This Wileman "Empire" shape teacup trio consists of a teacup, saucer and side plate, made by Wileman in or shortly after 1893. The set is printed with the Daisy Sprays pattern in polychrome, which is a very rare design. The flowing shapes of the saucer and the side plate, combined with the proud dignity of the cup with its richly elaborated handle, make it a very stunning set.
Wileman (later renamed Shelley and sometimes called Foley) was one of the most respected manufacturers of fine bone china tea sets in the late 19th and early 20th Century, and many of their products are now collector's items. They made many different shapes of cups and the Empire shape is sought after for its dignity and grace. The handles have wonderful detail to them not only in their shape, but also in the playful application of gilding.
The Daisy Sprays pattern (often confused with the more common Daisy Clusters pattern) on Empire cups was registered in 1893. It is a playful pattern of a bunch of daisy flowers and some flowing ribbons. There are not only flowers - if you look well you will see a swarm of little insects looking for honey! The outline of the pattern was applied from an etching via inked paper in brown onto the raw or biscuit china and then glazed over. The colours were added by hand in enamel, and then the item was fired again. Lastly, the gilding was applied. Wileman was known for their unique approach to design and many of the cups they made surprise us in modern times with their boldness; these cups impress with their gentle serenity and sweetness.
CONDITION REPORT This set is in excellent antique condition with no damage or wear other than some extremely light rubbing to the gilding. The cup is a little crazed and doesn't ring true (but you can't really see the crazing), and the saucer and side plate are almost entirely uncrazed and ring reasonably well when tapped.
Kilns were fired on coal in the late 1800s, and this meant that china from that period can have some firing specks from flying particles. One reason Wileman was able to bring high quality tableware on the market for modest prices is that they decided to pass items with firing specks rather than discarding them and creating costly waste. You will see some of these specks under the glazing of this set.
All items carry the famous large Wileman mark in grey with the pattern registration number 208329 in black. Hand painted in gold on each item is the registration number 5066.
Please note that all items in my shop are of vintage or antique condition. They have often been used for many years and can have normal signs of wear. I will reflect any damage, repairs or heavy wear in the item description but some minor scratches, nicks and stains 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 see with the eye; a hairline runs over the surface glazing but not the body of the item and a crack runs through the body of the item, usually weakening its structure. Etcetera - I try to be as accurate as I can and please feel free to ask questions or request more detailed pictures!
DIMENSIONS (diameter at the widest point): cup 9.2cm, saucer 14.2cm, side plate 18.2cm.
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.