This is a rare and beautiful chocolate cup with a lid made by Worcester around 1775 in their First or the "Dr Wall" period.


Worcester was one of the first potteries in Britain to create items in porcelain. Alongside other great potteries such as Derby, Chelsea and Bow, they pioneered a new industry that would grow out to be huge in the following century. This cup and saucer are from the first period, which is often called the "Dr Wall" period after its founder. In later years Worcester went through many different ownerships and styles, and ultimately it became the Royal Worcester factory that only finished operation in the early 21st Century.


Chocolate cups were to feed well-to-do ladies while they were being helped by their servants with their toilette. In the age of complicated dresses, lots of make up and very complex coiffure, this could take several hours and the hungry lady would survive on chocolate milk and snacks. The reason a chocolate cup has two handles is that it makes it safer for a sleepy person to pick it up; the lid is to protect it from the odd cloud powder or make up.


This chocolate cup with cover is potted in early porcelain; it has a slightly cream/grey hue as it contains no or very little bone ash. The shape is a classic wasted Worcester chocolate cup shape with two wonderful handles; this closely resembles Chinese items from the 18th Century. The cover has a flower for a finial.


The design is an imitation of the Japanese Kakiemon style, which usually contains garden scenes in very finely painted bright red and green. This pattern is called "wheat sheaf", as you can see the wheat sheafs in one of the images. The set has a blue scale ground, and you can clearly see why this is called "blue scale"; it consists of a pattern that looks like fish scales. This is to hide the fact that at the time they were not able yet to create a smooth blue ground; this way the fact that the blue colour, applied under the glaze, was runny (or "flow blue") is nicely taken advantage of. The gilding on this pattern is extraordinarily fine, as are the images.


The cup is marked with the underglaze flow blue "fret" mark, itself an imitation of Japanese marks.


CONDITION REPORT The cup has had an extensive professional repair to the body, which is not really visible but can be felt by the finger touching the surface; a large chunk has been broken off but has been placed back and carefully pasted over on the inside to make it invisible. Both handles have been broken off and has been put back; this has also been done very well and is not visible with the naked eye, and both handles are originals. The cover also has been pasted over on the inside, presumably to hide a crack as I cannot detect a break. The finial has some tiny chips. All restorations are only visible under UV light and have been done to the highest standard, but the cup cannot be used for liquids anymore.


Antique British porcelain is never perfect. Kilns were fired on coal, 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 14cm (5.5") wide incl both handles; 13cm (5.2") high incl. finial.


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.

Worcester lidded chocolate cup, blue scale Kakiemon Wheat Sheaf, ca 1775

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