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What's for breakfast?

I often hear from people that they would never want to drink their tea or coffee from an antique cup, because the cups are too small. Nowadays we are used to large mugs, so I understand it can be a bit of a change to drink from a small antique cup.

But this is where the breakfast cup comes in. Although much less common than the normal small size, porcelain factories have always produced extra large cups, which we call breakfast cups. These cups were meant for milky tea or coffee, presumably for breakfast. Today I am showing a few wonderful and entirely different breakfast cups.

The first one is a set including a small plate for your croissant or muffin, made by Bloor Derby in about 1825. This one is clearly for tea, given that the cup is low and wide. Tea cools down slowly and has a generous fragrance, so is best served in a wide cup. This one has a beautiful pattern in the Neoclassical style, with cobalt blue, gilt and little pink flowers.

The second one is entirely different and could also be for coffee. It was made by Swansea some time between 1817 and 1824, and has a gracious Regency shape. This shape is interesting as it is barely documented: it's not exactly a bell shape, nor a bucket shape, nor an Empire shape, and it has a striking handle popping over the rim. And the decoration, of course, is most splendid! Swansea had many amazing decorators, many of them trained up by William Billingsley, and excelled at this type of decoration with flowing, natural flowers and very lively birds.

What is further very special about Swansea porcelain is the quality; it is extremely white, hard and translucent, thanks to William Billingsley's work at the factory for a few years. Swansea porcelain is rare and extremely desired, so this cup and saucer are a real find and come at a premium.

Then there is a third one, which comes together with a normal sized teacup, both sharing one saucer. This one is again made by Swansea, and this time in the celebrated "Paris Fluted" style in a very restrained white with simple gilt. This was a very popular style at the time, and again shows a French influence.

There is another double set: made by Samuel Alcock in about 1835, this set has a breakfast coffee cup and a normal size coffee cup, each with their own saucer. What is charming about this set is that the pattern has been applied differently to the coffee cup and the breakfast cup.

And lastly, we have one more, made by Samuel Alcock a little later, in about 1830. This is a very generous one in peacock blue and gilt, and it has the characteristic "pinched" handle that Samuel Alcock made at the time. This set is looking very manly indeed.

Where to find things

You can find these cups, and many others, here in my shop. All my available stock can be found here. If you always want to see the latest additions, follow me on Instagram... I post pictures and a story several times a week.

Happy weekend, and have some breakfast in style!


This week's treasures:​



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