- Museum number
Pair of chocolate-cups, covers and saucers; twisted handles; ground diapered with network of gold and red; on each are two reserved panels containing on one side, a view of the cottage of the two 'Ladies of Llangollen', in black and on the other side, the arms of the Butler and Ponsonby families in two lozenge-shaped shields, in proper colours; formal borders of ovals enclosing rosettes in gold; monograms in saucers; one cover made later to match. Both lids have metal loop handles. One lid has a higher dome (part of set d, e, f) with two leaves in relief at the top and the loop handle is attached with a bolt inside. On the other lid, the dome has been ground down (part of set a, b, c), there are no leaves, and the metal handle has no bolt; this lid has a wavy rim. The cups are the same in both sets but the saucers differ: the saucer in set a-c has a smaller roundel at centre of underside.
- Production date
Diameter: 6.10 inches (saucer)
Height: 5.60 inches (cup and cover)
- Curator's comments
- Eleanor Charlotte Butler (1739-1829) and Sarah Ponsonby (1755-1831) both came from aristocratic families, living within a few miles of each other in County Kilkenny, Ireland. They met in 1768. Ten years later they left Ireland together for Wales, eventually settling in the Village of Llangollen, North Wales, in a small cottage just outside the village, called Plas Newydd (new mansion). Their unsympathetic relatives allowed them a modest income only, yet they made improvements to Plas Newydd, hired servants and hosted a range of visitors, attracted by their life and their decision to live together despite the opposition of their families, at a time when it was assumed a woman would marry or remain single. Their house is now a museum.
The cups have previously been attributed to the Bristol China Manufactory, but they are not a known Bristol shape and the ceramic body does not resemble Bristol paste (information kindly supplied by Errol Manners, January 2018). One lid and one saucer made later as replacements.
- On display (G47/dc8)
- Exhibition history
2019 21 Sep-17 Nov Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum, Dorchester, Desire, love, identity: exploring LGBTQ histories
2019 8 Jun-31 Aug Norfolk & Norwich Millennium Library, Desire, love, identity: exploring LGBTQ histories
2019 15 Mar-26 May, Bolton Museum, Desire, love, identity: exploring LGBTQ histories
2018-2019 14 Dec-3 Mar, National Justice Museum, Desire, love, identity: exploring LGBTQ histories
2018 25 Sep– 2 Dec, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, Desire, love, identity: exploring LGBTQ histories
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number