The Blind Earl
Updated: Dec 21, 2019
To celebrate the beginning of the holiday period, today I have a very rare dessert service made by Chamberlain & Co (Worcester) between 1840 and 1851. It is in the famous "Blind Earl" pattern, but this flow blue version is incredibly rare and was probably made for export to the USA. I absolutely love this service!
This 18th Century pattern was called after George William Coventry, the fifth Earl of Coventry (1722-1809), who was the Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire. In 1780, George William suffered from a hunting accident and lost his eye sight. It is said that he ordered a service like this (although in polychrome colours with bright greens) because, now blind, he wanted to be able to feel his beautiful china.
Although this is a fabulous story, historians tend to disagree as the first Blind Earl china was produced by the Worcester Porcelain Company in the 1750’s while George William’s accident occurred in 1780. There can be two explanations: either the story was wrongly attributed to George William's accident after the fact, or perhaps already in the 1750s there was hereditary blindness in the family, and the hunting accident story was made up to explain away George William's blindness - either way, it is a good story and this pattern will be called "Blind Earl" forever!
Enjoy your weekend!
This week's new treasures:
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