Jane has "returned to base" now, after spending some time over in France, helping with Fiona and Juan's new baby. She brought with her loads of presents sent by the lovely couple, including a very special bottle of wine, but I most particularly want to show you these:
These beautiful little (13 x 10cm) ceramic dishes are I think officially butter-dishes, but I'm sure they will be put to use in our household as general-purpose "nibble dishes". I can just picture them holding some home-grown radishes...
They are manufactured by a firm called Gien, which specialises in the type of ceramic ware called "Faience".
A bit of googling reveals this: Faience is a fine, porous earthenware which is tin-glazed and then fired repeatedly. The sophisticated refinement of the resulting faience is what distinguishes it from other kinds of ceramic. The Faience de Gien factory was founded in 1821 by Thomas Hall, an Englishman who wanted to introduce fine English earthenware manufacturing techniques in France.
Well, those dishes are beautiful by any measure - and the designs are so entirely appropriate for me. Thank you, Fiona and Juan!