It has always amazed me how many people want information on teacups and saucers. Once I had an internet guru help me interpret statistics on my web site and it turned out that there were two pages that had the highest ranking. The first one was about the History of the “White” Wedding dress. I guess there are a lot of brides out there.
The second was… you guessed it – my article on Teacups and Saucers.
The problem with doing research on teacups and saucers ( now referred to as T&S) is that there is so much information out there but not much that a person can necessarily use. The most important thing however is that you need to be able to describe what you have before you even start to look.
Check out the mark on the base of the cup or saucer. First of all, these must match. If it was bought at the same time the marks will be identical. It is possible for them to be the same pattern but from different years. Take for example a pattern known as Blue Mikado.
Blue Mikado is made by Royal Crown Derby and it has been made for many years. It is still popular. Now this china was never cheap so new brides and housewives spent many years acquiring a set of it. A teacup and saucer for Christmas, a plate for a birthday and so on. That is why the marks could be different although similar. It’s uncommon to see a whole set of high quality dishes all with the same mark – because it would mean it was bought all at once.
I find the early pieces to be my favorite. Their colours are of a richer, deeper blue. There is also more gold on the pattern. The later years – the 60’s and later seem to pale by comparison.
China manufacturers also changed the shape of their cups and sizes of their plates. The serving pieces sure changed a lot too. The sugar holder changed from a lovely lidded container that looked like an Aladdin’s lamp to a plain un- lidded open bowl.
So that’s your first challenge – to figure out the age of what you have. Companies like Crown Derby have been around for a long time and there are fabulous books like the” Goddards Encyclopedia of British Pottery and Porcelain Marks” to help you find information on your British cups and saucers. Many of the china that was sold and distributed In Canada is from England.
Information of American made T&S can be found in any of the Kovel Books of Marks as well as “Lehner’s Encyclopedia of US Marks on Pottery, Porcelain and Clay“.
Some teacups might not have a distinguished pedigree but people love them. The cup at left is such an example. Solid colour teacups like this one find their way in many collections. The companies who made such items made them in a host of different colours – you would not typically have seen a set of 12 black teacups.
Another thing to remember is that many dinner sets did not have cups and saucers to match the rest of the set of dishes. This is because T&S were put out at the end of the meal when all the rest of the other china had already been removed from the table. Matching was unecessary. Sometimes the hostess brought out her extra special T&S for after dinner coffee and tea. This is most common in sets before 1930.
Learning about teacups and saucers is fascinating because not only do you learn about the companies that manufactured them, you also learn about the social habits of the time. Good Stuff!