Teacup and saucer

ARTIST / MAKER: Chelsea porcelain factory (manufacturer)
DATE: 1758-1779 (made)
PLACE: England (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Porcelain painted in overglaze enamels and gilt

The Chelsea porcelain factory was founded in London in ca. 1745 and was one of the first factories to produce porcelain on a commercial scale in England. The factory often reinterpreted the designs produced by leading manufacturers in Germany and France and the design on this cup and saucer can be seen on many pieces made by the French factory Sèvres. The combination of the dotted ‘pointillé’ ground, which was fashionable in France from the late 1760s to the 1780s, and the paintings, which imitate antique cameos, demonstrate the factory’s transition from the rococo to the neoclassical style.

A gold anchor mark can be seen on the base of both the cup and saucer which was used at Chelsea during the ‘gold anchor’ period (1758-69). This mark also continued to be used on numerous pieces after the Derby porcelain factory took over the factory in 1770 and up until at least 1779. During the Chelsea-Derby period (1770-84) there was little attempt to distinguish between the products made by the two factories, and marking was probably similarly indiscriminate. The decoration of this piece suggests that it was produced during the Chelsea-Derby period, especially given the probable time-lapse between designs being produced at Sèvres and their use as inspiration for pieces produced in England. A Chelsea-Derby piece with very similar decoration in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum is dated 1775-77.