Friday, January 24, 2014


Joseph Stubbs Shell pattern 4 inch cup plate/Stubbs made a large dinner service with a different shell on each size and shape
It is sometimes difficult to tell if a small plate is a child's toy plate or a cup plate.  I read that a cup plate should be between 3 inches and 4.75 inches because it has to accommodate a cup.  A toy plate can be much smaller, but is often as big as a cup plate.  If a pattern matches an adult dinner or tea service, it is probably a cup plate.  If it matches a child's toy tea service or toy dinner service, it is a child's item.   Sometimes a small plate is a gift or souvenir for a child (not part of a service).  I wish it were always clear!

Davenport Fruit & Flowers 3.5 inch cup plate/Davenport made a large dinner service with different fruit in the center of each size and shape

George Phillips Park Scenery 3.75 inch cup plate/the pattern was used for both a dinner and a tea service/It is a multiple scene service

Job & John Jackson Clyde Scenery 3.88 inch cup plate, Mauldslie Castle, Lanarkshire/part of a multiple scene dinner service

Until the research of Martin Pulver was published in the China and Glass Quarterly in October/November 1997, it was debated whether there really was such a thing as a cup plate (the small plates existed, but their use and name were a source of discussion between English and American collectors).   However, Pulver shows a copy of an inventory list from an 1835 stock book that refers to Cup Plates!  As to how they were used,  that is still debated.  Richard H. and Virginia Wood in their book Historical China Cup Plates  (no date given) say:  "The little plates were a development of the early 19th century, when certain folk were accustomed to decant their tea into deep saucers of the day.  Then, to avoid soiling the linen or marring the table, the empty cups were placed on cup plates."  Dave and Linda Arman in Anglo -  American Cup Plates - Parts I and II quote from the article by Martin Pulver (see the link above):  "After much discussion,  I feel that these plates may have originated in the early American method of taking tea, which followed closely the contemporary Continental European (not the British) of using the saucer to cover the cup while allowing the tea to steep.  The wet saucer would then not be usable in polite society as a receptacle on which to put down the cup and so a small plate would have been necessary to take on that duty."

William Hackwood  Indian Scenery 4.12 inch cup plate/part of a multiple scene dinner service

 Ralph Hall & Co. Carolina 4 inch cup plate/part of a multiple scene dinner service
Enoch Wood & Sons Hyena 4 inch cup plate from the Quadrupeds series, which features a different animal or nearly each size and shape

Enoch Wood & Sons The Point 3.62 inch Cup Plate from the Sporting Series, which features a different animal on nearly each size and shape
Below are a few plates that are part of a child's tea or dinner service and some that are stand-alone gifts.
 Kite Flyer toy 3.25 inch dinner plate from a child's toy dinner service/Kite Flyer is a given name and the maker is unknown/The source print is from Thomas Bewick's The General History of Quadrupeds, 1790

Enoch Wood & Sons 3.5 inch child's toy plate/not part of a service

Enoch Wood & Sons 3.5 inch child's toy plate/not part of a service

Minton Queen Of Sheba 3.25 inch child's toy dinner plate (it is part of a toy dinner service)/The pattern was also used on an adult size dinner service

Cup Plates? Toy Plates?  I'd love some feedback.

No comments:

Post a Comment