This is a very striking breakfast cup and saucer made in the "Canton" famille verte style in China in about 1880. It was made for export to the West. I have three of these cups available, see separate listings for the other two.


This cup is large and this size is called "breakfast cup"; it would fit a large milky tea or cafe au lait.


"Canton" porcelain distinguishes itself in the type of colourful enamel painting you see on this set; it became very popular during the 18th and 19th Centuries. Canton is the Western name for the city of Guangzhou, which for many years was the only port for porcelain export to the West. These wares were generally produced in the city of Jingdezhen and then decorated for export to the West in 13 factories located on the banks of the Pearl River near Guangzhou, after which they were shipped out.


This set is lightly potted in greyish porcelain in a style that seems to be a copy of the English "London" style with the characteristic square handle with an upturned thumb rest. It has an exuberant and expertly hand painted decoration in colourful enamels. The decoration consists of garden scenes with figures enjoying themselves in a beautiful garden of rocks, flowers and trees, the rims consisting of flowers, birds and butterflies. The detail of the paintwork is exceptional; look for instance at how the flower petals have some definition, making the flowers "pop"; how the faces of the people consist of pink shades with the forehead and nose left blank in order to give the face depth and the appearance of reflecting the light; and how the folds of the clothing have been picked out in dark colours. There is a sparing and nicely blended-in use of gilt, only applied to pick out the definition of the images.


Both cup and saucer are unmarked, as was common at the time.


CONDITION REPORT The set is in excellent antique condition without any damage, crazing or repairs There is light wear to the paintings, as visible in the pictures.


Antique porcelain is never perfect. Everything was handwork and kilns were fired on wood or coal, creating a lot of dust and other particles that could get baked into the porcelain by accident. Due to the shrinkage in the kiln, items can have small firing lines, which should not be seen as damage but as an imperfection of the time of production. 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 (diameters) cup 11cm (4.25") diameter; saucer 16cm (6.25").


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.

Chinese Export breakfast cup, Canton famille verte with figures, ca 1880 (2)

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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!