Mad Hatters Tea Party
April 17, 2009 5:14 PM   Subscribe

Fine China Filter: I'm trying to find tea-cups with a very specific shape. It's a very old-fashioned type and while I can find individual examples, I can't find a set. Are there any experts in the house that can give me pointers?

The shape is called a pedestal (or, possibly) footed tea cup. Example here. But instead of the floral and gilt extravaganza pictured, I want it in plain white. Or possibly white with a silver trim.

Extra Points: must be available in Australia or via an online shop that will ship to Australia.
posted by ninazer0 to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
Scroll down to the pedestal teacup and saucer. It's embossed, though, and it costs $17 USD per cup and saucer. They ship to Australia but it's pretty expensive.

Here is a somewhat plainer, dodecadonal version that looks like this. Scroll down to "cup and saucer set footed"; they have many of them available at $25 USD per set. They ship internationally but I hope money is no object to you, because their rates are ridiculous.

Is this look something you like? It's the Lenox Tuxedo collection and maybe you can find a supplier in Australia since it appears to be pretty popular.
posted by halogen at 5:33 PM on April 17, 2009

I was hoping to find one with the wide semi-circular profile like my example, although yours is pretty close, halogen! There's just something about that wide bowl shape that I find irresistible.
posted by ninazer0 at 5:50 PM on April 17, 2009

The second link also offers a pedestal demitasse set that looks like this. Searching for "footed demitasse" seems to return some results closer to what you are seeking, but nothing that appears to be a good match.
posted by halogen at 6:01 PM on April 17, 2009

It's a very old-fashioned type and while I can find individual examples, I can't find a set.

This style of teacup generally wasn't sold in sets. It was popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and the convention was for young ladies to give each other special teacups of this sort as gifts. They'd be used for tea parties and weren't expected to match; the idea was that everyone's teacup would be different and memorable so that, as you flitted elegantly around the teaparty greeting your other lady friends, you'd remember which cup was yours.

I've never seen a really pronounced "birdbath" teacup that was manufactured in a regular table-china pattern--that design was generally used for the highly decorated gift and souvenir teacups of the sort I'm talking about.

If I were looking for teacups like this, I'd try antique stores and eBay and just keep collecting them until I had a number that weren't too loud.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:01 PM on April 17, 2009

How about this one? They have 6 sets available at $12 USD a piece. It's the Seyei 2398 cup if you want to look for it in Australia.
posted by halogen at 6:11 PM on April 17, 2009

My grandmother (born in 1891) collected that style of teacup. And sidhedevil is right, afaik -- those are tea party tea cups, and a good hostess would have 10-20 different ones, depending upon the size of teaparty that she usually hosted. (These were in addition to the cups in the china place settings, and (according to my mother) were only used when the ladies came over for tea or after holiday dinners when the china cups were being washed or dried, or if there weren't enough cups.)

heh. I went looking in current (more or less) china, rather than replacements. Wedgwood has a plain white bone china line called ethereal that seems close. (In addition, Wedgwood has a cup style called peony that's very close. I have no idea which patterns are available in that style in Australia, as that's the GB site.) Villeroy & Boch (AU site) has one, two that might work.
posted by jlkr at 7:16 PM on April 17, 2009

I believe that the gift-given tea cups where also often hand-painted by the lady giver. Painting china was a decorative art of the middle and upper classes.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:44 PM on April 17, 2009

The origin of footed teacups actually has to deal with the development and taste of society. The first porcelain teacups (Chinese Porcelain) lacked handles and had a small foot (no pedestal as we see on some fine cups today). When the English began producing cups they followed the Chinese Porcelain prototypes and creating cups (later with handles) with the same style foot as the Chinese wares).
In the late 18th century the early Staffordshire porcelain potters began creating cups in what is now termed, the "Bute shape" (the cups looked more like the early footless teabowls).
It wasn't until the Neo-Classical revival (Adams style) that the English began to create cups that were different from the Chinese pieces with a shaped foot or molded "pedestal". In around 1840 it was remarked that every fashionable cup "had a high foot", as it was considered the height of fashion. Although the "small foot" and the "new adapted bute shape" remained in production by the factories, it was not as popular among the upper classes as the pedestal was considered "en Vogue".
During the Victorian period manufacturers used a full variety of cup bases, as the major emphasis at the time among the wealthy was not the shape but the artistry and "attractivity" of the pattern.

A plain teacup with a shorter foot, with a similarish wide bowl is available for bulk order for overseas shipping from the Royal Stafford, the classic
century teacup.
posted by ArkhanJG at 2:54 AM on April 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Thank you, guys! Ask.Me is once again a delight and an education. And now, the hunt is afoot!! (badump*tish*)
posted by ninazer0 at 4:44 AM on April 18, 2009

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