Rare Childs Porcelain Tea Set
LUCKY BLACK CATS
Germany c 1900
This is a very scarce child's transfer printed and hand painted tea set, circa 1900. Molded of porcelain and cold painted in brilliant shades of green black blue and red.
The set includes:
• Teapot with lid 4-1/2 inches tall • Open Sugar bowl 2-1/8 inches tall • Cream pitcher or milk jug 3 inches tall • Round cup 2-1/8 inches tall, and • Saucer 5-1/2 inches in diameter.
The edges of the pieces are printed with a scalloped green border. The central image on each piece is a pair of black cats with big blue and red bows. The anthropomorphic cats appear in different scenes on each piece acting un-cat like – smoking, knitting, walking with a walking stick -- in the daytime and the nighttime. Each piece bears the legend BON JOUR (good day) or BON SOIR (good evening).
Black cats are a sign of Good Luck in most of Europe and England and little sets like this were playful gifts for children. These cat images are based on the English cat illustrations by Louis Wain. The set has no maker's mark. The set is attributed to a German factory, probably Zell, in the late 19th or very early 20th century. Similar earlier earthenware sets with identical images were made by Bristol Pottery in England and before that by Wemyss, with the permission of Louis Wain. The series pattern at Wemyss and Bristol was attributed to, and often signed by, the ceramic artist George Stewart.
The set is in great condition with no chips cracks or repairs. Age related wear to the green trim and some of the wording but otherwise almost no wear or other signs of age and prior use. A wonderfully whimsical early set. Children's antiques ceramic wares with black cats are quite scarce and highly sought after. Beautifully executed transfer, a delightful example of primitive childrens toys, a delicious celebration of childhood.