Here is a very intriguing pair of cups and saucers, not much of a design, but obviously from the same set. The key thing here is that one set is bone china and the other is porcelain. You can probably see the slight color difference when they’re side by side, but it really takes a close look to see the differences. One set has a finely crackled glaze, the other has a clear glaze. One set rings brightly when tapped, the other has a very subdued ring. The design is identical in every way, so I’m sure these were part of a single tea service that was made up from a mix of porcelain and bone china blanks. Sometimes the broken pieces of a set were copied to make replacements some years after the set was originally made. That’s not the case here, since the sets were painted by the same worker. The switch from porcelain to bone china must have occurred at this particular factory just when this set was being made, and the workers didn’t see any reason to keep them separate. Either that, or one factory bought the unsold stock of another factory and put them into its own production line. All in all, a great example of a key transition point in the history of English ceramics.
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