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This is a beautiful teacup and saucer in the Grass design. Both items carry the 1st Black Mark, which was used between 1863 and 1891. This teacup has a very narrow shape, as was fashionable in the late Victorian time, and would be perfect for coffee as well.

 

We also have an entire cabaret set in this pattern available, see separate listing.

 

If you ever thought Belleek fine china looks, sounds and feels unique, you are right. There is a back story to this extraordinarily fine Irish eggshell porcelain, which has an unusually high amount of "frit" and therefore is thinner and finer than any other china.

 

Pottery in Belleek (in the now Northern-Irish area of Fermanagh) had started in 1849 with John Caldwell Bloomfield, who was a wealthy land owner. During the Irish famine he realised that unless he would find a way for his tenants to make a profit off the land, they would starve. Agriculture had become impossible due to the agricultural diseases caused by mono culture at that time, and the political unrest in response to British colonial rule. This a million people to starve and another million to leave; the population had halved within a decade. As an amateur mineralogist, Bloomfield realised that his land had exactly the right mineral deposits to be used as clay for porcelain. He involved several investors and scientists and after many years of research, trial, error, the building of a railway line to import coal from England, and building a factory, the Belleek pottery resulted, employing the local people and soon producing the finest china made with clay from the Belleek area.

 

What had started as a way to fend off famine among the local tenants had became a story of incredible success by the 1880s as Queen Victoria fell in love with the fine white china and the many homely, slightly bizarre but nature-loving designs; this was different from English tradition, yet it was very much to the taste of the British who had developed a real love for home-made fine china since it was introduced in the late 18th Century. Soon the English nobility started to place big orders and the pottery is still flourishing today and selling its wares the world over, while in England most potteries have long disappeared.

 

The Grass series is one of the many Belleek designs that were inspired by nature rather than by fashion: there are sea shells, froth, seaweeds, tree roots and bark, corals and woven baskets. The Grass design is a bit rarer than many of the more nautical designs. Each item has grass blades and seeds embossed on it, and picked off in muted and slightly iridescent colours. The teacup handle looks like braided grass.

 

CONDITION REPORT The set is in perfect antique condition without any damage, repairs, crazing or significant wear.

 

Antique porcelain is never perfect. Kilns were fired on coal in the 1800s and early 1900s, and this meant that china from that period can have some firing specks from flying particles. Makers were also known for their experimentation, and sometimes this resulted in technically imperfect results. Due to the shrinkage in the kiln, items can have small firing lines or develop crazing over time, which should not be seen as damage but as an imperfection of the maker's recipes, probably unknown at the time of making. Items have often been used for many years and can have normal signs of wear, and gilt can have signs of slight disintegration even if never handled. I will reflect any damage, repairs, obvious stress marks, crazing or heavy wear in the item description but some minor scratches, nicks, stains and gilt disintegration can be normal for vintage items and need to be taken into account.

 

There is widespread confusion on the internet about the difference between chips and nicks, or hairlines and cracks. I will reflect any damage as truthfully as I can, i.e. a nick is a tiny bit of damage smaller than 1mm and a chip is something you can easily see with the eye; a glazing line is a break in the glazing only; hairline is extremely tight and/or superficial and not picked up by the finger; and a crack is obvious both to the eye and the finger. Etcetera - I try to be as accurate as I can and please feel free to ask questions or request more detailed pictures!

 

DIMENSIONS (diameter)  teacup 6.5cm (2.6"); saucer 13.2cm (5.2").

 

Belleek teacup and saucer, Grass pattern 1st BM 1863-1891

SKU: A-BEL12a
£115.00Price
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    We always aim to have happy customers so if you have an issue with or questions about your item, please contact us and we will do anything we can to resolve the issue with you! 

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