These are two beautiful Crown Derby imari breakfast cups dating back to some time between 1800 and 1825. They are big and heavy cups, good for a large dose of hot tea in the morning. Both cups are in excellent condition although one is much more worn than the other. But there is a story to this...


I purchased these cups from the descendants of a pioneering industrial leader of the British Industrial Revolution in the early 19th Century and it was certain that this was among his personal belongings as they had been packed away in an attic ever since he died. He provided the first industrially manufactured linseed oil to projects such as Locomotion 1, the first steam locomotive to carry passengers on a public rail line in 1825, and a few years later in 1831, Sir James Clark Ross' journey to locate the Northern Magnetic Pole. It is safe to assume that this gentleman would have been sipping his morning tea from the cup that is most worn, but as the cup is very large and quite heavy, his wife would have preferred a somewhat smaller cup, so the other cup never got worn as much.


The cups were made by the Crown Derby factory , later called Royal Crown Derby. Crown Derby was one of the most prominent potteries right from the start of English porcelain production in the late 1700s to the demise of the industry in the 1960s. Their items are of exceptionally high quality and many of the designs have become iconic. The marking at the bottom of the cups and saucers are hand painted in red, which means the sets were produced some time between 1800 and 1825. Both sets carry the pattern number 45, and one of them also mentions a number 20. Both designs are identical but obviously painted by a different hand, so another explanation for the difference in wear they received is that they were bought in different years. The pattern is a beautiful Imari pattern painted freely from the hand in red, bright green, cobalt blue and gilt. Everything about these cups is handwork; one of the cups even has a slight dent in its roundness (near the cup handle) as it must have been under a bit of pressure in the kiln.


CONDITION REPORT The sets are in excellent antique condition and all items ring nicely when tapped. However, on one set the gilding and to a lesser degree the pattern is quite worn, while the other set is only slightly worn. The set that is less worn has a crack in the saucer, only visible from the underside (mainly due to the heavy pattern on the face of the saucer, which hides the crack), however the saucer does ring true, which means the structure is still strong. Both items still have a wonderful colour and the porcelain is white and has not lost its whiteness.


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 (diameters): cup 11cm (4 1/4"), saucer 16cm (6 1/4").


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.

Two Crown Derby breakfast cups, Imari pattern ca 1800-1825

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


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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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