Saturday, October 26, 2013

Tell Me How You Like Your Tea

"Ladies All I Pray Make Free.
And Tell Me How You Like Your Tea."

If my china cabinet wasn't full of quilts here's what I'd collect.

Women's Suffrage china.


Another version

Cup bottom

The Victoria and Albert Museum has a black saucer in this series, which they credit to Thomas Fell & Company in Newcastle, England, about 1850, lead-glazed earthenware, transfer-printed in underglaze.

Here's a later cream pitcher
John Carr , Low Lights Pottery, about 1870
North Shields, England

Angel of Freedom 
Designed by Sylvia Pankhurst
Bone China
H. W. Williamson, Longton, England

In the early 20th century the British Women's Social & Political Union commissioned china for Suffragette tea rooms. The WSPU Angel of Freedom was used at a tea room at a fundraising fair in 1909.

Angel of Freedom and Scottish Thistle
Commissioned from the Diamond China Company for 
a WSPU Exhibition held in Glasgow 1910

Read more about British china here:

And in this book preview

Votes for Women demitasse cups
Bavarian China commissioned by 
National American Woman Suffrage Association 

American suffrage organizations also commissioned china. Kenneth Florey characterizes this gold trimmed cup and saucer as the most widely distributed suffrage china. It says "Votes For Women" in the gold band.

Votes For Women

This original on this blue and white version is thought to have been commissioned by American Suffrage leader Alva Belmont in 1913 for a tea house at her Newport, Rhode Island, mansion. She had English pottery John Maddock and Sons do a rather extensive line of dinnerware.

Reproductions are available today.

Read about American and British china here:

Here are two sites that offer reproductions of the Belmont china:
1) Washington's Sewall Belmont House Museum


  1. I love the votes for women cup and saucer - so plan but so meaningful!!

  2. I bought a reproduction Belmont mug at Belcourt Castle in Newport, RI. Gee, that was 20 years ago -- it's nearly vintage itself!
    I am rereading back issues of Quilters Newsletter. The May, 1997, issue not only has your article about applique, it also has a suffrage-commemoration quilt: p. 58, "Leading the Way," by Kathleen Deneris of Midvale, Utah. [Forgive me if you included it in this blog. I couldn't scroll through all the blog posts to see if you did.]

  3. hi i bought a thomas fell cup and saucer the same as yours this morning but in colour ie lustre sunderland i think exactly the same as the one pictured on your page by thomas fell newcastle.has it got sufferagette connections.kind regards richie

  4. Hi there, I'm sorry but the tea party pattern has no known links with women's suffrage, the attribution on this page is in error (and the V&A doesn't claim it for theirs either) it's simply a pretty set for the tea parties that were popular in the C18th when the pattern first appeared. The rhyme is a jolly and good mannered way of telling guests not to be shy and to say how they take their tea - as opposed to politely drinking whatever was passed to them. It was used by many companies in many things for many decades, though usually somewhat related to afternoon tea.
    It's a pretty set but not suffrage-related (the suffragettes were simply one group of many fighting for women's suffrage)