This is a tea and coffee cup trio, or "true trio", made by Chamberlain Worcester in about 1805. It is made in the famous pattern no. 276, which is often called "Thumb and Finger" but was at the time simply called "Japan".


The Chamberlain factory was founded in the 1880s by the Robert Chamberlain, who was responsible for the decoration department in the famous Worcester pottery during the Dr Wall period. He set up his own factory with his son Humphrey and by the year 1800 they had built up their own reputation, producing wonderful tea and dinner ware for the British and European nobility. In the 1840s the factory merged back with Worcester. 


In the early 19th Century, people would buy a tea and a coffee cup sharing the same saucer - as you would never drink tea and coffee at the same time, why invest in an extra saucer?


The items are made of the blueish early porcelain of around the year 1800, before bone china got perfected. The shape of the teacup is called "bute" and the items have the characteristic loop handle that Chamberlain made at the time. 


We don't know the exact origin of the "Thumb and Finger" pattern but it is likely that it has nothing to do with thumbs or fingers. Most likely the pattern is a bastardised version of a traditional Japanese patter, and the cobalt blue and gilt shadowy figure at the bottom left of each setting might have been water, rocks or perhaps just shadows. 


The set has a beautiful decoration of deep over-glaze green panels, rich and elaborate gilding, and stunning hand painted flowers. Each flower is unique, and there are little sprigs in unexpected places, making the experience of looking at this set quite exciting. All paintwork is done with amazing skill and precision; this clearly was part of a very high quality tea service.


The items are unmarked but the pattern is known to be no. 276. 


CONDITION REPORT The set is in excellent antique condition without any damage or repairs. The only sign of time is the wear of the gilding, particularly on the teacup rim and the well of the saucer. There is no crazing. 


Kilns were fired on coal in the 1800s, and this meant that china from that period can have some firing specks from flying particles. These items are made of very early porcelain and therefore are a little bumpy, uneven in colour, carry specks and have some scratches baked into the glazing.


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. If they are from the 19th Century, please note that items fired in coal-fired kilns nearly always have irregularities at the surface and/or specks under the glazing. 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 (diameters): teacup 8.2cm (3 1/4"), coffee cup 7cm (2 3/4"), saucer 13.7cm (5 3/8").


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.

Tea/coffee cup trio, "Thumb & Finger", Chamberlain Worcester 1805

  • 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.

    You are subject to the EU Consumers Rights Act, which protects your rights buying over the internet.


    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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