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Cup and saucer

Cup and saucer

  • Place of origin:

    Etruria (made)
    Liverpool (printed)

  • Date:

    ca. 1775 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Green, Guy, born 1729 - died 1803 (decorator)
    Josiah Wedgwood and Sons (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Creamware, transfer-printed in purple enamel

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Lady Charlotte Schreiber

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 145, case 50 []

Wedgwood's elegant service illustrates two of the key contributions that eighteenth-century Britain made to ceramic history: creamware, a type of white earthenware, and transfer-printing, an invention that revolutionized ceramic production worldwide.

As a material, creamware had several advantages over porcelain and its other rivals. It was cheap to make; it was strengthened with calcined flint, which made it durable and encouraged thin potting; and the colour and smooth glaze made it hygienic and suitable for eating and drinking. Developed in Staffordshire during the 1740s and 1750s, creamware was perfected by Josiah Wedgwood in the 1760s. It proved enormously popular, remaining in production until the 1820s, and was exported throughout the world.

Creamware was attractive when left plain, but it provided an excellent background for restrained enamel painting or for on-glaze transfer-printing of the type shown here. Transfer-printing over the glaze involved printing a design onto a layer of gelatin (animal glue), which was then applied to the body of the ware, thus transferring the design. The revolutionary importance of the technique was that it enabled manufacturers to achieve high-quality decoration at a relatively low cost, for although engravers put much work into the printing plates, the actual decoration of the wares could be carried out by less skilled hands.

Physical description

Cup and saucer of earthenware transfer-printed with purple enamel over the glaze. Moulded below the rim with a shell-pattern. Printed with exotic birds in landscapes.

Place of Origin

Etruria (made)
Liverpool (printed)


ca. 1775 (made)


Green, Guy, born 1729 - died 1803 (decorator)
Josiah Wedgwood and Sons (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Creamware, transfer-printed in purple enamel

Object history note

Companion piece to 414:1157/&A-1885 (Sch. II 408&A).

Descriptive line

Cup and saucer of earthenware transfer-printed with purple enamel over the glaze and moulded, Josiah Wedgwood and Sons Ltd., Etruria, printed in Liverpool by Guy Green, ca. 1775.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Wills, Geoffrey. Wedgwood. Feltham : Country Life Books, 1980. Pl. 14.




Transfer printed; Gilded

Subjects depicted

Flowers; Shell (motif); Birds


Ceramics; Earthenware; Creamware & Pearlware


Ceramics Collection

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