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This is a stunning dessert service made by Miles Mason between 1813 and 1820. It is made of Patent Ironstone China, decorated in the very rare "Famille Verte Chinoiserie" pattern  with a garden scene. It consists of a soup tureen with cover on stand, an oval dish, two lobed dishes, one large plate and 10 dessert plates.


Miles Mason started making porcelain in the 1790s, when porcelain imports from China ceased and there was a need for British-made porcelain. In the early 19th Century he purchased the patent for "ironstone" china from the Turner brothers and in 1813 he launched his "Mason't Patent Ironstone China". This was a china body that strictly speaking was earthenware, but as strong as porcelain and looking more like the porcelain that had been imported from China, than bone china. Ironstone china was cheaper to produce and its blueish hue was excellent for the Chinoiserie decorations that were still popular. The new middle class, sprung up with the Industrial Revolution, could not afford the expensive hand painted bone china table sets yet and they were also quite attached to the Chinese style of decorating. Mason saw the opportunity and started supplying huge amounts of dinner and dessert services to the new industrialists. Soon, all other potters started imitating him by bringing out their own "stone china' bodies, each with a slightly different name.


This dessert service has the typical and wonderful leaf-shaped serving dishes and simple round plates. It is decorated in a style typical for the earlier Mason's ironstone china: a hand painted imitation of a typical Chinoiserie garden scene of a tea drinking couple and their servants. The pattern is similar to patterns that can be found on Chinese import porcelain from the 18th Century. The colour scheme is "famille verte" or green. The dishes have the wonderfully lobed shape typical for Mason's wares, and the handles of the sauce tureen are in the form of two adorable faces of... well, are they cows? dogs? 


This service has restorations but it has great decorative and collector's value.


All items are marked with the printed and green coloured banner mark "Patent Ironstone China". An image of a dish in this pattern can be found in Geoffrey A. Godden's "Godden's Guide to Mason's China and the Ironstone Wares" on page 172, colour plate 42.


CONDITION REPORT The service is in good antique condition although it has extensive professional restorations. These are invisible, however it means the service is not suitable for use. The oval dish and one lobed dish are invisibly repaired; the other lobed dish has an old chip; of the plates 2 are repaired, one has a chip on the underside, one has a faint star crack and two are crazed; and there is a small chip off the foot of the sauce tureen. There is some overal flaking of enamels, some pieces more than others.


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 Sauce tureen stands 18cm (7") high and 18cm (7") wide incl. cover and stand; oval dish 28 X 19.5cm (11" X 7.75"); lobed dishes 24 X 20.5cm (9.5" X 8.15"); large plate 24cm (9.5") diameter; dessert plates 20cm (8") diameter.


Mason's Patent Ironstone dessert service, Famille Verte Chinoiserie, 1813-1820

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