It is weekend, and haven't we all deserved a very large cup of tea or coffee? That's what breakfast cups were invented for: extra large tea or coffee cups. And no, it's not just IKEA that came with this; they've always been around!
These three stunning breakfast cups were made in China in the late 19th Century for export to the West. Interestingly they were made in the very English "London" shape, which wasn't made in England anymore at that time.
This is Canton porcelain, which distinguishes itself in the type of colourful enamel painting you see on this set; it became very popular during the 18th and 19th Centuries. Canton is the Western name for the city of Guangzhou, which for many years was the only port for porcelain export to the West. These wares were generally produced in the city of Jingdezhen and then decorated for export to the West in 13 factories located on the banks of the Pearl River near Guangzhou, after which they were shipped out.
These sets are lightly potted in greyish porcelain and they have exuberant and expertly hand painted decorations in colourful enamels. The decoration consists of garden scenes with figures enjoying themselves in a beautiful garden of rocks, flowers and trees, the rims consisting of flowers, birds and butterflies.
They are talking, playing music, playing board games, reading, and one rather large fellow is lying down while his servant fans him. The detail of the paintwork is exceptional; look for instance at how the flower petals have some definition, making the flowers "pop"; how the faces of the people consist of pink shades with the forehead and nose left blank in order to give the face the appearance of reflecting the light; and how the folds of the clothing have been picked out in dark colours. There is a sparing and nicely blended-in use of gilt, only applied to pick out the definition of the images.
These three sets are very rare in their quality and perfection - they have no damage whatsoever and very little wear. You can find them here in my shop, and you can see all my cups and saucers here. If you always want to see the latest additions, follow me on Instagram... I post pictures and a story every single day!