This elusive Bone China teacup and saucer by Imperial China, England is done in rich Cobalt Blue with Gold overlay and a transfer Portrait center. This unique teacup and saucer set appears to tell a story. The gorgeous 1-inch wide cobalt blue rim is covered with an overlay of gold vines and foliage and frames a scene of an Asian couple in traditional dress. The saucer depicts a couple in robes of violet and blue who seem to be fleeing from something unseen. The man looks to be carrying a dark-colored object. Trees and mountains in the background complete the scene. The matching cup has the blue rim inside with a complimentary scene in the bottom. This is a different couple in traditional kimonos of dusty pink and lime green. The young man holds a bird for the lady to admire. An open birdcage rests between the couple, and the same trees and mountains form the backdrop. Both pieces have a tiny rectangular Asian character mark to the left of the scene. Perhaps this is a signature. A narrow gold band rings the outside of the cup. The scalloped rims, the handle of the cup, and the 3/8-inch high foot are also gilded.
The teacup measures 2-1/8 inches tall at the rim, with the handle extending another 1/4-inch above the rim. It is 3-7/8 inches in diameter across the scalloped rim with another inch for the handle and stands on a 2-inch gilded foot. The matching saucer is 5-1/2 inches in diameter. It is stamped in black with the words “Finest Bone China Imperial Made in England” framed by a laurel wreath. There is a letter I following the mark on the saucer, and the letter N on the cup. Both pieces have additional artist’s marks in gold.
This lovely set was made by Wm. Hulme, England, under the trade name Imperial China, England circa the 1950s.
Though the rim of the cup feels a tiny bit rough, this appears to be a manufacturing flaw in the glaze rather than damage. There are no other condition issues. Even the lavish gold detail shows little to no wear.
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