Royal Worcester, English, Tea Service, ca. 1770, Soft-paste porcelain, underglaze blue and overglaze enamel decoration; 15.9 cm (6 5/16 inches) (height) height of teapot, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Sigmund J. Katz 57.198
By displaying and properly using a sumptuous tea service—-this one includes a coffeepot, teapot, creamer, sugar bowl, tea caddy, vase, six coffee cups, six teacups, twelve saucers, and a spoon rest—-eighteenth-century Europeans communicated their cultural refinement and familiarity with Eastern luxuries. Worcester Factory’s thin porcelain is a close imitation of fine Chinese export porcelain, and the service shows additional Oriental influence in its ornamentation. The blue underglaze color used in combination with iron red and gold enamel is called the Imari palette after ceramics made and shipped from that Japanese port city to European markets. Worcester’s cast flower finials and colorful decoration feature the chrysanthemum, emblem of the Japanese imperial throne.