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This is a beautiful and extremely rare tea service made by Derby in about 1785. The set has the distinctive "artichoke" moulding and a bright turquoise ground with the white artichoke surface picked out in gilt. This design, although about 240 year old, is shockingly modern.

 

There are several more cups and saucers, as well as a plate available in this pattern, see separate listings or send us a question!

 

The Derby Porcelain Company, later called Royal Crown Derby, is currently the oldest British porcelain factory still in production. The Derby pottery was one of the most prominent potteries right from the start of English porcelain production in the mid 1700s to today, and the factory went through many iterations. In the 1820s, it was called "Bloor Derby" as it came under the ownership of Robert Bloor; this factory later closed but its legacy was continued under the ownership of a group of employees, and later this was merged into a new factory called Royal Crown Derby, which is still in operation today and still carries forward some of the oldest patterns that have made it famous over the centuries. 

 

The service is potted in very fine early porcelain - this is from the period that Derby started adding bone ash to its recipe so there might be some in it, but it is not as white and light as the later "bone china" that is now the standard all over the world. You can also see some imperfections such as soot baked into the glaze, and the glaze is not as even as more recent items would have been. 

 

This pattern is intriguing with its surface moulding that is called "artichoke", picked out in gilt. The ground is bright turquoise, which was a fashionable and quite modern colour at the time. The colour is not completely even, which is a sign of the time; they were not capable of firing a completely even ground colour in this era.

 

All items carry the puce crowned Derby mark.

 

This very same tea service is illustrated on page 239 of John Twitchett's "Derby Porcelain 1748-1848", with the image credit to Sotheby's.

 

CONDITION REPORT The service is in excellent condition, with only a few flaws: the finial of the sucrier cover has been broken and was secured with a screw, there is an associated crack in the top of the cover; the milk jug has some slight yellowing inside, probably the result of some micro crazing, and it might have a repair to the rim, which is visible in the pictures; there is an old chip off the footrim of the teapot; and there is a tiny nibble off the spout of the teapot. There are some imperfections in the glaze and the ground colour throughout, as is normal for Derby items of this era, and there is some light wear here and there.

 

Antique British porcelain is never perfect. Kilns were fired on coal in the 1700s, 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 please feel free to ask for exact dimensions.

Derby tea service, artichoke pattern in turquoise, ca 1785

SKU: A-DER71
£2,250.00Price
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