The Story of the Dresden China

Since I have added a page about the History of China Dolls, which includes a section on the History of Porcelain Production, which includes a photo of my heirloom Dresden China, I would like to share with you the story of how this absolutely precious set of porcelain china came to me.


This is also another story about Lucile, and about what a positive influence she has been in my life. There were several times during my 18 year marriage to John and Lucile’s son that I lived with them in their five bedroom Nebraska craftsman style home for a few months. These were times when my husband and I were in transition during our eight years living abroad. They were quite welcoming to me, and I felt right at home with them.

Lucile often made a quick soup for lunch. One lunchtime, not too long after Grandma Hazel had passed on, Lucile decided she would get out her china soup tureen and cream soup bowls to use for lunch. When she brought out this gorgeous cream colored set, with pink and blue flowers and silver trim, from the bottom of her bell collection cabinet, I was astounded by its beauty! Now, Lucile had a variety of ordinary dishes for every day use, and a comprehensive set of blue snowflake Corelle dishes for large family gatherings and entertaining, but I had never seen this elegant soup set before!


I said as much to Lucile, and she told me of it’s origins: Her younger brother, Vernon, was a paratrooper, stationed in Europe, during World War II. He sent this lovely set of Dresden china to his mother during The War. The china made it to America safely, but Vernon did not make it home alive.  He landed on a cliff with his parachute. The wind caught the ‘chute enough to pull him off the cliff, but it did not open enough again to break his fall. He was killed.

Lucile brought the Dresden china from her mother’s home in Lawrence, Kansas after Hazel’s death.


Now, when Lucile made a pot of soup, there was way more than would fit into an elegant European soup tureen! But we set the tureen in the center of the table to admire as we ate our German carrot and sausage soup from the pretty bowls, and thought about Hazel–grandma and mother–and Vernon–son and brother.

The scalloped rims of this set are unglazed, and the knob on the lid of the tureen is like a little fancy pot itself! Eight bowls accompany the lidded tureen. The pieces are stamped on the back: Rosen-thal with crown and crossed swords in the center of the word, and a cursive “e” at the end of the word. Under, is SELB GERMANY, then POMPADOUR (the name of the whiteware pattern), then US. Zone. My research shows me that “US. Zone” indicates a specific short period of production (WWII), and that Pompadour came in a number of painted styles, including the popular Moss Rose, but I have not found a reference to a style like this set.


When Lucile left this Earth in 2002, my former husband was remarried, and I was not in line to receive any inheritance from my former in-law’s estate. It was Vicki, my angel of a “sister,” who asked me if there was anything I wanted from the house as they began to clear it out to ready it for sale. Of course, my number one choice was that set of Dresden china–if no one else had claimed it yet. I told her where to find it in the bottom of the bell cabinet.

A few months later, my sons brought a box into our house in Washington, that came by way of their father, from Vicki. It was the Dresden china. Vicki said no one else in the family–not her, nor her three brothers–even knew about this china. (Perhaps Vicki’s older sister, Karen knew, but she died before Lucile did, and Karen is another story.) They didn’t know the family story connected with this china, nor where to find it in the house. Vicki said that it was meant to be mine because Lucile had shared it with me, and I knew its story and its history.


Once in a while, when I’m feeling cranky, I still have short bouts of resentment for what I missed out on monetarily from my former marriage and my in-laws’ estate. (Remember, I had nothing to inherit from my own family. “Why can they afford to add on a music room and remodel the kitchen when all I have is this small apartment that I have to share, grumble, grumble.”) But I continue to be amazed at the way the universe provides that which we imagine. My heirloom Dresden china is another example of how something that I truly admire, from someone I care about imensely, found its way to me.

Thank you, Vernon.

Thank you, Lucile.

Thank you, Vicki.

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