This is a wonderful tea and coffee service serving 6 with the beautiful Pagoda pattern in blue and white transfer. The coffee pot was made by Rathbone and the cups and saucers by Miles Mason.


I have also listed the set of teacup trios and the coffee pot in separate listings, in case you are interested to buy them separately - please don't buy all listings are they are the same set!


The tea and coffee cups come in "true trios" containing a teacup and coffee cup sharing one saucer. A true trio is how cups and saucers were sold in the early 19th Century. As you would never drink tea and coffee at the same time, why invest in an extra saucer?


Miles Mason was one of the early ones of the second wave of British porcelain makers, alongside Spode and others. Mason was a prominent porcelain retailer in London at the time that most porcelain came from China, imported by the East India Company. When those imports stopped in 1791 (due to the racketeering at the porcelain auctions by Mason and his fellow dealers), he seized the opportunity and started to experiment in making his own porcelain. By the early 1800s, Mason had developed both very strong ironstone, and bone china. Mason copied the Chinese designs he used to import, and became famous for large Chinoiserie dinner and dessert wares made of "Patent Ironstone". However, they also made very fine porcelain tea services.


Rathbone was one of the many potters in the early 19th Century, working alongside famous potters such as Spode, Ridgway, Miles Mason and Wedgwood and others in Staffordshire. The pottery was run by several members of the Rathbone family, and it was only in operation between 1812 and 1835; it was most probably closed due to the death of its owners. Rathbone made a wonderful quality earthenware (mostly pearlware, like this pot) and also very fine porcelain with sublime decorations.


All items in this set are decorated in the famous Pagoda pattern, sometimes called Temple or Broseley pattern, with a gracious gilt detail. The pattern is applied in transfer print. The Pagoda pattern is a copy of a popular Chinese pattern; Spode turned this into the famous Willow pattern. The patterns between Mason and Rathbone differ, however: while Mason used purely Chinese elements in his pattern, Rathbone mixed in a very European-looking castle with a European lady and gentleman in front of it, presumably courting each other.


All cups and saucers are marked with the underglaze blue square Mason mark that imitates a Chinese or Japanese mark. This mark was used between 1807 and 1813. The coffeepot is unmarked, but an image of an identically shaped pot can be found in Ian Harvey's book on Rathbone on page 36.


CONDITION REPORT The coffee pot is in excellent condition without any damage other than an old and faint crack in the tip of the spout, which might have been there since production, and a short fine crack in the neck, which does not go down into the body and therefore does not influence the usability of the pot. There are some glaze blemishes from production but no other damage. The cups and saucers are in good antique condition and all items can be used, however most of the cups have crazing. One teacup has a crack there are some production blemishes in the glaze. 


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 of cups and saucers: teacup 8.2cm (3.25"); coffee cup 6.3cm (2.5"); saucer 14.2cm (5.6"). Coffee pot 27cm ("10.5) high and 23.5cm (9.25") between handle and spout.

Tea and coffee service Rathbone/Miles Mason, Pagoda pattern, ca 1810



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