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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.

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