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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tole Trays

Tole trays have been on my list of favorite collectibles for about 15 years. I've bought and sold many over the years and I thought I would share some of my favorites today.

 What is a tole tray?  Tole painting dates to the 18th century and is thought to have begun in Scandinavia. Traditionally tole trays are metal and painted matte black and then painted with colorful flowers and fruit. They also have a strong folk art influence and sometimes depict birds and animals.

 The trays are made in a variety of shapes including rectangular,
 oval, round, and scalloped or Chippendale.
My favorites have a pierced border.

 Gilding is also frequently used on the edges or in the body of the design. 

 I've never seen another tray like this with it's charming colonial horseback rider.
Doesn't he look jaunty with his sword, horn and bright blue cap?

 This tray isn't an authentic tole piece because it's not handpainted, 
but I still think it's gorgeous! 

 I use trays in virtually every room of the house. I love the way they anchor a vignette.

 I also use them as wall art, because they are truly works of art!

I keep this one on the coffee table in my family room as a catch all.

You can find tole trays in many antique stores at very reasonable prices.


  1. Great trays. I love the one with the horseback rider. Thanks for sharing at Wow.

  2. I've always loved tole painted trays, so quintessentially English.
    As wall art they are stunning.

  3. What a wonderful collection. I remember that my grandmother had some tole trays. I guess I will have to start looking around for them! It is great that you actually use your collection.

  4. I LOVE those ... all of them!! At first when I read your title I thought it said Troll Tray ... that would have been intersting :) stopping in to follow from the blog hop - hope you have time to visit and return the favor soon - ohh and you can enter to win a copy of my book :)

  5. I enjoyed seeing this -- I started collecting a couple of years ago -- don't have many. I want a red one and an aqua one (hard to find). They really are functional as well as pretty. Just yesterday, I hid the wires on the kitchen TV behind one!

  6. I love your collection. I have just one that I got from my mother. I hate to put anything in it because the design is blocked. I tend to lean it somewhere.

    Robin Flies South

  7. This is a wonderful collection of toleware. I adore toleware so much. It adds such an elegance to the home.

    Paula Nelson-Shokar

  8. I am a lover of trays too! Actually obsessed, I would love to have a collection like yours! They're beautiful!

  9. You collection of tole trays is beautiful. Thanks for sharing them!

    I appreciate you linking to Potpourri Friday and help to make the party a success!

  10. Love your collection of tole have some beautiful ones! I have a fondness for them as well, and use them as wall art in my kitchen! Adds so much character to a space! :)

  11. What beautiful trays!! I keep eyeing some at the local antique market. I have yet to bring one home though. Thanx for coming to the party and i hope your week started off well!

  12. You have a wonderful collection! I collect them too, but don't have near as many as you. thanks so much for sharing them with all of us at VIF, xo

  13. What wonderful trays! Thank you for joining me for the HSH Fall Open House!