A Worcester Coffee Cup and Saucer, circa 1758-65

The slightly earlier saucer is transfer-printed over the glaze in black with the Milkmaid at Gate engraving, in which a young gentleman leans against a gate whilst conversing with a milkmaid, a pail balanced on top of her head. In the distance can be seen two churches surrounded by houses, whilst a farm dwelling and a haystack can be seen beyond the field behind the gentleman. The coffee cup is printed with the Milkmaids, a pattern that also features maids carrying wooden pails on their heads.

Contemporary records refer to this mode of black printed decoration as ‘jet enamelled’.

A similar design appears above the title of the song ‘Jenny‘, sung by a Mr. Morgan at Vauxhall Gardens, in ‘Clio and Euterpe, or British Harmony: A Collection of Celebrated Songs and Cantatas‘ (published by Henry Roberts in 1758). Although the composition on the song-sheet is essentially the same, ‘Jenny’ is not a milkmaid but a finely dressed lady holding a fan, and the gentleman is leaning against a fence, not a gate.


Provenance: The Walton Temple Collection.

Condition: Good – no chips, cracks or restoration. The saucer is very slightly misshapen, but the prints are generally good on both pieces.

Dimensions: Saucer – Diameter 11.9 cm

Worcester Porcelain 1751-1790: The Zorensky Collection, Simon Spero & John Sandon (Antique Collectors’ Club, 1996).

Penny Plain, Twopence Coloured: Transfer Printing on English Ceramics 1750-1850, Pat Halfpenny, Ed. (1994).

Bow Porcelain: On-glaze Prints and their Sources, Gordon & Sue Guy-Jones (English Ceramic Circle, 2013).