John Mcphee evaluates readers’ precious objects.
This tea set was inherited from my aunt. For as long as I could remember, the decorative metalwork on the pottery was almost black, but one day out of curiosity I gave it a rub with a silver cloth and it polished up beautifully. I have tried to find out more about its origins, with little success, so would appreciate anything you could tell me about it.
QMade at Lovett’s Langley Mill Pottery in Derbyshire in the late 19th or early 20th century, this tea set is a great example of Art Nouveau decoration on otherwise very conventional, and practical, shapes. It has been suggested that this kind of applique silver decoration was executed in the US, but I suspect that there were firms in England, especially around Sheffield and Birmingham, which specialised in this work. This set is in fine condition, although the sugar bowl probably once had a lid, and it is worth caring for and perhaps finding out a little more about it. The pottery closed in 1982 but there is a Langley Mill Pottery Collectors Society, 64 Hands Road, Heanor, England DE75 7HB, which may be able to give you more information.