This is a very striking and rare dessert service made by New Hall between 1824 and 1830. The service consists of 12 plates, 2 one-handled serving dishes, 2 square serving dishes, and 4 oval serving dishes. 


I have a smaller set available by the same maker in the same pattern, see separate listing, that would be perfect to merge with this one.


The New Hall factory started as a cooperative of several Staffordshire potters making use of the porcelain license of Bristol Porcelain Company after this went in demise. It quickly grew out to be a leading porcelain maker, and the first to make true porcelain in Staffordshire. New Hall is mostly known for its huge output of its typical "hybrid hard paste" porcelain, as New Hall had adapted the original hard paste recipe from Bristol in order to save on production costs - a frugal Staffordshire improvement on the first hard paste porcelain recipes, which were quite difficult and expensive to produce. Once Josiah Spode had standardised bone china this quickly became the standard. New Hall was late to take up bone china but after 1814 they made it their main output, and they made some very high quality items.


The items are beautifully potted and could be attributed to several factories; the shape is often called the "inverted shell" or "dropped shell" shape. There is a huge amount of confusion around this shape as it was made by Alcock, Rathbone, Machin, Ridgway, New Hall, Hicks & Meigh, Rathbone and Minton, and possibly others... This service is shown in Geoffrey A. Godden's well known book on New Hall Porcelain. Based on the pattern number and the era, this service must have been made by New Hall.


The gilding and flower painting is gorgeous and done by very skilled artists. Cobalt blue and gilt was very popular around this time; dinner tables were lit by candles and you can imagine how the light would have reflected in all the gilt on the table, creating quite a spectacular effect and providing extra light. The service is clearly a compilation of two different sets, perhaps because items were replaced, or perhaps because the service was assembled over the years; some items have a lighter cobalt blue ground and the pattern numbers and flowers seem to be painted by two different hands. However, all items go together perfectly and it is not uncommon at all for services of this era to be assembled in this manner.


The items are unmarked, which was not unusual for this period, except the pattern number 2903.


CONDITION REPORT The service is generally in very good condition; it looks stunning on display and all items can still be used. There are, however, some flaws: one of the one-handled dishes has slightly discoloured crazing and some very minor firing cracks coming off the rim; two of the oval dishes have slightly discoloured crazing; of the plates, one has a chip off the underside of the rim (not visible when in position) and a very fine crack through the middle, and one has some crazing that is visible as discolouration on the underside. There is a variable degree of wear throughout; please study the pictures carefully.


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  plates 24.2cm X 23.8cm; one-handled dishes 24.2cm X 22cm; 21.8cm X 21cm; oval dishes 27.2cm X 20.2cm.

New Hall dessert service, cobalt blue and flowers, inverted shell, 1824-1830

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