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This is a teacup and saucer made by the Herculaneum pottery in Liverpool between about 1800 and 1815.
The Herculaneum pottery was based in Liverpool and operated between 1793 and 1841. It produced very high quality and well designed creamware, pearlware and in the 19th Century also porcelain. The pottery relied on an excellent workforce imported from Staffordshire, which explains how it was able to produce top quality items in a relatively short period. The name of the factory was inspired by the recent excavations in Pompeii and Herculaneum, and the pottery obviously competed with the newly opened "Etruria" kiln owned by Wedgwood.
This set is made in very early porcelain. You can tell from the greyish colour that this is still hybrid hard paste porcelain, which was used prior to the standardisation of bone china, which is whiter. The cup is shaped in the "bute" shape, which was prevalent at the time. It is decorated in underglaze blue. The shapes of the white flowers are, rather than painted on, left out of the blue, creating a very interesting, slightly layered effect. Gilt patterns and details are applied on top of the glaze. It has a nicely gilded ring handle.
CONDITION REPORT The items are in good condition, although there is an old star crack to the bottom of the cup. This is mainly visible on the underside and hardly visible on the inside; the cup is otherwise stable and is still good for (careful) use. There is light rubbing on the saucer. Other than this, there is very little wear.
Antique British porcelain is never perfect. Kilns were fired on coal in the 1800s and early 1900s, and this meant that china from that period can have some firing specks from flying particles. British makers were also known for their experimentation, and sometimes this resulted in technically imperfect results. Due to the shrinkage in the kiln, items can have small firing lines or develop crazing over time, which should not be seen as damage but as an imperfection of the maker's recipes, probably unknown at the time of making. Items have often been used for many years and can have normal signs of wear, and gilt can have signs of slight disintegration even if never handled. I will reflect any damage, repairs, obvious stress marks, crazing or heavy wear in the item description but some minor scratches, nicks, stains and gilt disintegration can be normal for vintage items and need to be taken into account. There is widespread confusion on the internet about the difference between chips and nicks, or hairlines and cracks. I will reflect any damage as truthfully as I can, i.e. a nick is a tiny bit of damage smaller than 1mm and a chip is something you can easily see with the eye; a glazing line is a break in the glazing only; hairline is extremely tight and/or superficial and not picked up by the finger; and a crack is obvious both to the eye and the finger. Etcetera - I try to be as accurate as I can and please feel free to ask questions or request more detailed pictures!
DIMENSIONS teacup 8.5cm (3.5") diameter; saucer 13.5cm (5 1/4").
SHIPPING I ship worldwide from the UK, mostly by Royal Mail 2nd Class for the UK and International Tracked and Signed for the rest of the world. I am happy to combine shipping charges on multiple items - please contact me to discuss. In principle I do not make a profit on shipping although for simplicity's sake I charge flat shipping fees. If the fee charged greatly exceeds the actual cost I will gladly refund you the difference - at the same time if it is slightly lower I will gladly make up the difference. In some countries shipping will end up significantly more than the expected fees and I will contact you to discuss our options. PLEASE CONTACT ME FOR ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING SHIPPING COSTS AND OPTIONS.
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