A Spider-Web Tea Set

If you love tea then I’m willing to bet that you’ll also love the beautiful, delicate or quirky tea cups and accessories that go with it. I know I certainly do! Let me loose in T2 or a home wares store and I’ll be quite happy for the next hour. So for my first post about an object, I thought that this lovely tea set would be a great way to start.

This is a 21 piece collection including cups, saucers, sandwich plates, a milk jug, a sugar bowl, and a cake plate. On the base of each piece is a monogram reading “Tuscan Fine English Bone China” over the image of a winged crown. Clearly, the tea set was made in England, but at the time I’d never heard of Tuscan China.

So I did some digging. Tuscan China was owned by the brothers R.H. and S.L. Plant, a family business that began business in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire in the early 20th century. This particular monogram is one of several for the company; only used between 1947 – 1966.  Knowing that this set was bought as a wedding gift for one of my Australian family members in 1957 also meant that I could narrow down its production date even further. To allow time for its exportation, my guess is that it was produced in the the mid 50’s.

While this set was created in England, it somehow found its way across oceans to Sydney, Australia. An advertisement in the Pottery Gazette (England) from 1948 informed me that Tuscan China had an office in Clarence Street, Sydney (the building it was in is now heritage listed), but they also had offices in New Zealand, Canada, Brazil, Denmark and South Africa! For a ceramics company I’d never heard of before, this company had a fairly wide and international reach, of which this little tea set was just a tiny part.

It makes me wonder how many other Tuscan China Spider-Web tea sets are out there; displayed in china cabinets and sometimes brought out just in time for tea!

Do you have a piece of Tuscan China? Where has your piece ended up? Please comment below!


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