I have featured beautiful Coalport dessert services painted by Cecil Jones before (and see a previous blog post here) - and I am pleased to have a new one! As I have been studying the different flower painters of Coalport carefully and started to recognise their styles, Cecil Jones has probably become my favourite. He was one of the foremost flower painters at Coalport and he liked to give flowers absolute prominence. His flowers are not just decoration; they are like portraits. Each flower takes centre stage and is painted in all its glory. They aren't always "nice"; they can have an almost ominous depth of purple, or a cruel shade of red: uncompromising but glorious. At the same time, the passion flowers and ranunculae are almost transparent.
The reason this happened is that it is marked with two impressed anchors on the back. The impressed anchor is of course the famous Davenport mark, so it was entirely reasonable to identify it as Davenport. But what is less well-known is that Coalport used exactly the same anchor for a few years in the early 1820s, creating endless confusion for all future generations of porcelain lovers. For some reason the use by Coalport is omitted in the main porcelain mark reference books, so it is often not noticed. Add to this that both factories used very similar heavy porcelain at the time, and the confusion is complete!
Except that the flowers just screamed out to me: Cecil Jones. So I went into my picture archive and compared, and found all the similar signs of the way the foliage was painted, and the little rose buds, and the stamens of the passion flower. And then, finally, I found a picture of the shape of the serving dishes in the main Coalport reference book by Michael Messenger, a prominent Coalport researcher who was known to never cut corners with his work.
So all that being said... have a look at this stunning service! It is in a very beautiful red that is somewhere between maroon and deep red (the online pictures stubbornly reflect the red more than the maroon), with thick generous gilt rims, and those gorgeous flowers, each one unique. There are two round one-handled serving dishes, one square dish, and ten plates. And it is in near-perfect and entirely usable condition!
You can find this beauty here in my shop, and you can see all my dinner and dessert services here. If you always want to see the latest additions, follow me on Instagram... I post pictures and a story every single day!
Happy weekend, and look out for the flowers today! 🌸🌿🥀☕🌹
This week's new treasures: