On offer is a beautiful "true trio" made by Swansea around the year 1820. A true trio is a trio the way it used to be sold in the early 19th Century: a teacup, coffee cup and one saucer - as you'd never have your tea and coffee at the same time, it only made sense that the two cups would share one saucer. However, this is an unusual true trio; rather than consisting of a teacup and a coffee cup, it consists of a normal teacup and a larger "breakfast cup", suitable for a larger cup of tea with a lot more milk. 


The Swansea pottery became famous in the early 19th Century, under the leadership of porcelain pioneers Lewis Weston Dillwyn and William Billingsley, for its extremely high quality of Welsh porcelain made with locally sourced clay. Dillwyn and Billingsley were obsessed with developing this Welsh porcelain, but creating this porcelain was unprofitable business; although it was among some of the most beautiful porcelains ever made, its volatile character meant that wastage in the kiln could be up to 90% and the both the Swansea pottery and its competitor Nantgarw had to struggle through various periods of optimism and improvement, as well as financial ruin, eating up a vast sum of external investment. Ultimately, both potteries had to close their doors, but their legacy is extraordinary, not only in the quality of porcelain but also the very talented painters they attracted. Many of these painters would go on to other British potteries to teach others the uniquely beautiful art of flower painting that had been developed in these Welsh potteries. 


Due to the relatively short time of successful operation and the high kiln wastage and therefore rather small output, Swansea items today are extremely rare and hard to get - they are true collectors' items.


This beautiful trio doesn't have any flowers, but it is a very elegant Regency item in simple cream-white and gilt. The shape is called "Paris fluted" and was very popular at the time. The restrained decorations bring out the fabulous quality of the porcelain very well: few bone china items are as stable, smooth, consistent and delicately potted in spite of a rather thick potting style.


This trio would make a beautiful display but is also still in excellent condition for careful use. It would make a fabulous addition to any collection.


CONDITION REPORT This trio is in excellent antique condition with no damage, crazing, repairs or significant wear. As you can clearly see on the pictures, there is some rubbing to the gilt, as can be expected of an item this age that has been used.


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): teacup 9.2cm (3 5/8"), coffee cup 8.2cm (3 1/4"), saucer 15cm (5 7/8").


SHIPPING I ship worldwide from the UK, mostly by Royal Mail 2nd Class for the UK and International Tracked and Signed for the rest of the world. I am happy to combine shipping charges on multiple items - please contact me to discuss. In principle I do not make a profit on shipping although for simplicity's sake I charge flat shipping fees. If the fee charged greatly exceeds the actual cost I will gladly refund you the difference - at the same time if it is slightly lower I will gladly make up the difference. In some countries shipping will end up significantly more than the expected fees and I will contact you to discuss our options. PLEASE CONTACT ME FOR ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING SHIPPING COSTS AND OPTIONS.

Swansea trio, Paris Fluted teacup and breakfast cup, ca 1820

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    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!