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This is a stunning tea service made by New Hall in about 1795. The service is made of hybrid hard paste porcelain and decorated in the bold Chinoiserie-inspired "Tobacco Leaf" pattern. The service consists of a teapot with cover, a milk jug, a slop bowl, and six tea bowls with saucers.


This service has provenance; it came from the collection of David Redstone, the well known porcelain expert who wrote leading books on Bow and Chelsea porcelain.


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.


This set is made in the typical "hybrid hard paste" porcelain, as New Hall had adapted the original hard paste recipe from Bristol in order to save on production costs. You can tell this by the way the porcelain has a blue hue and is less milky than bone china. As this hybrid porcelain was slightly cheaper to make and very popular among customers who were used to the more stony Chinese Export porcelain, New Hall was a late adapter of bone china, which was already used by most other factories around the time this set was made. This type of porcelain was very good for the "Chinoiserie" decorations.


The teapot is shaped in what is called the "commode" shape; a nicely panelled shape that was popular in the 1790s. The cups are still bowls; in the late 18th Century many people still preferred to drink tea from bowls in the Chinese manner and of course they stack much better. The set is decorated in the "Tobacco Leaf" pattern, which New Hall has done many times. This one in unusual in the sense that the colours are very bright and bold, but lack the usual lavish gilt touches; it is possible that this set was made for Puritan customers who would not eat or drink off gilded china for religious reasons. 


The pattern consists of bold large flower sprays and rings in the Chinese manner, in orange, green, blue and fuchsia pink. The colours are a daring combination; the orange and pink make a wonderful clash, held together by the bright blue colour. In the late 18th and early 19th Century English factories copied Chinese patterns to satisfy the need for replacements of broken Chinese items, and also because English customers only gradually got used to more Western designs and many still preferred the blueish old style porcelain (rather than bone china) and the "Chinoiserie" designs of the 18th Century Chinese imports.


The items are unmarked, as is customary for New Hall, but teapot, jug and bowl are marked with the pattern number 272.


CONDITION REPORT The service is in perfect condition except one flaw: there is a crack in the tip of the teapot spout (see last picture); however it is still suitable for use. There is a small firing crack in the rim of the bowl. Other than this there is absolutely no damage, repairs, crazing or even wear.


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 to be added, please feel free to ask.

New Hall tea service, Tobacco Leaf pattern, ca 1795



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