Often the cups that are decorated on the inside have little or no pattern on the outside which is a pity, but it has given me the excuse to collect more recent examples that are covered in flowers of every shape and size. Of course the saucers have to be pretty too!
It's easy to date more recent cups from the stamps underneath but dating older ones can be more difficult as they often have no marks at all.
A few years ago I discovered this wonderful book by Michael Berthoud who is an expert on British porcelain. Just look at his massive collection of cups. Wouldn't I love to own that!
Published in 1990 the book catalogues many examples dating from 1750 - 1940.
The cups below are four from my small collection and date from 1780 to 1930. The bowls and handles each have a distinctive shape. As each shape was fashionable for just a short period of time it makes them easy to date.
Top left - Typical early tea bowl. These had no handle (1780s)
Top right - London shape (1820s)
Bottom left - Blenheim shape with ring handle (1830s)
Bottom right - Deco shape with angular handle (1930s)
Belinda Jane has been creating a new home for everyone in the old play house. Since the children grew up and no longer played with toys the little house has been standing empty in one corner of the playroom. But things are about to change as Belinda Jane has spent the last few days happily making a cosy home for the dolls.
After a busy morning she stood back to admire the clean china on the dresser shelves.
Then, just before lunch, the postman delivered a mysterious box.
The box had come all the way from the USA where many of Merrily Ann's cousins live.
Belinda Jane couldn't wait to look inside. She removed lots of paper and bubbly plastic whilst Merrily Ann looked on with the kind of smile that said she just might know what the box contained.
The cup had a pretty daisy and busy bee painted on it.
On the plate was a happy looking hedgehog and Belinda Jane was glad to see that he'd brought his scarf and umbrella with him as English winters could be very cold and wet.
Right at the bottom of the box there was a pretty 'Thank You' card from Julie in America who had made the cup and plate specially for the dolls.
Belinda Jane was delighted and decided it was the very best kind of housewarming gift and immediately displayed the new cup and plate on the dresser.
The younger dolls of course weren't much interested in the new cup and plate. They quickly decided that the best part of the gift was the box and wasted no time in climbing inside.
Belinda Jane quickly pushed the box of rascals away from the dresser before any accident should happen. A box of bouncing dollies and shelves full of fragile china just don't mix!
* * * * * * * * * *The gorgeous little cup and plate were made specially for the dolls by the very talented Julie Whitmore whose blog Julie Whitmore Pottery you will find in my sidebar. When I discovered Julie's work I knew that I wanted some. Many of the items she makes are commission pieces but she also finds time to put a few items into her Etsy shop so do pop over and take a look.