In early 2008, I wrote a blog about a number of old plates we’d found while exploring the original ruined properties that were on our site.

As you can see from the picture, they’d been piled up in a corner and basically just been left sitting there getting filthier in the 30-odd years the house had been left abandoned.

What our plates looked like

Some were broken – but most weren’t. They cleaned-up beautifully and are now back in everyday use.

But aside from how they’d come to be there, the really intriguing question concerned the maker’s marks the plates carried.

We got as far as establishing that SC Richard was a Milan-based porcelain factory and hesitantly dating the plates as early/mid-20th century.

 The maker's mark on our plates

And that was about it. Until a week ago, when Tim Naylor in Perth, Western Australia posted this comment:

SC Richards was a Milanese ceramics company that merged with Ginori in 1896.  The merger created the company Ginori Richard, which I believe was Italy’s most productive and prestigious ceramics company until their unfortunate close in 2012.

The fact that your plates has the SC Richard back-stamp, without any reference at all to Ginori, dates your pieces to pre-1896 when this backstamp was discontinued.  The back-stamp itself is of a Griffin with the Milanese flag and the shield that has a Biscione (man eating serpent) on it.

I believe the incised numbers indicate that the plates were produced as a part of a larger single consignment.  The numbers are usually produced incrementally, with the number of the last digit changing for the number produced and the first digit / letters indicating the pattern/shape of the piece.

They are lovely plates, and quite rare.  It’s a great find, and I hope you will keep them with the property as an example of its history.

And as if that wasn’t exciting enough, a little more research revealed that Richard Ginori wasn’t just a ‘prestigious’ porcelain maker – it came to be known as ‘the Ferrari of Italian porcelain makers’.

The absolute best.

 Our plates. Cleaned-up, beautoful - and in daily use

But a little knowledge is a dangerous thing – and answered questions raised others. Not least, how had valuable, Milan-made chinaware ended up abandoned for over 30 years in an Abruzzo ruin ? And how had it got there in the first place ?

Maybe not quite as good as a Da Vinci in the attic, but a special and delightful find. And somehow all the more personal knowing that on the most special occasions over who knows how many years, this china would have been proudly used, loved and admired.

We’re privileged our house presented us with this heirloom.