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Fans, flowers or mons?

Happy Saturday! In a world in turmoil and difficulty, let's focus on some beauty - as beauty always gives us strength and that can only help in these chaotic times. Today I am showing another beautiful Asian-inspired item: a little coffee cup and saucer made by Worcester in about 1770.

When I say "made by Worcester" that is relative; this cup and saucer were potted by the Worcester Porcelain Company and then painted in the decoration studio of James Giles, an incredibly talented decorator in London who decorated many wares for several factories and did many items for Worcester. The way we know it is by James Giles is the mark on the saucer: a fake Meissen mark that was applied under the glaze by Worcester before the items were sent off to the Giles studio. ⁠ ⁠

This pattern is called "Old Scarlet Japan" and it is inspired by the Japanese Kakiemon patterns from the Arita area. The Kakiemon style usually consists of very delicate garden scenes with flowers, trees and birds executed with a very fine brush in scarlet red, yellow, green and sometimes gilt. It was a very popular style in Europe at the time that much of the porcelain was imported from Japan. Eventually, as Japan closed its borders, the Chinese started to imitate these, and once Europeans started to make their own porcelain in the 18th Century, the Kakiemon style was one of the first styles they started to copy. So this style is also called "Chinoiserie" even though actually it is Japanese-inspired.

This beautiful set has brightly scarlet-coloured panels in the shape of a cross, with a round shape inside. The white reserves are filled with very fine Kakiemon paintings of trees and flowers. There is a delicate lattice-pattern of gilt over the scarlet panels.

Nobody seems to be able to agree what the round shapes on the scarlet panels are; some say they are flowers, some call them "diapers" (no, not the baby diapers you are thinking of... but diaper is a term for a folded and/or round shape!), some say they are open fans. Another term, which I think makes the most sense (although that doesn't make it any more certain) is "mon", which is a Japanese word that roughly translates as "emblem". A "kamon" identifies a family, and the Imperial kamon looks just like the ones on this coffee set, and it is a stylised chrysanthemum. ⁠ ⁠

Whatever you think is the explanation, this little set is absolutely beautiful. It is no wonder then that it was sold within minutes of it going up on my website... but I will have another one very soon, so if you are interested please let me know, or check back on the website next week!

You can find other similar items here in my shop. You can see all my cups and saucers here, and all my Chinoiserie items 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, have some coffee, and #keepsafe! 😷🦾❤️🖤


This week's new treasures:​



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