linen.  The lists for these were endless!)

Although not a bride, I, too, have breakfast china (Porthault's Trèfles pattern), a large breakfast tray, and a set of breakfast tray linen, which consists of one mat and two napkins.  I wish that I could say I use these daily, but instead, it's more like a Sunday occurrence.  If only my life were leisurely- and if I had staff- then perhaps my weekday breakfast repertory would be far more luxurious than it currently is. 


Singer and actress Julie London, photographed in bed with her breakfast tray by Slim Aarons.




Truman Capote's Porthault breakfast set, sold at Bonhams in 2006.



Mario Buatta created this dining-in-bed vignette for Tiffany.



Wooden breakfast bed tray from Scully & Scully


Another Slim Aarons' breakfast-in-bed photo, this one of Mrs. Saunderson of Montecito.



Brooke Astor's breakfast china by Hammersley & Co., sold at Sotheby's in 2012.



Vintage Madeira pink breakfast set from D'Anjou Linens



 An elegant bed vignette, courtesy of Tiffany & Co.


A 1940 Léron linen ad, which shows their charming "Bouquet" table linen.  The linen was available in luncheon sets, tea sets, and breakfast sets. 

24 comments:

  1. Jennifer definitely a time of more leisurely mornings although a Sunday breakfast in bed definitely appeal to me!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena
    Artist Nicoletta Belletti

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've got a white wicker breakfast tray that I haven't used in a while. Time to put it back into use. I could use Brooke Astor's teapot that I bought in 2012, along with some of her beautiful Meissen teacups and Derby plates. Love the photo of the blue and white china from Scully and Scully.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cynthia, How lucky you are to own some of Brooke Astor's china. Your breakfast tray must look very chic!

      Delete
  3. love the breakfast tray + especially Mario Buatta's tray.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Peggy, Mario's breakfast tray vignette is a longtime favorite of mine. I love everything about that photo!

      Delete
  4. I feel the same why when I receive my catalog from Scully and Scully. And whenever I am in New York, I never miss dropping by. Thanks for this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Barbara, It's definitely a fun store to peruse.

      Delete
  5. I've never seen Scully and Scully before - what a great source of everything! Thanks for the introduction.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karen, You are most welcome. Their catalogues are chock full of things that you never knew you needed.

      Delete
  6. I had wanted one of those bed trays forever, and about 32 years ago, finally bought one at the All Saints Episcopal Church, Beverly Hill's rummage sale. I not only got the tray, but a stand as well. They were a nasty color - that old pinky beige - but a can of white spray paint fixed that.

    Over the years, I have collected three sets of breakfast linens, among my very favorite linens as they are linen and organdy with Madera embroidery. One set has never been used. I've always wanted a breakfast set of chine - love the ones made by Shelley, particularly the Polka Dot pattern in the Dainty shape. The covered muffin dish always sings to me. Alas, when one sees one of these sets (rarely!) on ebay, they go for enormous prices as they are highly collectable.

    Does my tray get used? No. I'm a widow and I have yet to figure out how to train my Cavalier King Charles Spaniels to carry a tray up to the 2nd floor for my breakfast!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. srb, Like you, I don't have anyone to bring my breakfast tray to me. Alfie hasn't figured out how to carry it yet! And congratulations on your new set of breakfast china. I love the Blue Rock pattern. What a deal you got!

      Delete
  7. I'm SO excited! I hadn't searched on ebay for a Shelley breakfast set in a couple of years, but did after reading this. I got a steal! I bought a set in the Blue Rock pattern for $199 PLUS the tray (right - I really need TWO of these which I can't use!). There is another larger set for sale for $799. The seller of my set misspelled Shelley (she put Shelly) so I think that's why it slipped by as a bargain.

    Yes, Scully & Scully is a "WASP's dream come true". All the wonderful things one used to own for gracious living but so few even know of their existence anymore. I often wonder how they stay in business - especially in their VERY pricey Park Ave location.

    Okay, Jennifer - you now need to write an article about the wonder of elbow pillows, which are a necessity to have when using a bed tray. I bought a pair about 45 years ago that I've made lovely linen cases for, tied with ribbons. They were wonderful when I was breast feeding my now 45 and 43 yr old children.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I agree with Karen of Fair Oaks. I too have never seen and thank you for the introduction.
    Must treat myself to a set and hopefully use it during Sundays and holidays.

    What a lovely post to start the week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pamela, Do treat yourself to a set! I love mine, although I don't use it as often as I would like.

      Delete
  9. Love that Madeira pink!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. What a lovely post, Jennifer! One of my favorite indulgences is breakfast in bed at a four or five star hotel. I have a couple of breakfast trays somewhere, and you've made me want to get them out and put them to good use. I even have one of those little bed jackets which my late mother gave me, that ladies of leisure used to wear.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I think I have the Scully & Scully breakfast tray; although I live in Canada. I use it almost every day. Not only for eating; it's great for setting my laptop on so it doesn't heat up my legs. Mine has an adjustable base, so I can also prop up a magazine or book.

    ReplyDelete
  12. as always a delightful post, but the word play in the title had me giggling all day :) "tray" chic indeed ...

    ReplyDelete
  13. Mrs Sanderson. " having one's cake, and eating it."

    ReplyDelete
  14. A breakfast tray would look amazing with my antique silver toast rack! A lovely post! Bring back the breakfast tray!

    ReplyDelete
  15. A breakfast tray would look amazing with my antique silver toast rack! A lovely post! Bring back the breakfast tray!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Dear Jennifer,
    I would be happy to serve you a breakfast in bed! This post reminds me of, when I was living in Bath, England and every morning before dawn, I would be served the grilled tomato and egg on a tray with the bland English coffee, or was it Earl Grey? I read that Sister had her breakfast in bed every morning, quite early, by a French maid no less!
    The Leron' advertisement reminded me of when I got to work on the fabulous CT estate of Shirley Johnston, called Bella Vista, we used the Leron' linens extensively, and I had the pleasure of sleeping in one of the guest rooms on those beautiful, old fashioned, embroidered sheets and cases...divine! I'm sure we spent at least a hundred thousand on linens there! But, darling, it was the 1980's ! Mr. Johnston was, at that time, the biggest gold commodities broker on Wall Street. My fave image you show is the classic 1976 Morristown showhouse bed by our dear friend Mario, those Porthault cannot be surpassed! Heaven!

    ReplyDelete