I've wanted a vintage tea set for ages. I don't know why. I do actually have one tea set, which my mum collected piece-by-piece when I went to university, using tokens from the local supermarket. That's 1990s - 1992, to be precise - so I suppose as far as some sellers would go it would qualify as vintage, though I haven't noticed a growing market for 1990s homewares in the same way as I have for 1990s clothing. (Tip: basically, you can't go wrong with pine furniture and slapping sun, moon and stars designs on everything.) Anyway, I've been kicking myself for the past few years for not snapping up a gorgeous Shelley set when I saw it for sale in Rolfey's in Bath.
I usually trawl round my local chazzas after my weekly trip to the butcher. What I needed was a little jug for work. When I moved from Simply Knitting to N-Photo, my lovely knitty workmates gave me a teapot, because I'd been going on about finally having room for one on my desk. Best. Leaving. Gift. Ever. The problem is milk: I make my pot of tea, and take it back to my desk, but have to make do with putting a pot's worth of milk in a little plastic cup, which seems a waste of plastic cups and doesn't look nice. And my luck was in yesterday; I found a gorgeous little Sylvac jug (meant for mint sauce, given its green colour and leafy design, but I don't care) in a hospice shop. Like a numpty I forgot to photograph it, so you'll have to keep an eye on my Instagram (mim_crinolinerobot) if you want to see it.
There wasn't much in any of the other shops - a couple are usually pretty rubbish anyway, but even Age UK, usually my Happy Hunting Ground, has been poor of late. I swear you couldn't move for pleated tartan wool skirts a year ago, but all the blighters have vanished now I want more! I decided to drop in to the house clearance place too - it's not priced much differently to the charity shops and tends to have larger items. And there it was, a beautiful deco set. Now, it's only got two cups, which I suspect accounts for the low price (£35). However, cups can be easier to come by than other elements, and the set had its sandwich plate, sugar bowl and milk jug. The shop had a couple of more complete, but later sets, which struck me as 1950s, and an amazing 60s/70s Denby dinner service - I didn't look closely, but I think it was the 'Arabesque' pattern.
There's no maker's name on the set, which I assume means it was fairly cheap in its day, though someone has loved it and cared for it as there's not a single chip, and the gilding is mostly intact. The design is transfer-printed, with the darker green, yellow and orange and the gilt edging handpainted on. All there is on the back is this stamp:
If you know the mark, I'd love to know the maker, just because I'm nerdy enough to want an accurate date for the set, and a name would help me track down a few more cups. I have six saucers and seven tea plates, so if I add a few cups I'll be able to invite my friends for tea...