Cup plates are coasters for tea cups, which came into common use during the first half of the 19th century in the United States. They were used to protect furniture from marks left by tea cups by providing a coaster for the cup. The tea was often too hot and was poured into a saucer to cool before consumption. Many tea cups, at the time, had no handles. In order to drink the tea from the saucer two hands were required which made it necessary to put down the cup. Cup plates provided a spot to put the cup, and were part of the table setting or scattered about the parlor during tea parties.
This wonderful Staffordshire blue transfer-ware cup plate, circa 1840's, features birds of paradise, fruit, butterflies and a multitude of various floral blossoms. The border is decorated with delicate scrolls and floral groupings. The cup plate measures 3 3/4" across and is faintly stamped an with an unidentified mark on the back, There are no cracks, chips or repairs; near mint.
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