This is an extremely rare and valuable dessert service made by Coalport probably between 1865 and 1870. It was painted by the very famous porcelain painter John Randall, and it is an exceptionally beautiful example not only of Randall's style in his later years of his long career with Coalport, but also of Coalport's lavishly decorated table ware of that era. This is a true collectors’ item and would make a stunning display in a large home.

The service consists of three high footed comports and fifteen 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.


John Randall was born in 1810 and trained in his uncle's decoration establishment, which was famous for decorating imported French wares in the Sèvres style, passing them on for Sèvres in the English market. He later moved to Coalport, where he spent nearly 50 years being one of Coalport's most celebrated painters. Apart from being a brilliant artist, he was also an amateur geologist and historian, wrote several books, and once his eyesight failed him, he spent the last years of life as the local Postmaster. Randall died in 1910 at the ripe age of 100, reportedly still a witty man with a bright mind.


Michael Messenger perhaps best described Randall's genius as an artist, describing his earlier, more traditional style: "These stylised birds are fairly easily imitated, of course, but already one can detect the beginnings of a distinctive style: the stippled foliage and, perhaps even more significant, the almost three-dimensional effect of depth through the dark tones used in the immediate foreground. No less apparent is the suggestion of suspended animation in the birds themselves, even in stylised forms such as these." (Country Life, 5th July 1973).


This service has spectacular paintings of naturalistic birds, each in their own natural habitat. There is a wide range of species: waterbirds, song birds, birds of prey and brightly coloured tropical birds. The ground colour of the items is duck egg blue, which together with the high grade gilt makes a beautiful combination. The level of detail and perspectival depth in the paintings is truly sublime and this service can be counted among Randall's finest work.


This service would make a wonderful addition to a Coalport or John Randall collection and it could easily fill an entire wall, either on shelves or hung on the wall directly (although the comports need to be stood). 


The plates are from an era when Coalport did not mark their items clearly; most items have an impressed Roman number VI which most likely points to a time between 1865 and 1870.


CONDITION REPORT The service is in very excellent condition with no damage and very little wear. A few of the plates have light surface crazing, which is quite common for Coalport items of this era. Crazing occurs as a result of the body of the item shrinking faster than the glazing and it is caused by the recipe used; it does not affect the strength or integrity of the items. Overall, the service is in truly stunning condition. A few plates have slight rubbing of the gilt, but most seem to have never been used. All images are completely free from wear.


Kilns were fired on coal in the 1800s, and this meant that china from that period can have some firing specks from flying particles. This set is unusually smooth for its time, but the glazing is crazed in places.


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. If they are from the 19th Century, please note that items fired in coal-fired kilns nearly always have irregularities at the surface and/or specks under the glazing. 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 (diameter): plates and comports 24cm (9.5“); comports stand 15.2cm (6“) high.


SHIPPING I ship worldwide from the UK. Given the size and value of this shipment, I will ship only with trusted  shippers and I am charging more than on most other items in my shop. PLEASE CONTACT ME FOR ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING SHIPPING COSTS AND OPTIONS.

Exceptional rare dessert service, Coalport John Randall, 1865-1870

  • Your item will be shipped after receipt of funds, unless agreed otherwise in writing. 


    We will ship your items within a maximum of 2 working days after payment (usually quicker). We cannot be held responsible for delivery times once the item has been shipped as this is at the shipper's discretion and, in case of international delivery, can be subject to customs delays, weather, holidays and/or political instability.


    If your delivery failed to appear or was damaged in transit, please let us know as soon as possible and, in case of damage, provide us with pictures of the damaged item and/or packaging. Cut off dates for this are 14 days after shipping, or 2 days after a damaged delivery. We will need to comply with shippers' regulations in order to follow up the issue, but it is vital that you let us know what is wrong as soon as possible. We will do anything we can to follow up faulty deliveries but cannot be held responsible if we have not been notified within the required time period. 


    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! 

  • Cancellations can only be accepted before the item has been shipped. Once an item has been shipped, the transaction cannot be cancelled anymore.

    Returns need to be requested within 2 days of receipt of the item and completed within 14 days from the date they have been agreed in writing.

    If you want to return an item because you changed your mind, you will be responsible for the return shipping. For international deliveries, this will need to be a fully tracked shipping mode. The item is expected to be received back in the same state it was sent - any damage due to insufficient packaging will be your responsibility. We will only pay for return shipping if we have mutually agreed that the item did not satisfy your expectations. A refund will be made immediately after receipt of the item.

    You are subject to the EU Consumers Rights Act, which protects your rights buying over the internet.


    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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