Milk jug, porcelain, Chelsea Porcelain factory, London, 1759-1769
Height: 7.62 cm, Width: 6.66 cm
British Galleries, room 52b
From tea set - museum nos. 517 to 523-1902
TEA SERVICE, from a tea and coffee service
This English porcelain tea service is typical of those used in wealthier households during the 18th century. It consists of a teapot and stand, cups and saucers, a milk jug, a bowl for sugar and a dish for the tea dregs called a slop basin. [27/03/2003]
The jug is from a tea and coffee service for six people. Black teas were more popular in Britain than green teas by the date that this service was made. Like coffee, these fermented black teas were usually drunk with milk or cream and often sweetened with sugar. When a similar Chelsea service was sold in 1770, the jug was described as a 'cream ewer.'
Design & Designing
The service is similar to one offered at auction in London in 1770. This was described as 'a very curious and matchless tea and coffee equipage, crimson and gold, most inimitably enamell'd in figures, from the designs of Watteau'. Although the figure subjects here are not directly copied from the work of the French Rococo painter Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721), they are certainly inspired by his work.
Materials & Making
The Chelsea porcelain factory introduced the crimson ground around 1760, when a London auction of Chelsea porcelain included 'a few pieces of some new Colours which have been found this year by Mr [Nicholas] Sprimont, the Proprietor, at a very large Expence, incredible Labour, and close Application'.