Willow Pattern Tea Service

Astronomy

Accession Number: 2019.ast.217.1-88

Description:

This is a china tea service set with a blue and white ‘blue willow’ pattern, each item with a gold rim. It consists of 3 small round plates, 3 larger round plates, 4 smaller square plates, 4 small dishes (sugar bowls), 4 shallow dishes, 1 milk jug, one larger square plate, 23 teacups, and 45 saucers.

All items are by in the Blue Willow pattern by Royal Albert Crown China, in the Countess design. There is one item, a teacup, which is by Myott Son & Co., although also in a ‘willow’ pattern with a gold rim.

Primary Materials: China, Metal: Gold.

Markings:

Stamped on the rear of each item: “ROYAL ALBERT
CROWN CHINA
MADE IN
ENGLAND”

Dimensions (cm):

Teacup: Height = 6.8, Width = 8, Length = 10; Saucer: Diameter = 14.5, Height = 2.1; Sugar bowl: Diameter = 8, Height= 5.3; Larger round plate: Diameter = 20, Height = 2.1; Smaller square plate: Height = 1.3, Width = 19.5, Length = 19.5; Larger square plate: Height = 1.2, Width = 23.5, Length = 25; Shallow bowl: Diameter = 14.5, Height = 3.1; Milk jug: Height = 8.7, Width = 5, Length = 10.

Function:

This tea service was presumably used in the David Dunlap Observatory “Founder’s Room”, when Mrs. Donalda Dunlap or others were entertaining visitors, guests or scientists to the Observatory.

Condition:

Excellent: All surviving pieces are in excellent shape. On some pieces, particularly the plates, the gold rim is worn. Given the mismatch in numbers between saucers and cups, it is likely many of the original pieces were broken or are missing.

Manufacturer:

Royal Albert Crown China, England; Myott Son & Co, England

Date of Manufacture: c. 1920s-1930s

Provenance:

It was likely this service was purchased or donated specifically for the Observatory.

This tea service was presumably used in the David Dunlap Observatory “Founder’s Room”, when Mrs. Donalda Dunlap or others were entertaining visitors, guests or scientists to the Observatory. Until 2009, when the Observatory was sold, the tea service was kept at the Observatory. Then, it was moved to storage at the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of Toronto’s St George campus. In 2017, the service was moved to a new location in the McLennan Physics building.

Additional Information and References:

An array of Royal Albert Blue Willow designs are shown here, at www.royalalbertpatterns.com [09/07/19].