Vintage Red Tole Metal Tray - 16x13 Oxblood Red Handpainted Oval Serving Tray
The color of oxblood, deep and dark red like a glass of cabernet sauvignon, this vintage tole tray was handpainted with orange, peach, coral, and cream flowers in the center and a minnow-like design around the edge. Rich in color, this is a beautiful display piece for the holiday season and a serviceable tray that brings centuries of folk art to your space.
Enjoying a wave of new-found popularity during the mid-20th century, tole-style painting started popping up in all sorts of home decorating stores. Found on a variety of useful items ranging from furniture to kitchenware, this decorative art of hand-painting bold and romantic florals on metal and wood fit in perfectly with the colorful decade and with the carefree artistic sensibilities that went along with it, making it feel both fresh and modern. But as history tells, tole painting was neither new nor modern.
Classified as folk art, this style of painting dates all the way back to Europe and Scandinavia in the 1700s and served as a popular form of storytelling while also enhancing the appearance of common everyday wares. Cabinets and chests were painted with family scenes and symbolism. Wooden objects for the kitchen were decorated with paintings of flowers from the garden. Metal boxes and bins were painted with food and fruit, birds and blossoms. Each piece was unique to the artist who painted it and divulged a little bit about their own personality or the subject in which they painted. With entrance to America by way of New England in the 1800s, this decorative art form became popular with collectors stateside, serving as sentimental reminders of their European heritage and culture.
By the 1960s, collectors were not only interested in obtaining antique tole but also in creating new pieces in similar styles. Most often replicated were floral bouquet designs. Although it's difficult to date this one, we suspect it was made and handpainted during the mid-20th century in a style replicating an older design. Deep red tole trays in this shade are harder to find and reminiscent of earlier antique ones favored in the new England area. That makes this one a unique piece that is reminiscent of timeless beauty and also functional practicality. Effortlessly able to travel between centuries, its warm color palette and romantic design adds an instant historic aesthetic to your space.
- Handpainted center bouquet and rim
- Unmarked on bottom
- Authentic shabby chic patina
Overall in lovely vintage condition. There is some chippy paint spots on the back and a few small spots in the flower bouquet on the front, but overall this tray is in lovely shape. In the top corner of the tray on the front, you'll notice what looks to be a chippy spot, but that is actually a gold paint daub left behind by the artist who worked on this piece. The flowers themselves are crisp and clear and beautifully executed with simple strokes creating contrast, dimension, and shadows on each flower petal. There are no rusty or weak spots and the tray is strong and sturdy.
Measures 16.25" inches (length) x (13.25" inches (width)
A gorgeous, functional piece for your cocktail cart, dining area, holiday mantel display or indoor/outdoor serving needs, this beauty also makes a lovely piece of wall art. Find more tole trays in the shop here.