A rare and early Worcester Coffee Cup, circa 1754

This coffee cup is exquisitely painted with the Warbler pattern, in which the eponymous bird perches on a reed. Flowering branches emerge from a large rocky outcrop and shade the bird. Perhaps supper for the bird, an insect flies above a fretwork fence. The inside rim is decorated with a trellis and demi-flower head border. The paste and shape of the cup are typical of the ‘Scratch Cross’ period, being finely potted and of a tall U-shape with everted rim. The grooved handle is long and thin, the lower terminal applied just above the base, unlike the more conventional coffee cup shape, where it is applied higher up.

Unusually, the bird in this example is taken from the very rare and earlier Creamboat Warbler pattern (I.C.3). 

The base is marked with an incised line, and there is a workman’s mark beneath the lower handle terminal.

This cup would make an attractive addition to any collection of early blue and white Worcester. 

Condition: Excellent – no chips, cracks or restoration. The painting is exquisite, and has that wonderful grey-blue tone of early Worcester underglaze blue decoration. 

Dimensions: Height 6.5 cm

Worcester Blue and White Porcelain 1751-1790, Branyan, French & Sandon, I.C.4 (Barrie & Jenkins, 1989).