Beginning in the 1840's, English potters began to ship white ironstone ceramic ware to the U.S., decorated with copper lustre bands and/or simple motifs, made exclusively for the American market. Anthony Shaw is considered to have produced the original tea leaf motif, registered in 1856. The tea leaf motif was made by dozens of English and American potters until the beginning of the 20th century.
This pair of ironstone tea leaf cups and saucers were made by the Alfred Meakin Company, England, circa 1875-1897. In 1897 'Ltd' was added to the company name. The saucers are marked, one with 'Ltd' and one without; the cups are unmarked. The saucers measure 5 3/4" across; the cups measure 3 1/2" across the top and 2 7/8" in height. There are no cracks or repairs; near mint.