Cup thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 56c

Cup

1680-1710 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
By the 1680s British people were consuming three stimulating new beverages: tea, coffee and chocolate. These drinks were very expensive, so small vessels were used. New shapes were invented and made in a variety of materials. The wealthy preferred silver and gold, while the less-affluent used ceramics. The insulating properties of pottery and porcelain made them particularly suitable for warm drinks, although drinking scalding tea or coffee from a cup without a handle could still be uncomfortable. For this reason, handled cups became fashionable.

Place
This cup was made at the Dehua kilns in south-east China. The Dehua kilns were close to ports from which great quantities of goods were shipped to the West. For several hundred years prior to the late 17th century they had made teawares for the domestic market. Because of their trade links they were also skilled at copying strange foreign shapes.

Time
The shape of this cup is very similar to capuchines (coffee cups) made by English pottery firms in the 1680s and 1690s.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Porcelain, with moulded lotus flower pattern
Brief Description
Chinese cup
Dimensions
  • Height: 6.2cm
  • Including handle width: 7.9cm
  • Mouth diameter: 6.4cm
Dimensions checked: Measured; 23/04/1999 by sp
Style
Gallery Label
British Galleries: CUPS FROM JAPAN AND CHINA
The colourful cup is in the traditional Japanese shape, with no handle. By the 1680s British makers were producing cups with handles for drinking the new beverages, tea, coffee and chocolate. The white cup was made in China in response to European demand for cups with handles. It looks plain compared to the Japanese cup. However, the pure creamy quality of Chinese porcelain was very appealing to Europeans.(27/03/2003)
Object history
Made at the Dehua kilns in Fujian Province, China
Summary
Object Type
By the 1680s British people were consuming three stimulating new beverages: tea, coffee and chocolate. These drinks were very expensive, so small vessels were used. New shapes were invented and made in a variety of materials. The wealthy preferred silver and gold, while the less-affluent used ceramics. The insulating properties of pottery and porcelain made them particularly suitable for warm drinks, although drinking scalding tea or coffee from a cup without a handle could still be uncomfortable. For this reason, handled cups became fashionable.

Place
This cup was made at the Dehua kilns in south-east China. The Dehua kilns were close to ports from which great quantities of goods were shipped to the West. For several hundred years prior to the late 17th century they had made teawares for the domestic market. Because of their trade links they were also skilled at copying strange foreign shapes.

Time
The shape of this cup is very similar to capuchines (coffee cups) made by English pottery firms in the 1680s and 1690s.
Collection
Accession Number
3587-1901

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record createdMarch 27, 2003
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