Worcester “King of Prussia” mug, c.1757

I purchased this first period bell-shaped Worcester porcelain mug from a dealer in the UK who has been feeding my compulsive desire for antiques with inventive repairs for many years. It has a black transfer print of Frederick the Great, the King of Prussia, along with military trophies, an angel blowing a trumpet, and a putto with a wreath. It is dated 1757 under his left arm and marked RH (for Robert Hancock) Worester and an anchor mark for Richard Holdship (a rebus for his last name.) The decoration was taken from Richard Houston’s engraving after a painting by Antoine Pesne.

This is one of those items that if I saw one in a shop in “perfect” condition, I would secretly wish it had an early repair, as I am drawn to strong graphic images on ceramics. Luckily for me, this one has a metal replacement handle, attached by a metalsmith after the original loop handle broke off, as well as two metal staples to help stabilize a crack.













During my recent visit to the UK, I spotted the same transfer decoration on numerous pieces of ceramics included in many different museum collections. This jug can be found in the fabulous ceramics collection at the V&A.


This mug, with similar form, decoration, and its original handle intact, shows what the handle on my mug looked like before it snapped off.


Photo courtesy of Stockspring Antiques

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4 Responses to “Worcester “King of Prussia” mug, c.1757”

  1. Jim Horne says:

    A classic Andrew, good find !

  2. Richard R Bruce says:

    Once again thank you Andrew, a distinctive find ! I note the crack runs though the handle rivit hole. Could it be that the mug cracked while under repair requiring the artisan to clip the crack also. I would have wanted a new handle , but with a crack also … I doubt. The rivet is through the crack, not ideal for strength so perhaps this is not simply a cute repair, rather a demonstration of the repairers skill no matter what. Nice artwork could make it a good candidate for a comemerative replica.

  3. Louise Cort says:

    In this case the dark handle wonderfully complements the strong drawing.

  4. Jonathan Rickard says:

    A rare example of a porcelain mug appealing to this pottery collector.

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