- Museum number
Service including globular teapot, cover and stand, coffee-pot and cover, tea-jar and cover, cream-jug with cover, sugar-bowl and cover, slop-basin, spoon-tray, eight teacups, four coffee-cups, ten saucers and a plate; flower knobs; printed in lilac with views, coloured and gilt. The print on the spoon tray is known as 'An Arch' and represents a ruin of Palmyra in Syria.
- Production date
- 1760-1765 (circa)
Diameter: 7.20 inches (plate)
Height: 8.60 inches (coffee-pot)
Height: 6.30 inches (teapot)
Length: 8.60 centimetres (spoon tray)
Width: 14.70 centimetres (spoon tray)
- Curator's comments
- Text from Dawson 2007, referring only to spoon tray:
Porcelain spoon trays were commonly used in the eighteenth century with matching tea wares and are usually of similar form to this moulded example. Its gilt edge indicates that it was of high status, despite the printed decoration, here enhanced with enamel colours painted over the print. The spoon tray entered the collection with a group of other Worcester pieces also printed and painted with ruins, including a teapot, cream jug, tea jar (or caddy), slop basin and sugar bowl. Whether these pieces were all sold together at the time they were made can never be known, but sets like this were evidently marketed in the eighteenth century.
The rare print is known as 'An Arch' and represents a ruin in Syria recorded in 'The Ruins of Palmyra, otherwise Tedmor, in the Desart', published by Robert Wood in 1753. This is one of the few views, rather than plans, of antiquities, in the volume; another of a temple is found, with additions, on a Worcester saucer dish printed in black.The scene on the spoon tray, also known in a black-printed version without the added colours, is plate 26 in 'The Ruins of Palmyra' and was engraved after Giovanni Battista Borra by Johann Sebastian Müller (1715-c.1785), a German engraver who came to London in 1744. Wood's views were widely copied by London publishers. A large-format coloured print was published by Bowles and Sayer in about 1755, and this, rather than the expensive Wood volume, was probably used as a source.
It is interesting to note that not only ruins found in Italy and Greece attracted the attention of the mid-eighteenth-century public, but also those of the Middle East. The subject no doubt appealed to the elite who demonstrated their familiarity with these ruins over the tea table.
Spoon trays were rarely found as part of the tea-making ritual in Britain during the twentieth century until they returned to favour recently with the use of mugs. However, their form and decoration is in general uninspired in comparisonwith those in use by the well-off in mid-eighteenth-century Britain.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- One coffee-cup and saucer from the original set sold as duplicate at Sotheby's 2/12/1958 lot 67. See documents file 1958,1005.1, Stonyhurst Salt; another coffee-cup and saucer damaged during WWII.
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number