Lenox Rare Vintage Engagement Demitasse Cup & Saucer For SaleNew Page 1
Vintage Engagement Cup & Saucer
For your consideration, this set is known as an Engagement Cup & Saucer. Crafted from fine ivory Lenox china, the backstamp indicates production between 1930 and 1949, most likely toward the earlier years.
Delicate demitasse cup is 2" tall, 2-3/4" diameter at top of bowl (not including the ring handle). Bowl shaped saucer is 1" high, 4-1/8" wide at top.
Rarely available, and highly collectible, the pieces have a delicacy and translucency that is singularly unique to that early time period and has not been reproduced.
History of the Engagement Cup & Saucer
From the 1893 publication of the book "The Pottery and Porcelain of the United States: An Historical Review of American Ceramic Art from the Earliest Times to the Present Day" page 236 we find a picture of the Engagement Cup and Saucer. Note that this Lenox issue is the exact same as the earlier Ceramic Art Company version.
From an 1894 article in "The Jewelers' Circular" we find the following under the title "A Craze for Pottery": "The present pretty custom of giving to a young lady whose engagement has been announced a dainty cup and saucer may have started the craze, or it may be the result of it; but whatever its origin, the pottery fad has signaled its coming, and the real fin-de-siècle* woman will know not only the ear-marks of the various kinds of pottery, but something of their history and of their real value."
*Fin-de-siècle - characteristic of the close of the 19th century and especially its literary and artistic climate of sophistication, opulence or decadence
From "Imagining Consumers: Design and Innovation from Wedgwood to Corning": "During the decade, retailers encouraged manufacturers to reconceptualize standard lines as wedding-related gifts as a way of enlarging markets for household accessories. Porcelain factories pioneered this theme, and cut glass makers hurried to catch up. In 1891 Walter Scott Lenox, proprietor of Ceramic Art Company in Trenton, New Jersey, received a perplexing order for some porcelain "engagement cups." "But what is an engagement cup?" queried Lenox. "Oh, after-dinner, coffee, or anything of that kind," replied the scheming merchant, "as pretty and delicate as you can" make them. After receiving his porcelain delicacies, the dealer launched a ballyhoo promotion, telling fashionable shoppers that a betrothal warranted giving the bride an "engagement cup and saucer."
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