This is a rare and gorgeous Belleek cabaret tea service for four in the green Neptune design, consisting of a teapot, four teacups and saucers, a milk jug and a sugar bowl, all placed on a large tray. Most items carry the 2nd Black Mark, which was used between 1891 and 1926; one of the teacups carries the 2nd Black Mark from between 1926 and 1946. The set can almost surely be considered antique; the tray not only has a mark but also an imprint, which means it was made closer to 1891 than to 1926.

 

It is extremely rare to come across an entire cabaret set of these antique items, particularly when in perfect condition, so this is a rare opportunity!

 

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 diseases caused by British-imposed mono culture and that were plaguing the Emerald Island at that time. This caused millions to starve and more millions to leave. As an amateur mineralogist, John Caldwell 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 Neptune series is one of the most classic and popular designs Belleek has made and could be found in many Irish households. Many Belleek designs are inspired by nature rather than by fashion: there are sea shells, froth, kelp, tree roots and bark, corals and weaved baskets. The Neptune series is entirely inspired by the sea. Each detail is true to the concept; the surface is wonderfully fluted like the waves of the sea, and the little feet of each item, as well as the finial of the teapot are shaped like shells. The handles are made like coral. The belly of the teapot is shaped like the waves of the sea, with the froth of the surf coming around the shoulder of the pot. The inverted handles of the tray look like washed-up kelp that you can find on the beach. And of course the colour is like the beautiful green of the Irish Sea on a stormy day! This set takes you into the Irish Sea, and it never fails to inspire your imagination.

The tea service is made in a beautiful cream-white colour with a mint green wash, and the tray is even cream-white - it is obviously from a differently coloured set but they go together beautifully. And as every Belleek collector knows, no two items are exactly the same; the colours on every piece are ever so slightly different and all teacups are slightly different in shape - whether they carry the same mark or not. Belleek was famous for always slightly changing things and as many households kept adding to their sets over the years, sets often end up with slightly different shades and details, which adds to their charm.

 

CONDITION REPORT The entire set is in perfect antique condition with no damage or wear, which is incredibly rare for such a delicate set of this age.

Please note that all items in my shop are of vintage or antique condition. They have often been used for many years and can have normal signs of wear. I will reflect any damage, repairs or heavy wear in the item description but some minor scratches, nicks and stains 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 see with the eye; a hairline runs over the surface glazing but not the body of the item and a crack runs through the body of the item, usually weakening its structure. Etcetera - I try to be as accurate as I can and please feel free to ask questions or request more detailed pictures!

 

DIMENSIONS The pot stands 12cm (4 3/4") high to the top of the finial, measures 22cm (8 3/4") from handle to spout, and pours 1 pint; teacup 9cm (3.5")diameter; saucer 13cm (5 1/8") diameter; bowl 10cm (4") diameter; milk jug 11cm (4 1/4") from handle to spout; tray 45.5cm X 36cm (17 3/4" X 14 1.4").

 

SHIPPING I ship worldwide from the UK, mostly by Royal Mail 2nd Class for the UK and International Tracked and Signed for the rest of the world. I am happy to combine shipping charges on multiple items - please contact me to discuss. In principle I do not make a profit on shipping although for simplicity's sake I charge flat shipping fees. If the fee charged greatly exceeds the actual cost I will gladly refund you the difference - at the same time if it is slightly lower I will gladly make up the difference. In some countries shipping will end up significantly more than the expected fees and I will contact you to discuss our options. PLEASE CONTACT ME FOR ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING SHIPPING COSTS AND OPTIONS.

Cabaret tea set, green Neptune, Belleek 1891-1926

SKU: A-BEL27
£0Price
  • Your item will be shipped after receipt of funds, unless agreed otherwise in writing. 

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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! 

Covid-19 - we are open for business! 

We can ship normally to most destinations, but some are currently closed.

For the time being we have had to raise shipping prices as shippers are now charging more.

As we are living under lock down and can't always reach our stock, lead times will be a little longer than usual.

For now, please bear with us as we do our best to get your parcels to you as quickly as we can! 

If needed we are happy to hold your parcel for you until the end of the pandemic.

Please feel free to contact us to discuss and thank you for your business - it is a vital support for our business! 🙏

© 2020 by Gentle Rattle of China, London UK  

copyright on all images and text

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