Cups and Saucers, 1765-1775
Photo by Peter Harholdt, 2004
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Photo by Peter Harholdt, 2004

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Set of six cups and saucers of off-white glazed soft-paste porcelain with gilded decoration. The cup is tall, with cylindrical sides, rising from a rounded low footrim that is narrow in diameter. It has a C-shaped handle formed of twisted double stems, with a projecting thumbpiece, and terminating at each end with applied leaves. The body of the cup is painted with naturalistic gilded leaves and flower clusters. The cup's lip is ringed with a slender gold band that is plain on the exterior and scalloped or dentilled on the interior. One flower decorates the cup interior at the center bottom. A second gold band rings the footrim.

The saucer is a continuous coupe, with no break in the curve, no flat central disc to seat the cup. The upper surface of the saucer is ornamented with similar large and small overglaze gilt flower and leaf clusters.

The style of gilded ornament has been attributed to the London workshop of James Giles, responsible for the decoration of glazed blanks for many ceramics factories, including Worcester.

The underside of each cup and saucer is marked with an underglaze blue pseudo-Meissen mark of crossed swords, with the number 9 and a dot between them. The mark was used by the Worcester factory between 1765 and 1775. Accompanying the cups and saucers is a lockable modern wooden box lined with purple velvet that has discolored to tan in certain places due to light exposure. A brass plate on the box states the service's (erroneous) history: "China Presented to Benjamin Franklin by Madame Helvetius." Terms of Use Credits