On offer is a rare and stunning full tea service made by Rockingham in about 1832. The service consists of a large teapot with stand, 10 teacups, 7 coffee cups, 12 saucers, a milk jug, a lidded sucrier, a large slop bowl and two cake plates.


To come across a service this large and in such good condition is extremely rare so this is a truly unique offering that would be not only a fantastic addition to any interior, but a fully usable tea set!


Although the Rockingham pottery started some time in the mid-18th Century, when we say "Rockingham" it mostly means the Rockingham pottery as it was run between 1826 and 1842, creating high quality bone china table ware. The pottery rose to fame when King William VI ordered a huge dinner service containing 200 pieces. It took 600 people 7 years to complete this service, and by the time it was finished the King died. It ended up being used for the first time at the subsequent coronation of Queen Victoria in 1837. In the end, the undertaking, although it brought important business from all British aristocracy, had ruined the pottery and it never recovered. It closed it doors in 1842. This story serves to show the status, artistic sophistication and capacity of the Rockingham pottery in the 1830s.


As the pottery only produced between 1826 and 1842, good pieces are relatively rare and to find this service is a treat. It is made of sturdy, thickly potted bone china. The design is cream coloured with gilt seaweed all over and beautiful small hand painted flower bouquets. These flowers are all painted with great skill and you can recognise many ordinary English wild flowers, the way you find them in any meadow in the countryside. Although the combination of seaweed and flowers may seem odd at first, it is wonderful one; during the few weeks that this set was stood on my table, I grew to love it more and more for its harmonious colours, beautiful contrasts, and charming shapes.


The shapes of the items deserve extra attention. This set is an example of the Rococo Revival, with lavish twists and turns. The teapot spout and handle seem to have little twigs or leaves growing out of them - or are they fish fins? Whatever they are, it is highly charming. The shape of the pot itself is a beautiful pear shape; generous yet sophisticated with perfectly balanced dimensions. The cups are typical Rococo bell-shaped cups with a wide opening. The lids of the teapot and sucrier are in the iconic and striking crown shape, a sign that this set was made after the pottery attracted the King's patronage.


An example of an identically shaped teapot with a similar seaweed pattern can be found in Miller & Berthoud's book "An Anthology of British Teapots" in plate 1922 on page 321.


CONDITION REPORT This set is in stunning condition but given its age there are a few signs of wear, which I will list here. Almost all items are crazed and I will not mention this from here on unless the crazing is more extreme. The teapot is in perfect condition. The teapot stand is very crazed and a bit stained, the gilt has rubbed off in places and it has two cracks. The lidded sucrier is in perfect condition. The milk jug looks like a replacement made of lighter colour and the inside gilt is rubbed in places. One cake plate is very crazed, causing stains. The other cake plate is lightly crazed, like most items. 6 teacups are in perfect condition, of which 3 are whiter replacements; 2 are good but have small insignificant firing cracks on the rim; and 2 have cracks although they are still good for use (the cracks are not in danger of moving further or leaking). 7 coffee cups are in perfect condition, of which 1 is a whiter replacement. 10 saucers are in excellent condition and 2 are cracked, but can still be used (the cracks are stable). The slop bowl is in good condition.


All of the above defects are minor, they do not detract from its beauty and the set is perfectly safe to use. Please feel free to ask for detailed close up pictures!


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 please feel free to ask for details

Please note that the silver tray used in the picture is for display only and does not form part of this listing.


Rockingham tea service, cream, gilt seaweed, flowers, Rococo Revival, 1832

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