Friday, May 6, 2011

Saucer of the Week: English Coalport with Strawberry Leaves

Or is it Worcester?  I am not absolutely sure.  To be honest, I really couldn't tell you what the difference is between Coalport and Worcester china, except that both were made in England during the nineteenth century in towns of the same names.  Coalport went out of business in the 1920s and Worcester (more recently known as Royal Worcester) ceased operations in 2009, a victim of mismanagement, too much debt, and an inability to adequately respond to shifting consumer tastes.  Oh well.

This week's featured saucer is decorated with an orange background and gilt banding, and sports a string of pretty gilt-painted strawberry leaves, a classic English decoration.  I believe it was made in the first quarter of the nineteenth century.  It measures 5 5/8 in diameter and is unmarked.  I'm not absolutely positive, but I think we bought it at the tiny, treasure-filled shop of Bardith Ltd., the legendary purveyor of antique ceramics, on Madison Avenue half a dozen years or so ago.  It was not inexpensive.

An early botanical print of wild strawberries
showing leaves similar to the ones on
our saucer

So why do I like this little saucer?  As some of my readers may know, I am drawn to almost anything that has orange in it, which this does, and I find the vigor of the decoration (and what is portrayed) to be quite pleasing.  The decoration is not dissimilar to a Coalport footed boat-shaped grape bowl we own of a similar vintage that Boy bought for a song years ago at Tepper Galleries in New York.

We have placed this saucer on one of the bedside tables in our bedroom at Darlington House, where it serves as a handy base for one's morning cup of coffee and also for one's evening cocktail when dressing for dinner.

Photograph by Boy Fenwick

Illustration of botanical print of strawberry plant courtesy of BrigidsFancy at


  1. Hello Reggie:
    Coalport or Worcester, never mind since your saucer is beautifully decorative and, we are sure, makes a handsome [and practical] addition to the bedside table.

    How very reassuring to read that, in this all too casual age, there are others who also dress for dinner. Ah, cocktails, so very New World - we continue to lag behind the times with a straight G and T.

  2. If you're so drawn to orange, I have about 15 Princeton reunion outfits you might be interested in purchasing.....

  3. Dear Mr. Darling,

    This saucer is my absolute favorite to date that you've featured in your series. It is the perfect rusty orange color which I too am partial to, to say nothing of the gilt ring. I adore the color so much, I've painted my front entry hall this very color. Looks wonderful with gilt, and especially wonderful when the candles are lit during the evening hours.

    I too never seem to distinguish between the unmarked wares produced in the factories of Worcester, Derby, Liverpool and the like. I'm drawn to late 18th and early 19th century shapes so as long as it is pleasing to my eye, I'm not that fussed where it came from.

    Looking forward to seeing the next installment of this great series.

  4. Ah Reggie! I am lusting after your orange saucer! Beautiful it is.

  5. I love this plate Reggie.
    I is such a cheery orange shade...and what a lovely pattern.

    Are your cupboards full to overflowing with treasures?

  6. Love orange! What a clever idea - saucer as cocktail coaster.

  7. Hello Reggie!

    I came across your post just now, i work at The Worcester Porcelain Museum and have seen a plate of similar design and colour.

    Does your plate have a back stamp or factory mark? It would be interesting to see it.


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