Coffee Cup, probably Seth Pennington, Liverpool, soft paste porcelain, c.1780-90


This interesting Liverpool coffee cup is printed in underglaze blue with a rustic scene depicting a milkmaid and a woodcutter in courtship beneath a tree. His hound stands to the right of the design and two of the milkmaid's horned cows are to the left. A third cow is on a separately applied print beside the handle. A print of three daisy-like flowers appears beneath the handle, and there is a painted border of two narrow blue lines inside the rim. The handle is of a simple rolled form and the sides of the cup taper to an everted rim, creating an almost bell-shape profile.

Known as the Rural Lovers pattern, this Liverpool design appears on Philip Christian wares, as well as those of John and also Seth Pennington.

Watney illustrates a similar John Pennington cup with this pattern and a rolled handle (Liverpool Porcelain, fig. 302). Hillis also illustrates a Seth Rural Lovers mug and there are obvious similarities there too (10.139), although the woodcutter's hat appears to be unlike that of both John and Seth. The mug does however have a print of the rare Three Daisy Spray beneath the handle, which is an interesting link to this cup and a signifier of a Seth Pennington manufacture, although both men appear to have produced wares with rolled handles.

Condition: Very good - no damage or restoration, just some light crazing to the glaze with a little associated discolouration to the short craze lines around the rim. The glaze has pooled blue inside the footrim. There are traces of kiln grit to the inside base of the cup, from manufacture.

Dimensions: Height 6.5 cm

Liverpool Porcelain 1756-1804, Maurice Hillis (2011).

Liverpool Porcelain of the Eighteenth Century, Bernard M. Watney, Richard Dennis (1997).


Click on thumbnail above to see larger image