This is a beautiful orphaned coffee can made by Miles Mason around 1810. 

 

I also have a trio available, please see separate listing.

 

Miles Mason was one of the early ones of the second wave of British porcelain makers, alongside Spode and others. Mason was a prominent porcelain retailer in London at the time that most porcelain came from China, imported by the East India Company. When those imports stopped in 1791 (due to the racketeering at the porcelain auctions by Mason and his fellow dealers), he seized the opportunity and started to experiment in making his own porcelain. By the early 1800s, Mason had developed both very strong ironstone, and bone china. Mason copied the Chinese designs he used to import, and became famous for large Chinoiserie dinner and dessert wares made of "Patent Ironstone". 

 

This coffee can would have been part of a large tea service. It is made of bone china and decorated in a stunning bronze-orange ground colour with a geometric bronze-coloured gilt pattern. In the reserves there are bat-printed Classicist scenes of the Roman goddess Minerva (Athena in Greek mythology) with a group of cherubs, involved in the pursuit of the fine arts. Minerva as not only the goddess of war, strategy and good judgment, but she also was the protector of the fine arts.

 

In the early 19th Century there was a fashion for Classicist scenes, inspired by the recent excavations in Italy, Greece and Turkey that brought to Classics literature and mythology. This set is clearly made in this fashion.

 

The images of Minerva were "bat printed", which has nothing to do with bats (the animals) but stands for the particular way transfer prints were generally only done for about 10 years, roughly between 1810 and 1820. It was a form of transfer printing by which an etched picture was transferred not by a sheet of paper, but by a slab of gelatine called a “bat”, which would transfer sticky oil onto the porcelain object, which was then covered in powdered paint. The paint would stick to the oil print of the original etching and that’s how the picture emerged. Another difference is that the etching itself was not scratched into the copper plate, but stippled; this created the soft tones. Even though the decorations come out in monochrome, they tend to have more subtlety and emotional expression than transfer prints or even hand painted decorations. Bat printing was very time consuming so it was not done on a large scale and didn't survive long beyond the early 19th Century.

 

The can is unmarked as was common at the time, but we know that it is pattern number 174.

 

CONDITION REPORT The can is in excellent antique condition without any damage, repairs or crazing, and only minimal wear as visible in the pictures. There is an unevenness in the glaze in the bottom of the can; this is a quirk from production.

 

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)  6.6cm (2.6").

Miles Mason orphaned coffee can, Minerva and cherubs patt. 174, ca 1810

SKU: A-MAS03d
£0Price
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