This is a very rare Wileman tea service consisting of a teapot, four demitasse tea cups and saucers, a milk jug and a sugar bowl. The set was made in or shortly after 1889 and would originally have come on a matching tray as a "cabaret set". It was made in the famous Alexandra shape and printed in the wonderful "Japan Red" pattern, which is an Imari pattern.

 

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 Alexandra shape is without doubt one of the most sought after, eccentric and amazing shapes Wileman ever produced. It is quatrefoil (square), intensely fluted, and drinks surprisingly well.

 

The Japan Red pattern on the Alexandra shape was registered in 1889. It is one of the many "Imari" style patterns that Wileman brought out in the 1880 and 1890s, inspired by the Japanese style in a colour scheme that usually includes orange, black, cobalt blue and gilt. This one consists just of various shades of deep orange, creating a wonderfully firy effect.

 

All items carry the famous large Wileman mark in red, with hand painted in gold on each item the registration number 4024.

 

CONDITION REPORT The set is in excellent antique condition with hardly any wear and no significant damage. Most items have some degree of crazing, but none of them very visible and they all look wonderfully bright and white. The teapot is perfect; one of the tea cups has an extremely light and hardly visible hairline in the bottom (see picture); one of the saucers has a very fine and also hardly visible hairline (see picture); and the sugar bowl has some discolouration in the bottom, but I can't detect any hairlines so it seems structurally sound (see picture). There is very little rubbing to the gilt and there are no chips or other defects.

 

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 (diameter at the widest point): to be added, please feel free to contact me.

 

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.

Rare Wileman tea service, Japan Red patt. 4024, 1889

SKU: A-WIL186
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