This is a very stunning tea service for 5 made by Wileman in or shortly after 1895. It consists of a teapot, five teacups and saucers, a milk jug on a saucer and a sugar or slop bowl. The set is printed with the Trailing Violets pattern in lilac and teal green and the shape of the items is called "Dainty".


This set would originally have been a cabaret set on a large tray, but sadly the tray got lost. 


Wileman (later renamed Shelley and sometimes called Foley) was one of the most respected manufacturers of fine bone china tea sets in the late 19th and early 20th Century, and many of their products are now collector's items. They made many different shapes of cups and the Dainty shape became one of its very popular enduring shapes that was produced unchanged until the end of the Shelley factory in 1966. This set was made when this design was first created.


The Trailing Violets pattern on the Dainty shape was registered in 1895. The pattern consists of wreaths of daisies and violets that trail around the edges of the items. There is some modest gilding with some more detail on the handles of the items and the finial of the teapot. The pattern was applied by transfer and is influenced by the Aesthetic Movement, which was at its height in the 1880s and took flowers out of their ornamental role and put them at the heart of decorations. You can see that in this pattern; the flowers are alive and realistic and don't serve as ornaments to a wider design, but they are the design.


There is a story to the colours of this pattern: they are the colours of the Suffragettes Movement that started to become famous (or infamous for many) in the 1890s. We will never know if this was on purpose, but it is known that the suffragettes were very skilful at recruiting people in the arts and crafts to help them make the movement more mainstream and this set could very well have been a polite but subversive way to support the movement - particularly because it would have been sold to well-to-do women of its time!


The dainty shape is one of the most popular designs that Wileman came up with and became even more famous in the 20th Century as Shelley kept producing it. With its dainty scalloped shapes and slightly fluted surface, it is both romantic and earthy and fits in any interior, whether modern or traditional - hence its great attraction all throughout the 20th Century.


The set has some slight damage but is entirely usable and looks absolutely stunning; importantly the teapot has no damage to the body or the spout.

All items carry the large Wileman stamp in green and the pattern number 9057 painted in gold.


CONDITION REPORT As mentioned the set looks fabulous but has a few slight issues, which are listed here. The teapot has two hairlines coming off the rim, but they stop well short of the shoulder of the pot. The lines look old and usually these little lines don't go beyond the shoulder, so the pot is still fine to use if carefully warmed before use. There is a fine line in the strainer inside the pot, but the does not affect the body of the pot. Importantly, the spout is without any damage. One of the teacups is crazed and two saucers are crazed (one more than the other); there is some extremely light crazing on the milk jug that is barely visible. The gilt rims and patterns are without any rubbing, there are no stains on the porcelain and the colours are vibrant. The set is excellent for careful use and is stunning on display.


Kilns were fired on coal in the late 1800s, and this meant that china from that period can have some firing specks from flying particles. One reason Wileman was able to bring high quality tableware on the market for modest prices is that they decided to pass items with firing specks and scrapes rather than discarding them and creating costly waste. 


Please note that all items in my shop are of vintage or antique condition. They have often been used for many years and can have normal signs of wear. I will reflect any damage, repairs or heavy wear in the item description but some minor scratches, nicks and stains 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 see with the eye; a hairline runs over the surface glazing but not the body of the item and a crack runs through the body of the item, usually weakening its structure. Etcetera - I try to be as accurate as I can and please feel free to ask questions or request more detailed pictures!


DIMENSIONS (diameter at the widest point): pot stands 14cm (5.5") high incl. finial and measures 22cm (8 3/4") from handle to spout; milk jug stands 6.5cm (2 3/4") and measures 10cm (4") from mouth to handle; bowl diameter 10cm (4"); cup diameter 7.5cm (3"), saucer diameter12cm (4 3/4").


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.

Stunning tea service, Dainty shape Wileman 1895

  • Your item will be shipped after receipt of funds, unless agreed otherwise in writing. 

    We will ship your items within a maximum of 2 working days after payment (usually quicker). We cannot be held responsible for delivery times once the item has been shipped as this is at the shipper's discretion and, in case of international delivery, can be subject to customs delays, weather, holidays and/or political instability.


    If your delivery failed to appear or was damaged in transit, please let us know as soon as possible and, in case of damage, provide us with pictures of the damaged item and/or packaging. Cut off dates for this are 14 days after shipping, or 2 days after a damaged delivery. We will need to comply with shippers' regulations in order to follow up the issue, but it is vital that you let us know what is wrong as soon as possible. We will do anything we can to follow up faulty deliveries but cannot be held responsible if we have not been notified within the required time period. 

    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! 

  • Cancellations can only be accepted before the item has been shipped. Once an item has been shipped, the transaction cannot be cancelled anymore.

    Returns need to be requested within 2 days of receipt of the item and completed within 14 days from the date they have been agreed in writing.

    If you want to return an item because you changed your mind, you will be responsible for the return shipping. For international deliveries, this will need to be a fully tracked shipping mode. The item is expected to be received back in the same state it was sent - any damage due to insufficient packaging will be your responsibility. We will only pay for return shipping if we have mutually agreed that the item did not satisfy your expectations. A refund will be made immediately after receipt of the item.

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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! 

© 2020 by Gentle Rattle of China, London UK  

copyright on all images and text

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