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Tea cups talking: French tea cup and saucer circa 1920



Breakfast Cup and Saucer Porcelain, transfer-decorated. Sarreguemines factory, France Circa 1900 – 1920
Breakfast Cup and Saucer, porcelain, transfer-decorated, Sarreguemines factory, France, circa 1900 – 1920


“You English, you think you know everything to do with tea. And yet the very word that describes my pattern should give it away,  Chinoiserie. A French word adopted by you to describe the European view of the imaginary world of China. Despite adopting the drink of China as your own, it is the French aesthetic, unsurprisingly, that can accurately describe a sensibility beyond the understanding of you rost-bifs.

“Look at my luscious willow blooms drooping over the exotic pagodas, the red wooden bridge that arcs over the limpid waters, the fisherman in the foreground and the camelias  nestling at the side of the internal rim pattern.

“I am a breakfast cup, the one used for a leisurely levée. My colours may be unusual in pinks but I am here and I have my place. I am porcelain, French porcelain, a material that you English never really mastered preferring the easy option of bone china to churn out your mass produced offerings decorated with banal images of flowers, endless flowers to represent an English style. How do you see the form of the cup if you plaster it with copies of nature – or perhaps that’s what you want, to disguise the vessel, to submerge it in a bower of flowers and distract your attention from the tea itself. The feast of the eyes to provide the flavour, and atmosphere, as you continue your non-verbal dialogue of one-upmanship.”

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