After 119 years the Seagull Dinner service has been discontinued by Royal Copenhagen. It was originally produced by Bing and Grøndahl porcelain manufacturers. Wikipedia notes that “The company’s signature design, Seagull, was created in 1892 by designer Fanny Garde (1855-1925). The modest, classic design features flying seagulls against pale blue backgrounds, sea horse handles and shaded patterns of scales around the edges. Due to its popularity from the 1950s to the 1980s, the Seagull design was considered the “National Service of Denmark”. During that period one out of every ten Danish households owned some of the dinnerware service.” In 1987 Bing and Grøndahl merged with Royal Copenahagen who then continued producing the Seagull range until the end of last year. The first I knew of its demise was a small note on the Royal Copenhagen website saying production had ceased on December 1st 2011.
I first saw the Seagull service in a small antique shop in Denmark when I was there on holiday.I can still see the shop window in my mind, an oval table laid with a white linen cloth and set with the most beautiful pale blue china. It had been a glorious summer and the blue skies I’d enjoyed were recreated on the china. I vowed to have a dinner service like that when I grew up.When I left school I went to Denmark as an au-pair and bought my first piece of Seagull china, a tiny salt boat. Over the years I have collected an almost complete dinner service for eight people, almost all second hand, and plan to carry on collecting bit by bit.
I love the Seagull service, I have finally got an oval table and can lay it with a linen cloth and set it with beautiful china, for Christmas, birthdays and other special occasions . A cup of tea in a Seagull cup and saucer can cheer the bleakest of days. I love the quirky designs, who could resist the little sweet bowl on its dolphin pedestal?
I love looking at the designs and wondering who owned the pieces I have bought through auctions and market stalls.
A few years ago I was in Copenhagen Airport looking at the display of Seagull china, I got talking to the very young and very handsome assistant who told me that he had just recieved his great grandmother’s Seagull Service left to him in her will. He was so happy to recieve it and said that although he didn’t yet own his own house he would store it carefully until he had somewhere to put it and planned to use it regularly. Royal Copenhagen may have stopped producing it but there are many owners who will continue to love and cherish the pieces they own and pass them on to delight future generations.