This is a French hard paste porcelain tea set, similar in style to the white ware production of Paris, or perhaps Limoges. The age is 19th century, and is signed by the person who gifted the set in 1893 on the bottom of one piece.
The set consists of a teapot, sugar and creamer (or milk jug pitcher.) The teapot is 8 ½” high and 8” wide. The sugar is 6 ½” high and 5 ½” wide. The pitcher is 6” high and 4 ¾” wide.
The blank is unusual and quite beautiful. One friend suggested that each piece is meant to convey the impression of a basket, and that is why the handles show ridges like bamboo and go over the top, and are carried like a basket. The bellies are low, so the bodies of each piece are wider than is typically seen. The rims are wavy or ruffled.
The insides and bottom are glazed white, the pure white one is used to seeing on fine French porcelain china.
The outsides are unglazed, or bisque, and are painted professionally. Since the pieces are unsigned as to maker and decorator, it is most likely the pieces were decorated in the Woman’s Art Movement in the United States.
The flowers on the tea set are beautiful pansies, outlined in raised gold enamel, and the petals are sweetly colored in buttery yellow with strokes of purple and green. The stems and leaves are green, and the veins of the leaves are painted in gold. The pansies curl around the sides of each piece.
The handles and finials are gilded in gold trim. The gold trim goes down the sides from the handles. The spout is gilded also. The bottom edges have the same gold trim. There is some rubbing wear to the finials, and a little bit elsewhere. There is a thin line of gold trim around the top edge.
The lid of the pot has a steam hole. There is a strainer inside for the spout, to hold the tea leaves inside the pot.
There is a flaw under the spout of the creamer and I show it in one photo, outlined in red. There are no other chips, cracks or crazing. There is some rubbing wear to the outside bisque, meaning it needs to be cleaned a bit more than I did.
The underside of the sugar has “Xmas 1893” hand written in gold. The bottom of the sugar jar, and the pot, have an incised number 2, mostly filled in with glaze. The Paris and Limoges porcelain makers numbered their blanks in the 19th century with incised, impressed or printed numbers.