Coffee Cup thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Coffee Cup

ca. 1790 (made)
Place of origin

This coffee or chocolate cup belongs to a set which includes one teacup and one saucer. In the eighteenth century it was usual for one saucer to 'double-up' for different cup types.This was facilitated by the lack of a well in the saucer, which was only introduced in the first quarter of the nineteenth century.

The set is of pearlware. Pearlware is a term that covers a wide range of wares and does not have an easily definable linear history. One view is that 'pearlware' was developed by Josiah Wedgwood and marketed in 1779. The ware he produced was basically a creamware body, modified to make it whiter by the inclusion of china clay, which was then covered with a glaze containing some china stone. Most importantly a small quantity of cobalt was added to the glaze, which gave it a blueish tint. It is this cobalt blue glaze over a whitish body which is regarded as the most distinctive feature of pearlware. Often the glaze can appear quite blue in areas where it has collected, such as around foot rings, or at the base of handles. Although technically 'pearlware' can be decorated in a number of ways the term is usually only used to refer to pieces decorated in underglaze blue.

Object details

Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
earthenware, moulded and painted
Brief description
Coffee or chocolate cup, pearlware, Staffordshire, about 1790, part of a set
Physical description
Coffee or chocolate cup, earthenware (pearlware) with painted underglaze blue decoration of scolling foliage around body and wavy band on inner rim.
Dimensions
  • Height: 6.3cm
  • Including handle width: 9cm
  • Diameter: 6.4cm
checked 18/02/2009
Production typeMass produced
Credit line
Bequeathed by Algernon Brent
Summary
This coffee or chocolate cup belongs to a set which includes one teacup and one saucer. In the eighteenth century it was usual for one saucer to 'double-up' for different cup types.This was facilitated by the lack of a well in the saucer, which was only introduced in the first quarter of the nineteenth century.

The set is of pearlware. Pearlware is a term that covers a wide range of wares and does not have an easily definable linear history. One view is that 'pearlware' was developed by Josiah Wedgwood and marketed in 1779. The ware he produced was basically a creamware body, modified to make it whiter by the inclusion of china clay, which was then covered with a glaze containing some china stone. Most importantly a small quantity of cobalt was added to the glaze, which gave it a blueish tint. It is this cobalt blue glaze over a whitish body which is regarded as the most distinctive feature of pearlware. Often the glaze can appear quite blue in areas where it has collected, such as around foot rings, or at the base of handles. Although technically 'pearlware' can be decorated in a number of ways the term is usually only used to refer to pieces decorated in underglaze blue.
Associated objects
Collection
Accession number
CIRC.237-1916

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Record createdFebruary 2, 2009
Record URL
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