This beautiful dessert service serving 10 was made by Charles Wileman/Shelley between 1895 and 1914. It consists of one high tazza, two low tazzas and ten plates. The set is printed with the "Japan Blue" pattern, a beautiful Imari pattern in cobalt blue, red and gilt. The shape is called "Empire" and this was one of Wileman's Art Nouveau shapes of the turn of the Century.


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 Empire shape is sought after for its dignity and grace with its gently flowing shapes.


Wileman created many Imari style patterns, inspired by Japanese teaware that went through a revival after Britain restored trade links with Japan in the 1860s. Imari is the name of the Japanese port that exported porcelain - it is also a girls' name with the meaning "Daughter of Tomorrow"! This decoration is a typical British version of imari; a beautiful mixture of a finely applied transfer pattern in red, a background in deep cobalt blue, and very elaborate hand painted gilding on top of the glaze. The flowers used are extravagant oriental flowers: a hibiscus, a chrysanthemum and a form of large daisy. The combination of the roughly applied cobalt blue, very finely etched red transfer pattern and hand applied gilt gives a wonderful layered depth to the decoration.


This service was assembled over time: the tazzas and one plate are marked with the green Wileman mark; five plates are marked with the red Wileman mark; and four plates are marked with the slightly later green Shelley Late Foley mark. All items are marked with the pattern number 6664.


CONDITION REPORT There are some very minor losses to the service: one low tazza has a crack through the middle and is crazed, however it still looks bright and is good for use; one low tazza has a small chip off the underside of the rim that is not visible when in position; of the ten plates, five are crazed and one has a chip that was gilded over during production. Some of the crazed items have slight discolouration in the centre, but none of them badly so. There is light wear throughout, but the services seems to have been used very little and looks absolutely stunning and bright.


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: high comport 11cm (") high and 22cm (") diameter; medium comport 8cm (") high and 22.5cm (") diameter; low comport cm (2.5") high and 23cm (9") diameter; plate sizes differ between cm and cm (8.75" and 9") diameter.


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.

Wileman dessert service, Japan patt. 6664,1895-1914

  • 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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