Set of 5 Mason’s Ironstone cups, c.1835

In the world of collecting, nothing pleases me more than stumbling upon items with matching inventive repairs, and this set of footed breakfast cups and saucers deliver five times over. Made in England by Mason’s Ironstone from 1830 to 1840, these heavy porcelain cups, measuring nearly 3-1/4″  tall, have the transfer printed “Conversation” pattern in the rare yellow scale colorway. Each cup and saucer is marked in black transfer on the underside MASON’S PATENT IRONSTONE CHINA.

I purchased the set during my last trip to London from dealer Fergus Robert Downey who later told me that he has a sixth cup with an identical replaced handle, so I am hoping to one day have the complete sextet. I can’t imagine that all of the original handles snapped off the cups at the same time, unless a particular breakfast got a bit too rowdy. More likely, one or two handles might have broken off, so in order to keep the set looking uniform, the remaining intact handles were removed and all cups were fitted with the same metal replacement. The metalsmith did a fine job, as all of the handles are well matched and expertly riveted to the cups.

Now about that sixth cup, Fergus… IMG_8477                       IMG_8479                         IMG_8483                           IMG_8485                         IMG_8486                           IMG_8487                           IMG_8489





























































































This cup, in perfect condition, shows what the original handles on my cups would have looked like before they took a tumble.















Photo courtesy of Vanbrugh West Antiques

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8 Responses to “Set of 5 Mason’s Ironstone cups, c.1835”

  1. Lynne Rutter says:

    I am pea green with envy. Those are simply gorgeous.

  2. The sixth cup is sitting here for you Andrew.

  3. Gwen Melton says:

    I’m wondering if they never had handles at all, but were the Chinese style tea cup that has no handle. Handles were added to meet the Western expectation. Maybe you can see the “base” of an old handle that was sanded off to add the metal handle.

  4. Gene Shepherd says:

    I wondered the same as Gwen.

  5. Gwen, Gene and others: I updated the post to include an example showing the original handle, courtesy of Fergus…who still has the 6th cup and is holding it for me!

  6. Gene Shepherd says:

    Thanks for the “rest” of the story. This is a fabulous repair job. GRS

  7. Gwen Melton says:

    So they were traditional tea cups! Thanks.

  8. Larry Terricone says:

    Andrew, you have posted some wonderful and unique piece over the year, but this is truly the absolute best. I would spend big bucks for that set! Fergus, do you have any more?

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