A rare Worcester Coffee Cup painted in the style of Chinese porcelain imitating Meissen decoration, circa 1765-68

Painted with bowing figures standing on rocky shores, tall towers and masted sailing ships beyond them, this coffee cup is decorated in a Chinese style imitating Meissen ‘harbour’ scenes of the 1720s. It is especially rare as so few examples exist in Worcester porcelain with this decoration.

It could have been made as a direct replacement for a Chinese tea service copying Meissen, right down to the imitation Böttger lustre at the top and bottom of the Laub und Bandelwerk cartouches. Also, related decoration is known on Chinese cups painted as blanks in London by independent enamelers, so there is a slight possibility that this cup was also decorated in London.

A Worcester cup with similar decoration was in the Zorensky Collection and sold at Bonhams, London, on 23 February, 2005, lot 87.

Provenance: An English Private Collection. 

Condition: The rim has a short crack, a small chip which may have occurred prior to decoration, and some wear to the gilt line. There is a small chip to the foot rim. This probably occurred when the kiln furniture was removed from the cup after firing, as a small globule of glaze is present near the base. No other damage and no restoration.

Dimensions: Height 5.8 cm 

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

The Early James Giles and his Contemporary London Decorators, Stephen Hanscombe (Stockspring Antiques Publications, 2008).