This beautiful and rare soft paste porcelain tea cup and saucer with the "London" handle is in excellent condition. It dates c. 1812-1835. There are no chips, no visible cracks, no crazing, and no repairs. The cup rings when tapped, the saucer does not ring.
The set was made by the S. & J. Rathbone firm of Tunstall, Staffordshire. The pattern is called "Boy with Tray" according to "Directory of British Teapots" by Berthoud & Maskell. It is shown on page 261, plate 1561.The pattern is also pictured on page 139, plate 184 of Howard Davis' book "Chinoiserie: Polychrome Decoration on Staffordshire Porcelain".
Davis writes: "The style of decoration is characterized by well drawn bold designs...using deep, vivid enamel colors, which can be regarded as a "trademark" of the factory". The cobalt blue underglaze of this set is so dark that it looks almost black in my photos.
The cup and saucer which he shows is marked with the pattern number 352, the same as this set. The "R" in a sunburst" mark of the company is smeared on the base of this cup. The S. & J. Rathbone company operated from 1812 to 1835. Information about this company is so recent that it is not mentioned in Godden's marks book.
The cup is 6 cm (2-3/8") high, the saucer diameter is 14.2 cm (5-5/8").
Note: I also have for sale on Ruby Lane another cup and saucer by Rathbone in the "Tea House" pattern,