How to decorate with antique jelly moulds

Jelly makes for a star attraction at a summer party. No wonder we're all aquiver for antique jelly moulds

Whether it's a refreshing elderflower and champagne number on a hot day, a vast strawberry-flavoured rabbit at a children's birthday party, or concentrated squares of Hartley's eaten gleefully by the cube, jelly is integral to British food heritage. As such, the shaped moulds in which they are made have become iconic of childhood celebrations and happy gatherings. 

The history of jelly 

The distant origins of jelly were recorded back in the 1300s, where simple set meat and fish dishes were served. By 1517, the likes of Henry VIII entered the scene with sweet shaped jellies, with the Tudors and Stewarts beginning to use natural moulds like scallop or egg shells to shape their puddings. But it was the early Georgian's who first introduced the decorative mould, using tin shapes or shallow trays to make ribbons of jelly for fruit flavoured 'breakfasts'... jelly eggs and bacon on jelly spinach, anyone? 

By the late 1700s, mould makers were becoming experimental with grafity-defying vertical shapes and and copper moulds. However, it was the Victorians who took jelly-making to the next level, creating towering architectural moulds with turrets and spires and multi-layed designs for several different coloured jellies. 

Today it's not hard to introduce the fun copper or ceramic shapes of antique jelly moulds into your own home either. With these six easy ideas to help you show off antique moulds in fine style, you'll see that these shapely wonders make great display pieces whether you like jelly or not!

1. Clustered on a shelf or scattered across a work top, jelly moulds can make a subtle statement in any kitchen

Top shelf, from left: Antique Victorian copper mould, £135, Mytton Antiques. Two vintage grey plates, find similar at Ardingly Antiques Fair. ‘Plum Prunus’ jug, £24.50, Burleigh. Cream dinner plate, £43, Leeds Pottery. Small copper chicken mould, £20 (a pair), Crock & Cosy. Large rabbit glass mould, £16.50, The Vintage Kitchen Store. Antique Victorian oval copper mould, £345, Below Stairs of Hungerford. Small ‘Plum Prunus’ plate, £9, Burleigh. White ceramic chicken mould,£36, Below Stairs of Hungerford. ‘Asiatic Pheasants’ plate in plum, £14.50, Burleigh. Pair of aluminium moulds, £5 each, Vintage Treasures.

Bottom shelf: Large ‘Plum Prunus’ plate, £10.50, Burleigh. Round copper mould, £125, Mytton Antiques. Milk glass green tumblers, £14 each, RE. Small cream plate, £25.50, Leeds Pottery. Small aluminium mould (top) £5.50, The Vintage Kitchen Store. Small aluminium mould (bottom) £2, Crock & Cosy. Oval aluminium mould, £10, Vintage Treasures. ‘Asiatic Pheasants’ plate in plum, £14.50, Burleigh. Small round glass mould, £9.50, The Vintage Kitchen Store. ‘Asiatic Pheasants’ jug in plum, £15, Burleigh. Small cream plate,  £25.50, Leeds Pottery. Two silver ladles, £7 each, Crock & Cosy. Antique Victorian copper mould, £140, Mytton Antiques. Large ‘Plum Prunus’ plate, £10.50, Burleigh. Small aluminium mould, £2, Crock & Cosy. Green glass cake stand, £39, RE. Oval glass mould, £14, Vintage Treasures.

On counter: Oval cake stand, find similar at Ardingly Antiques Fair. Oval aluminium mould, £7.50, The Vintage Kitchen Store. Plum Prunus’ bowl, £33, Burleigh. Large and small white jugs, find similar at Ardingly Antiques Fair. Flowers, from a selection, The Real Flower Company. Pile of plates, Burleigh and Leeds Pottery as before. Small glass cake stand, £14; medium glass cake stand, £17, both Crock & Cosy. Round glass mould, £12, Retropolitan. Antique Victorian copper mould, £175, Adams Antiques. White cake stand, £90, Peach Blossom at Not on the High Street.

2. Classically-shaped copper moulds look striking against painterly floral designs

From left: Silver ladles, £7 each, Crock & Cosy. Small cream plate, £25.50, Leeds Pottery. Antique Victorian copper mould£140, Mytton Antiques. Large ‘Plum Prunus’ plate, £10.50, Burleigh. Aluminium mould, £2, Crock & Cosy

3. Play with scale by placing a family of moulds along a high shelf for impact. Or cluster smaller and less rare pieces on a wall for a decorative edge 

Above: Aluminium moulds on wall, top three, from left: £5.50, The Vintage Kitchen store. £2 each, Crock & Cosy. Bottom four, from left: £6.50, The Vintage Kitchen Store. Small round, £5.50, The Vintage Kitchen Store. Large round, £4, Crock & Cosy.  Square, £6, The Vintage Kitchen Store. On table, from left: Silver serving spoons, from £12 each, Jennifer’s Cutlery. Glass cake stand, £14, Jane Wicks. Aluminium mould, £9.50, The Vintage Kitchen store. Shelley antique mould, £28.75, Vanishing Eras. Small aluminium mould, £2, Crock & Cosy. Accessories: Tray, find similar at Ardingly Antiques Fair. Flowers, The Real Flower Company. ‘Poetica’ lavender fabric, £22 per m, Harlequin

4. Add a spash of nostalgic colour with a cluster of antique moulds on a table at a dinner party or gathering

On table, from left: Cream plate, £43, Leeds Pottery; copper mould, £160, Mytton Antiques. Short white cake stand, £17, Crock & CosyTall white cake stand, £90, Peach Blossom at Not on the High Street. Cream heart pierced cake stand, £63, Leeds Pottery; antique copper mould, £465, Below Stairs of Hungerford. Medium glass cake stand, £17, Crock & Cosy. Vintage oval plate, £7, Crock & Cosy; copper mould£225, Adams Antiques. Tall green cake stand, £39, RE; English Victorian copper mould, £245, Applecross Antiques. Accessories: Glass pendant light, £66, RE. ‘Grey Jelly & Cake’ on ivory linen, £95 per m, Thornback & Peel. Jellies made by Bompas & Parr 

 

5. Distressed vintage fabrics or tablecloths are the perfect setting for dainty porcelain moulds

Above: Cream plate, £43, Leeds Pottery. Large white mould, £24, Crock & Cosy. Fabric, ‘Spirit’ in purple, F060902, £32 per m, Clarke & Clarke

6. Break the mould! Remember to keep rearranging your collection for a continually fresh look

Top to bottom, from left: White stoneware mould, £28, Below Stairs of Hungerford. Earthenware mould, £120, Smithson. Aluminium pig mould, £7; two silver ladles, from £14, both Jennifer’s Cutlery. Large copper mould, £175, Adams Antiques. All hand-painted tiles, 13.5cm square, £12 each, Welbeck Tiles. White stoneware star mould, £32, Vintage Treasures. Two small roast chicken copper moulds, £20; white mould, £9.50, both Crock & Cosy. Lion copper mould, £350, Below Stairs of Hungerford. Aluminium diamond fluted mould, £6.50, The Vintage Kitchen Store. Earthenware greyhound design mould, £130, Smithson. Small square aluminium mould, £6.50, The Vintage Kitchen Store. White stoneware mould, £24.50, Vanishing Eras. White stoneware rabbits mould, £170, Smithson. Small earthenware mould with feather design, £12, Crock & Cosy. ‘Anoushka’ fabric in lavender, 130050, £44 per m, Harlequin

The full feature on decorating with antique jelly moulds appeared in the April 2014 issue of Homes & Antiques. Back issues are still available. To purchase a copy click here

Images: Joanna Henderson

Styling: Lisa Brown

Jellies: Bompas & Parr

 

 

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