Things I Love, Volume 1: Antique Transferware Cups & Saucers

I love browsing through antique shops. I get it from my mother. We’ve been known to spend hours or even days poking through antique shops when she comes to visit. One of the things I’m most drawn to in any antique shop is transferware dishes. I specifically love cups and saucers.

I Have a Thing for Transferware Cups & Saucers

This serving table in my formal dining room is perfect for them. One – we never use the formal dining room, so there’s little chance of breaking them. Two – it’s where Granny Lonon’s old silver coffee service sits. Granny Lonon was The Complete Package’s maternal grandmother, and a fabulously feisty woman. She is greatly missed. Her coffee set probably had something to do with my cup & saucer obsession. They go together so well. My original goal was to collect one excellent specimen from each color range. Sometimes, however, I found one in a color I already had and I would fall in love and bring it home anyway. Like the blue ones:

Countryside by Enoch Wedgewood (Tunstall) Ltd., England

This was one of my first. I love the simple landscape and the deep blue hue.

Light Blue Willow Demitasse Set

And this little demitasse cup and saucer stole my heart. It looks really, really old. There’s no maker’s mark on it anywhere, but there are tiny bubbles and cracks in the glaze that make it look old and fragile. I love the detail of the handle, too. It’s very thin and very dainty. I wish I knew more about it. When was it made and by whom? If you’re a transferware expert, contact me!

Black Royal Mail Fine Staffordshire Ironstone, England

I knew this little black number was coming home with me as soon as I spotted her. It’s another English landscape, but I love the carriage pattern. The horseman is blowing a horn like he’s announcing that company has arrived. Time to break out the transferware!

Brown Peacock Pattern - Also English?

This brown peacock set is lovely. The detail around the edge of the saucer, rim of the cup and on the handle takes my breath away. I’m in love with the tiny flower inside each scallop. The saucer is every bit as lovely as the cup. I used this set in my post about Mom’s coffee shortbread cookies. Nothing but the best for one of mom’s recipes. I have no idea who the maker might be. There’s no name on it, but there is a cool maker’s mark that has a shield topped with a crown guarded by a lion carrying a flag on each side. I’m assuming it is also English. Most of my sets are. Is transferware primarily an English art?

Tonquin by Myott, Staffordshire, England

This little red siren called my name from across the room. I love the deep ruby red color of the glaze and the cabbage rose pattern along the edge of the saucer. It’s so very girly. Even the cup handle is delicate and pretty. She’s a real beauty. But unless my vision is off, she’s not old at all. The print on the back of the saucer is faded, but I’m pretty sure it says “Made in 1982”. So what if she’s a youngster. I love her anyway. But I saved my favorites for last. This was my first transferware purchase. My baby. Oh, how I love these little quails!

Furnivals Quail - Made in England 1913

They’re inside the lip of the cup, they’re on the outside of the cup, and they’re on the saucer, as well. Seven quails in all. Seven is my lucky number. This is the cup and saucer that started it all… the birth of an obsession. I love the brown that’s almost orange hue. Imagine how excited I must have been when I found this:

Furnivals Quail Blue Demitasse Set, 1913

It’s a blue demitasse quail set – a perfect “mini-me” version of its larger, browner cousin. This little beauty takes the cake. It’s tiny and exquisitely detailed and perfect in every way. I just love it to pieces. Oh…that’s probably bad luck. I mean it’s very special to me. Both of my quail cups are. What is it about transferware that fascinates me so? I can’t really pinpoint it. I love the simplicity of one single color painstakingly transferred by hand onto a white cup. I love the attention to detail. I love the idea that these were all lovingly made by hand by artisans back to the 1800’s. They’re fragile. They’re beautiful. They brought friends and family together. They’re from a dying art form in an industrial age. I think it’s all of that. Whatever it is, I’m hooked.



Filed under Things I Love

11 responses to “Things I Love, Volume 1: Antique Transferware Cups & Saucers

  1. How much are the cup worth Enoch wedgwood Country side cup Founded in 1835 are they antique?

    • Yes, they are considered antiques. I’m sorry, however, that I can’t tell you the value. I paid around $18 US for the cup and saucer set. I have no idea what the actual value is. If there are any experts out there willing to weigh in, please comment and give us your thoughts. Thanks!

  2. Pretty cups and saucers. fyi, the peacock one is new and probably made in China. Still pretty!
    That blue demitasse set is my favorite. It doesn’t look like Blue Willow (meaning the pattern…see my post here:
    It is your oldest piece and probably dates to the mid 1800’s.
    To your other reader, the Wedgwood Country Side are usually quite easy to find, in antique shops, flea markets and online. They usually go for no more than $10 online and usually much less if several sets are purchased in a lot.
    Transferware is an English invention and the majority of all transferware was made in the Staffordshire region, known as the Potteries. You can read about the invention of transferware at this post of mine:
    I LOVE transferware!

    Enjoyed your post,


  3. Kevin

    Hey Nancy! I’m a student doing digital art in Melbourne, Australia, and I was wondering if I could use one of your cups for one of my assignments (as a background prop for a shot inside an antique store)? The work is wholly for educational purposes only, and I’ll be sure to reference this site in my bibliography. Cheers!

    • Hi, Kevin. I must admit, I’m a little confused by your message. I’m not sure how you could use one of my cups when I’m in Texas and you’re in Australia. And my name is Jeanne, not Nancy. If you are trying to contact Nancy, who commented on this post and has a transferware website, her website link is in the comment section of this post. I’m sure if you follow the link to her site, you can find contact information for her there. Good luck with your assignment! -j

      • Kevin

        Aaah, my bad (that’s what happens when you try to finish assignments a few days before they’re due!)
        What I meant is the image of the cup, I don’t need to borrow the cup itself! I’m a graphics designer, so I just want to use the image in a composition study :)

      • In that case, petmission granted, as long as you provide proper credit in your project. Thank you for clarifying and asking permission. You’d be surprised how many people don’t. -j

      • Kevin

        Much obliged! (No problem, I know how annoying it can be to have your work stolen or used without credit)

  4. MauraChelini

    Love the Furnivals Blue quails.Starting to collect from small bowl I’ve had for years.

    • The Furnival quails are my favorite, too. My sister & I just saw some brown transferware pieces with swallows on them yesterday and swooned. So gorgeous, but also very expensive. The next thing I’m dying to find is a purple transferware cup & saucer set. I’ve been looking for years, and they’re apparently rare. Happy collecting, Maura! -jeanne

  5. Pingback: English “Transferware” Cups (and more) | Market Tales Vintage Shop

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