This is a stunning dessert service made by Coalport in about 1820. It was hand painted with beautiful flower studies by Cecil Jones, a celebrated flower painter who was born in 1799 and worked for Coalport between about 1815 and 1845.


The service consists of one high footed and double-handled comport or tazza, one double-handled oval serving dish, two slightly smaller round one-handled serving dishes, and twelve dessert plates.


Coalport was one of the pioneers of English china production alongside other great potters such as Spode, Davenport, Minton, Ridgway and others and they created very high quality tea and dinnerware. They were located in Shropshire, just over the border of Staffordshire, which was a major English porcelain centre. Coalport was a new town named after the canal that was dug in the late 18th Century to carry coal to the industrial “black country” of Staffordshire and the Midlands. The brothers John and Thomas Rose built their porcelain factories at opposite sides of the canal, John eventually buying out Thomas and this would later become the famous “Coalport” factory.


The service is beautifully potted in smooth and very white porcelain; some items are heavier than others which means the items were possibly put together from different stock. There is modest gilding but with an interesting, quite modern-looking pattern on the rim. The shape of the items is simple except for some scroll details on the serving dishes. The stunning thing about this service is the flower studies; each item has a different flower, painted in a highly realistic and almost modern-looking style by the celebrated and precociously talented flower painter Cecil Jones, who was only about 20 years old when he created this beautiful service. Jones' style is clearly visible in the simplicity and directness with which he portrays the flowers, and the deep colours he used; there is nothing overly sweet about this service and it is all about the true nature of these flowers.


The items are unmarked except the pattern number 2/165, which dates it at around 1820.


CONDITION REPORT The service is in excellent antique condition with only minor flaws, as described here. The comport has a slight stain on the face, which is visible in the picture. The foot and both handles are in perfect condition. Two plates have tight cracks coming off the rim, see last picture, but these are stable. One plate has a crack through the centre, which is also stable (see second last picture). Coalport items of this period are usually crazed, and this service has four plates, two serving dishes and the comport that have crazing - however none of them have yellowed so the crazing is not obvious and the entire service is in fabulous display condition. As none of the cracks are unstable, the service is also safe to use. There is no noticeable wear to either the gilt or the flower paintings.


Antique British porcelain is never perfect. Kilns were fired on coal in the 1800s, and this meant that china from that period can have some firing specks from flying particles. British 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 (diameters): Comport stands 19cm (7.5") high and is 35.5cm (14") x 28cm (11"); oval serving dish 29cm (11.5") x 23cm (9'); two round serving dishes 26cm (10 1/4') x 23.5cm (9 1/4"); 12 plates 23.5cm (9 1/4") diameter.

Coalport dessert service, floral studies by Cecil Jones, ca 1820

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