This is a very charming orphaned coffee can made by Thomas Wolfe at Factory Z in about 1800, which was the Georgian era. This coffee cup would have belonged to a "true trio" consisting of a teacup or tea bowl, a coffee can and a saucer. In the late 18th and early 19th Century this is how cups and saucers were sold; as you would never drink tea and coffee at the same time, why invest in an extra saucer?

 

Thomas Wolfe started his factory in 1781 in Staffordshire. It is believed that he was the first one to install a steam engine to grind flint, in 1793. He was a maker of high quality porcelain but also worked at the Islington pottery in Liverpool, and in partnership Davenport, Miles Mason and Spode. For many years the items made by Thomas Wolfe at Stoke were not identified and the factory received the name "Factory Z" - we now know that this was Thomas Wolfe but the name lived on.

 

This coffee can is made of very fine translucent and white porcelain, and it has a nice kinked handle. It has a very simple but sophisticated decoration of a gilt "shark teeth" rim, three little sprigs on the sides, and some gilding on the handle which nicely brings out the kink.

 

CONDITION REPORT The cup is in excellent antique condition without any damage, crazing or significant wear. There is a little chip off the footrim, but this seems to be from production.

 

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 6.6cm (2.5") diameter and 6.1cm (2.4") high.

 

SHIPPING I ship worldwide from the UK. 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. Please note that due to the pandemic shipping costs have generally gone up steeply, and although I use only the most reliable couriers, there can sometimes be some delays.

Thomas Wolfe Factory Z orphaned coffee can, white and gilt, ca 1800

SKU: A-WOL01
£75Price
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Covid-19 - we are open for business! 

We can ship normally to most destinations, but some are currently closed.

For the time being we have had to raise shipping prices as shippers are now charging more.

As we are living under lock down and can't always reach our stock, lead times will be a little longer than usual.

For now, please bear with us as we do our best to get your parcels to you as quickly as we can! 

If needed we are happy to hold your parcel for you until the end of the pandemic.

Please feel free to contact us to discuss and thank you for your business - it is a vital support for our business! 🙏

We will be away for our annual holiday from 6 to 20 September, but please feel free to shop and order items! We will answer your messages although probably with some delay. We will be able to ship all orders made before the close of 3 September immediately, orders after that time will be shipped when shipments resume after 21 September. 

© 2020 by Gentle Rattle of China - copyright on all images and text

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